Midwestern Mom's Musings

My view of the world through words & photos

As We Move Forward

The first few days are quite a blur.  I know I made a lot of phone calls, made dozens of decisions, coordinated travel arrangements, arrivals and departures, bought two cemetery plots, consoled others and received consolation.

Day by day people who had arrived from out of town returned home and to their lives.  Finally, it was just the two of us – my daughter and I.

So we are now slowly finding our new normal.  I’m not sure when that will really occur.  While I was very efficient those first two weeks, it seems to be harder now to get some things done.  I’m not sure if it’s shock or depression or what.  All I know is that it takes a lot of energy to get a project started and even more to get it completed.

I’ve tried for the last several days to go to the Social Security office.  It’s not because I dread dealing with the people there.  I had to go there to straighten out two different matters several months ago and everyone was very nice and resolved the matters relatively quickly.  I was able to easily gather all the documents together according to a list I was given shortly after Bill’s death, so that isn’t the problem.  I just feel like telling this organization that Bill has died and completing whatever paperwork is required makes this all so final.  [You’d think the funeral and the graveside ceremony would have made Bill’s death final, but apparently not for me at least.]

I spent two days this week going through Bill’s clothing.  Pulling them out and determining what I will be donating, keeping and what needed to be disposed of was not as hard as I had thought.  It was actually nice to find some shirts and jackets that I associate with special events – celebrations, trips, our date nights.  These memories brought smiles to my face several times throughout those two days.  Now all the clothes are sorted and waiting to be packed and picked up by a local charity.  And they’ve been sitting there for two days.  And I haven’t packed them up…and I haven’t called for them to be picked up.

My wonderful friends and family helped clean and do some laundry in that week after Bill’s death.  Good thing, since I haven’t been able to face doing laundry since then – thankfully there are enough clean clothes for Beka and I to wear for another few days.

Our book club selection for this month is “I Married You For Happiness” by Lily Tuck.  Some of the women in the group asked if I wanted to postpone reading this book and substitute another selection.  When I went back to the synopsis of the book and remembered it was about a woman who finds her husband dead from an unexpected heart attack (my husband died in a similar manner) and then reflects on their life together as she waits through the night until she calls officials to notify them of his death.  I told them all that we should read it as planned – that I appreciated their concern but I had to face these things at some point and it might as well be now.  I’m more than half way through the book and nothing has caused me to cry.  In fact, her reflections have helped me recall several wonderful memories from my life with Bill.  On the other hand, lines from TV shows and e-mails about unrelated issues have set me into gut-retching sobs.

From what I remember about things I’ve read about grief, there is no right or wrong way to grieve.  I seem to recall there are several stages that one normally goes through as you face a terrible situation like death or a terminal diagnosis.  I did have one person tell me that they are giving me two months before I really break down since I’m handling things so well right now.  I’m not sure why this person felt a timeline had to be given.  Is this a bet that needs to be won?

I know I haven’t reacted in the same way that many others have.  I have not shed a lot of tears in public –no one but God knows how many I’ve shed in private.  I have tried to bring strength to my kids who are facing a nightmare no child should ever face.  I’ve tried to be supportive of my mother-in-law who faced the unthinkable reality of burying her child (and you are always your parents’ child no matter if you are three or 63).  I have found myself staring out into space with no real understanding of how much time has passed until I look at a clock and realize it’s 10, 15, 30 minutes later.

Bill had gotten so sick over the last couple years.  He tried so hard to get healthy again, but his heart was so weak.  It gives me great solace to know that he is not longer in pain, he no longer struggles to catch his breath doing everyday activities, and that he doesn’t have to live a very restrictive life anymore.  Be assured – I’d much rather have him physically with us here.  It makes me less sad to know that he is experiencing a joy now that we can only imagine.

And the faith that taught me about that joy, and our family and friends who love us so, are the reasons we are able to move forward – step by step, with a strength that wanes and grows with each challenge, always supported by our God, and those who love us.

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6 comments on “As We Move Forward

  1. Deb Sistrunk Nelson
    October 12, 2012

    Beautifully written. I wish you peace of mind and comfort as you continue on your journey.

  2. rosechimera
    October 13, 2012

    I well remember the flurry of activity after my husband died. Funeral arrangements, planning the actual funeral “program”, putting music and a photo slide together, getting food arranged for the wake on and on it seemed I had a million things to do.

    All in all a blessing to keep busy the first few days. It was after everyone had left and the days and weeks later that I finally crawled into my closet and cried. I didn’t want my daughter to see or hear me. Irrational as it was. After all she was crying too.

    I didn’t leave my house for 4 months. But for one remaining friend (everyone scattered to the winds as if death is contagious) making sure I had food or probably more importantly making sure I was still alive, I don’t know where I’d be today.

    Grief is a personal experience. There is no right nor wrong way to do it. Neither is there a timeframe in which to do it in.

    You had someone give you two months to break down. But if it were me I’d take that as a challenge and wait 2 months and a day to do it just to prove them wrong. Stubbornness isn’t always bad! 🙂 i had a woman call me one week after the funeral and asked me, “are you better?” I hung up on her and never spoke to her again.

    People can say such stupid things sometimes.

    My wish for you and your children is that you do find something to smile about every day, that the memories of your husband come softly and gently to you and when they do you can embrace them. I write this only because, for me, I was afraid of remembering anything good for the longest time because then the pain would be too overwhelming. That does pass with time however.

  3. Bless Yous and Smarshmallows
    October 15, 2012

    Everyone’s grief is different and many times the same. As I read your post I was reminded of my father’s death. Some days you will feel as if you have accomplished things and other days your accomplishment will be getting out of bed. It has been 10 years and I find I have days that are the hardest I have had to face, but I do smile more. Quite the double edged sword. You will find your path and your children will find theirs. Many time people want to help and the only way they know how is to share their experiences. Or “pep talks” that don’t do much “pepping”. Much love you you and your family and everyone is surrounding you with love and support.

  4. Diane
    October 15, 2012

    Kathy, don’t let anyone (whether they’ve been through this experience or not) tell you how to grieve. It is an intensely personal experience. Be kind to yourself. There will be “okay” days and really awful days for awhile — there is no pattern to this. People are well meaning but I remember wanting to scream if one more person said, “He’s in a better place” or “He’s better off now.” Of course he was! But I wasn’t. Grieving is about those of us left behind. You continue to be in my thoughts and prayers.

  5. Jean LaFollette
    October 16, 2012

    You put into words things that I felt after my mother and brother-in-law’s death. It is a very difficult journey. It is hard to be strong for your children when you are in such pain, but it is o.k. to share that pain with them. I am praying for you, Becca, and Ben.

  6. Joyce Laws
    October 16, 2012

    Kathy, I feel your pain so clearly. I have a book someone gave me that I would like to pass on to you. God is good, all the time, and he will get us through it. Love you and Beka.

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This entry was posted on October 12, 2012 by in Family, Reflections, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , .
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