Un-Unique Grief

Today my friend (who also happens to be my boss) commented that she has noticed that I am laughing more, and she is happy to see it. I guess that is not really something that you notice about yourself, and perhaps it is an outward sign that some sort of healing has been taking place. On the drive home mulling it over, I was reminded of my mom telling me my adoption story. Since I was 2 1/2 and spoke french, she wondered how I was adapting to my new life. She said she knew that I was settling in and getting used to things when I started singing to myself. I guess my laughing and making smart ass remarks is the adult version of that little girl singing.

As we barrel towards the one year mark since we last saw Dave, I guess I can say we have made some forward progress. There is still stuff to be done. I haven’t cleaned out his closet (or the arc of stuff around his closet) or his dresser. We haven’t scattered his ashes. I am just not ready. I know that his clothes are just things and shouldn’t hold so much meaning, but they are things that he touched or wore and feel like my last physical connection to him. I have this feeling that once I get rid of his things that I’ll have to fully acknowledge that it is all over. I realize that doesn’t make any sense.  One day.

This week quite a few friends forwarded me the post written by Sheryl Sandberg (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sheryl-sandberg/choosing-life-and-finding-meaning-30-days-after-daves-tragic-death_b_7503266.html?utm_hp_ref=technology&ir=Technology&ncid=fcbklnkushpmg000000420). I don’t know a lot of her details but I do know that Sheryl is a bigwig at Facebook and her husband died suddenly a month ago while they were on vacation. This week she wrote about the end of her sheloshim or religious mourning period and where she is now.

It was interesting and familiar to read her point of view 30 days into her grieving.  After reading Sheryl’s post, another woman that I know, who is also in this crappy dead husband club, posted to Facebook the post she wrote 30 days after her husband died. So, I decided to trudge back into last July to see where my mind was at that point (https://embracingtherollercoaster.wordpress.com/2014/07/16/10-things-that-i-have-learned-1-month-later).

I have come to the conclusion that grief is unique, and yet not, all at the same time. In reading 3 different posts dealing with the same general topic, we had some definite similarities. All of us talked about our grief, of course. All of us talk about moving on or moving forward or choosing to appreciate life in some way. Shannon and I both have used humor, I think, when things are tough. Shannon and Sheryl both talk about their children. Shockingly, I did not. I have been chewing on that fact for the last day or so. I am certain that I wrote about them either right before or right after that post, but on that particular day, I did not even mention them.

Sheryl and I had quite a few thoughts in common – other people not knowing what to say and how each of us thought that should be handled, asking for or accepting help, and being grateful. Two widows, 30 days into their “new” life writing about gratitude.

Of course, none of us could we say we know exactly how the other feels because grief IS unique. And so is the healing. Sheryl ends her post with quote from a friend who tells her “Option A is not available. So, let’s just kick the shit out of Option B.” I think that’s all any of us can really do.



3 thoughts on “Un-Unique Grief

  1. Dear Robyn,
    You write beautifully.
    I am sorry for the intrusion. I stumbled across your site looking for a picture of David Tremaine. You may or may not be aware of this, but there is wonderful group of 55(!) students from Hayfield fielding a team at Relay For Life (ACS) inspired by your husband. They call themselves Answer for Cancer.
    I am hoping to include a picture or two of him in our slideshow during the event’s Luminaria Ceremony this Friday night.
    You have an open invitation to drop by Relay if you would like to on Friday. The event begins at 7pm in the West Springfield HS Stadium. Survivors and caregivers walk the first two laps. Teams then proceed around the track and participants take turns walking for their teams until sunrise.
    The Luminaria Ceremony begins at 9:30. The lights are turned off and hundreds of individually dedicated luminary bags illuminate the track. We take several quiet laps around the track, led by a bagpiper. The slideshow will begin after the first silent lap. The lights gradually go back up, and upbeat music and activities will return.
    You are welcome to stop by my team’s campsite (#11 Capital H) for water, soda, snacks or anything else. “Answer for Cancer” will be on the visitors’ side of the field, near the 50 yard line. (#35 & #36)
    It is possible to drop in and out anonymously.
    Additional details: RelayForLife.org/SpringfieldVA.
    Wishing you patience, humor and healing,
    Amy Falcon

    • Amy,

      Thank you for letting me know about this event. You are welcome to grab and photos from here if they are helpful. I am really touched to learn that there is such a big group of Hayfield students participating. My oldest daughter has participated in Relay both in high school and college. I think it is a tremendous event. We will definitely try to stop by if at all possible. Again thanks for making me aware of this.


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