Archive for the ‘grief’ Tag

IT’S SAD, REALLY   Leave a comment

One thing that has been made plain to me is that people generally don’t like someone to be grieving or mourning more than, say, a few months. Six, at the most.

People want you to be over it.  Like you could possibly be over losing part of your very heart.  As if it was a football game where your team lost, or the cancelling of a TV show you really like.

I have had two people in the past two weeks ask me how I was.  I hate being asked that when I’m grieving.  I almost always say “Fine”, or “Okay” even when I’m not.  It is what they want to hear and anything else makes them uncomfortable.  I’ve learned this through painful experience.

With both people, who I thought I knew well enough to share with, I said something other than “Fine”.  And both of them suggested counseling.  One person mailed me a list of therapists and grief groups in my area, the other (who is a Counselor in her day job) suggested I talk to someone, or join a grief group.

What they said was not wrong, and I know it was meant well.  But – why suggest counseling?  Just because I am still grieving and in mourning 10 months after my dear husband passed away, they are thinking I should be over it?  Or I need help getting over it?  Why is that the first thing they want me to do?

Do you know what I would have much preferred they say?  I would have much preferred if they would have said, “Why don’t we make a date to go walking on the beach this weekend?”  Or, “There is a new Chinese place I’d like to try.  Would you like to go to dinner next week?”  Or, “Why don’t you come over for dinner tomorrow?” Or even, “Why don’t we go to lunch after church?”

That is what would help.  That is, actually, what I need.  That is what would make a difference to me, in my life.  It is sad, really.  Grief makes so many people so uncomfortable.  They don’t know how to deal with it.  They don’t want you to start to cry when you talk about the person who is gone.  They squirm and change the subject or make excuses to get away.  If I do that when talking to you – you don’t have to do anything.  You don’t have to say anything.  Just listen.

It is sad, really.  I wish people in my life could understand grief and mourning.

Posted February 15, 2017 by Maureen in Married Musings

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RENEWAL & HEALING   Leave a comment

It has been nine months since my dear wonderful husband Randy passed away.  Just before New Years I felt a healing by God over my grief.  I still miss my Randy just as much as I ever did.  I still think about him and even talk to him.  But the daily crying jags and the horrible pain of my loss has lessened quite a bit.

I had the last two weeks of December off, and spent it at home.  I did some things outside my apartment of course but I didn’t make any trips or go out of town.  One of the new things I tried this year (or, retried would be a better way of describing it) was to try paint-by-numbers kits again.

When I was around 10 – 13 years old I did a lot of paint-by-numbers.  You used to be able to buy these kits for very little money in the Five and Dime stores.  Those were the equivalent of Dollar Stores today, for those of you not old enough to get the reference.  I did a lot of them.  Mostly they were horses, since I was horse mad and I enjoyed the pictures.  I don’t know for sure if it started then, but I have always had a love of painting.  Using watercolors and acrylics.  I truly do love to paint, and I am truly bad at it.  I am not being modest – I really am.  I have tried and tried over the years to get some idea, some vision, some memory down on paper or canvas in watercolor or acrylic.  And I have always failed miserably.  It has been pretty frustrating to me, but my love of painting has spurred me on to keep trying.

So when I stumbled across paint-by-number kits on a web site I thought, “Hmmmm….. I wonder if I will like doing this as much as I did when I was younger?”  Turns out, the answer was YES.  As you might guess, they have made a lot of improvements in the paint-by-number kit market in the 40 odd years since I last tried one.  I bought one that was not on the cheapest end, but not in the middle price range either.  And started working on it.

While I can’t paint, I can follow instructions to paint a specific color of paint in a specific area of a canvas.  And when I was all done?  It looked like something!  It looked like what it should look like!  You can actually, you know, recognize what it is!  And the thing is, I found that I enter into a kind of zen state when I paint.  In fact, I found that there were times I sat for four hours at a stretch, painting.  So I have had to set the alarm, and purposefully get up more often.  Painting does something to my crafty, artistic soul.  And I believe it was God-led.  I do believe God pointed me in that direction because He knew I needed it.  He knew what good it would do me.

