My view of the world through words & photos
Well, we survived the first month. Those first few days I wasn’t sure how we were going to do that, but we did.
I admit that while I know I did a lot of things those first two weeks, I couldn’t tell you what exactly if I didn’t look back in my notebook to see what things I crossed off my To Do list and the notes I took while I was doing them.
These last few weeks have been much less productive, but healing in many ways.
I attended a wonderful grief/mourning seminar last week with a good friend who had recommended the speaker, Dr. Alan Wolfelt. I have just begun reading some of his books; I expect to find them as insightful as his seminar. I learned that it is perfectly normal to find that you are extremely tired all the time and that your memory doesn’t work as well as it did before. I also learned that it is important to “go backwards to move forward.” This means that we should remember and share our stories/memories about Bill in order to heal and find our new normal. He also told us that we will have what he calls “grief bursts” for the rest of our lives; these are those moments when something suddenly reminds you of your loved one and you have a strong reaction. Knowing that this will happen helps, for me anyway.
He also told us to accept any and all help that is offered. He said this type of offer and acceptance helps everyone involved mourn in a positive manner. It also gives us a chance to share stories – another positive. This isn’t easy for me. I’ve always prided myself on my independence. But I’ve learned how grateful I am for the many acts of kindness given to me, especially the dinners. I find myself losing track of time and suddenly it’s time for dinner and I don’t have anything ready. On those nights when friends bring something over for us, Beka and I are both very grateful!
On the morning of the one-month anniversary of Bill’s death, my sister-in-law and I took a lovely walk at a local lake. The sun was rising, the temperatures were just right, and many people were taking advantage of the nice weather before the predicted cold snap. Since this was the woman who was responsible for Bill and I meeting, we had lots of “Bill stories” to share. Since we are also family, we had memories of Bill’s illness and death to share, too. While many of the memories of that day are still painful, it actually felt good to share some of my deep feelings out loud. It also felt good to capture the beauty of that day with my camera. (The pictures on this post are from that morning.) The only thing that hurt about my picture taking was the fact that I couldn’t go home and show Bill what I had captured.
Next month, Beka and I will be going up to Chicago to visit Ben and to celebrate my 50th birthday. While I’m sure we will be sad that Bill isn’t with us, I know we’ll also share stories about previous trips.
At this point, the only advice I can offer for those who have lost and for those who are trying to help those who are left behind is this: share the positive stories and insights you have about the spouse, parent, child, relative or friend. Tell them how this person touched your life. Let them know that they are not alone in missing this person.
Because we have so many family and friends who knew and loved Bill, he will never be gone from us completely. That brings me some joy during this very difficult time.