One of the things I did on my vacation was to go to the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.  It was something I had wanted to do for a long time, but Randy wouldn’t have been able to do all the walking and standing.  I had been there before, about 6 months after it had reopened, and really enjoyed seeing everything again.  I found myself talking to Randy as I made my way slowly through the exhibits, and it was very comforting.  When I was there they had a special showing of minerals and gems, and Randy really loved that stuff.  We had a long conversation about the stones as I looked through all the display cases.  In the rain forest, they had several glass cages set up for newts.  And I heard him clearly in my head reciting the lines from the Monty Python movie: “She turned me into a newt!”  “You’re not a newt”  “I got better”.  He could do the accent, and his timing was perfect and every time he said those lines it cracked me up.  It cracked me up again when I stood looking in at the newts.

My time at the CalAcademy was sad, yes, but it was also fun and loving and warm and … comforting.  It did not make me cry, it made me smile.  It made me happy.  It made me grateful, yet again, that my Randy was in my life and enriched it in all the ways he did.  And that was a blessing, and a healing from God.

Here is a picture of the second paint-by-numbers kit I completed.

tree-pbn

Posted January 9, 2017 by Maureen in Christian, Memories, Uncategorized

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IMPOSTOR   Leave a comment

I feel like an impostor.  Or a fake.

Thanksgiving weekend has always been a big family weekend for us.  As many as can travel from a tri-state area to spend three days together.  Eating, playing, talking, eating, doing activities.  Eating.  This year I was not looking forward to it.  I am not looking forward to my “first” holiday season without my husband.  I didn’t want the sympathetic looks and the “How ARE you’s” from well-meaning family members.  So many emotions all mashed and roiled around together.

It actually wasn’t too bad.  The distractions of the three days helped a lot I found.  And it was good to see family, to catch up on what everyone is doing (and, at our age, the latest health bulletins).  My niece’s son and daughter are at an especially adorable age and they were clearly having a terrific time with the plethora of cousins and Aunts, Uncles, Great Aunts, and Great Uncles.

I talked and laughed with everyone else.  And felt like an impostor.  I could laugh, but I couldn’t sustain the happy feeling.  I could enjoy activities for a short while, but then I would just watch.  When we saw our cousins they asked after me and time and again I saw “the look”.  This is the look that comes over their face when they have asked after my job and gotten updated and then …. they don’t know what to say.  They can’t ask about Randy since he is gone.  They don’t want to ask how I am since that can bring up strong emotions.  So they falter, and the conversation peters out.   I just waited, giving them a few second, and I would jump in and change the subject or start talking about something else.

And I felt like a fake.  I was totally faking being okay and that I was getting along just fine.  I was an impostor this past weekend.  I wonder how many people I fooled?

Posted November 27, 2016 by Maureen in Married Musings, Memories

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Imitation   Leave a comment

These days I do a pretty good imitation of a happy, got-it-all-together kind of gal.

Trust me — it is all on the surface.  I’m able to do my job and I do try to do the best job I can.  I like my job and want to continue staying there, and it is interesting and busy so that helps.  But so much of my life is a struggle to appear normal and to get the things done that need to be done.  House cleaning.  Laundry.  Dish washing.  Cooking.

Sometimes, like this weekend, I go through the struggles because I know I must and it will be better if I do, though no one knows how often I do my dishes or wash my clothes, my heavenly father seems.  So I can spend hours painting or reading or embroidering, and that can pass the time in numbness and quiet and I can keep busy doing something creative at the same time.

I hope I will not always have to imitate.  It is hard to see that right now, because my love, my sweet, my heart, is gone from my life.  I miss my Randy every moment of every day.  But I am ever reminded (and remind myself) that God is good, and God is faithful. Blessed be the name of the Lord.  He is here, He knows, He understands, He hears, He sees.

Posted October 24, 2016 by Maureen in Christian

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Feelin’ what I’m feelin’   Leave a comment

A couple of Sundays ago we had a real move of the Holy Spirit at church, and I came away feeling just a tiny bit better as far as my grief goes.

By the grace of God (which I do not deserve) and His blessing (which I also do not deserve) I will be moving to a smaller apartment next month.  It is in the same complex I’m in now — in fact, it is 10 steps away from where I live now.  My rent will go down $800 a month, which is a HUGE help here in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Have I said yet that I don’t deserve this?

When people ask how I am my standard response is “I’m still breathing in and out.”  I know, as a Christian, I’m supposed to be saying something like, “Oh, I feel blessed!” or, “I feel good in the Lord today!” or something like that.  And I may get there some day.  But not today.  And probably not tomorrow.

So until then, I keep breathing in and out.

Posted August 13, 2016 by Maureen in Christian, Married Musings, Randomness

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Sometimes I Just Give Up   Leave a comment

SOMETIMES I JUST GIVE UP

Poor widow, her husband died.

Lots of prayers and cards and visits and meals.

A memorial service, phone calls, emails, condolences.

 

Empty house, empty bed, empty heart.

Keep busy, widow.

Keep working, take care of yourself,

do the shopping, cooking, cleaning …

all by yourself.

Keep busy, widow.

Go outside, talk to people, go to church,

do your hobbies, reconnect with friends,

pet the cats, feed the cats, groom the cats,

do your job; stay busy, busy, busy.

 

Sometimes … I just give up.

It is just too hard to maintain the façade.

I can’t do it.  The grief, the loss is just

too overwhelming.

 

Sometimes … I just give up.

I stay home.  Don’t drive.  Don’t talk to anyone.

I stay in my PJs.  I cry, and cry, and cry.

I go back to bed.  I immerse myself in a book

or a TV show or stupid computer games;

anything, anything so I don’t have to think

about how much I desperately miss my most

wonderful husband.

 

Sometimes … I just give up.

I get so tired of people saying I’m strong.

No, I am NOT strong!

I don’t know what you see, but you

don’t see me if you think I am strong.

My only strength, my only source, is my Lord

God Almighty.  I can do nothing without Him.

 

He wants me to stay, He wants me to carry on.

He wants me to work as if I’m working for Him,

and shine my light for Him and be the best

person I can, for Him.

But sometimes … I just give up.

Posted July 17, 2016 by Maureen in Musings, Poems

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Never Ending   1 comment

My only son was killed 15 years ago.  It was devastating for me, and I plunged into two years of deep emotional shock.  It was only by the grace and love of God that I was able to get through it and come out of my shock slowly.

Every year, around his birthday and the anniversary of the day of his death, I have had problems.  I get so sad.  I get very emotional.  I feel myself slipping into shock and grief again.  It has been overwhelming at time, and feels never ending.  I just don’t want to feel this way. I want to remember my son and his life without all the sadness and loss and grief.

But it seems I am destined to feel this way.  I get through it every year, twice a year, but it is never pleasant.  It has gotten a bit better every year (I used to have to take days off to be by myself), but all the feelings come back year after year.  I have not thought of anything to “do” with the feelings and loss.  Perhaps that is why they keep coming back.

My husband has never wanted children, and has none of his own.  I told him about my son being killed early in our relationship, and he is one of the few people I can talk to about it, and even if I cry and even if he doesn’t understand from the perspective of a parent — he has always been supportive and he feels comfortable talking about it with me, and can even bring my son into casual conversation.

This year, perhaps because it is the 15th anniversary, and 15 is kind of a milestone, I had more problems than usual.  My husband sent me an email, part of which is quoted below.  I love my husband so much, and thank God for him.

“I know that you know how much I love you, and that I am here for you. But I also want you to know that I will be thinking of John as well as you, because he helped make you into the woman I love so much.”

 

Posted September 26, 2015 by Maureen in Christian, Musings

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