I’ve been thinking a lot about grieving lately. On Thursday, I went to a funeral for the mom of a young gal with whom I work. The service was conducted primarily in spanish, but the emotions are the same in any language. I was moved by the connectedness of the family as they supported each other through their grief. I understand why you would have a funeral for your loved one. There was an opportunity to say goodbye or goodbye for now, depending on your faith. It was a time to literally be held up by your friends and family. I get it.
Last weekend I had lunch with a friend whose husband died of colon cancer earlier this year. She and I became friends through the Hopkins group, and I am grateful to have her in my life. Our grieving processes have been very different. She has sold a home and moved. She has donated and sold things that she didn’t have room for in her new place. I get that too. However, I still have a closet full of Dave’s things and his shaving kit still sits on the counter in the bathroom. One thing we definitely have in common is missing our best friends. We talked about how much we miss the conversation and companionship. It is not possible to have the same kinds of conversations with your children, even if they are grown.
I work with a woman who suffered an unimaginable loss in the last year. She wears her grief outwardly, not necessarily by choice I don’t think, but because that is how her body is reacting. Ultimately this is probably a healthy way to be – to let it out. I do everything in my power to keep it from showing to the outside world. In fact, I have said many times that if you didn’t know my history, you wouldn’t guess it from the way that I act. This is a double edged sword because people assume that I am fine. And I am fine. Except for the days when I am not.
More than anything, I grieve for my kids. I am not mom and dad. I am just mom. Each of them had a special relationship with Dave. This is not something that I can replace, and I wish that they could have had it for much much longer. It comes up in bits and pieces. Little things like Parker commenting that we didn’t cook out all summer and how much she missed that. I am sure she missed the actual grilled food, but I think it is also about the entire experience. She would sit on the deck with Dave and they would laugh about silly things the dog had done or talk about one of their random topics. We would all sit and eat dinner together, sometimes being silly and sometimes more serious, but we were all together.
Sometimes it is more intense. When Sam was last home her phone met a watery end. Luckily I had my old iPhone that she could activate. After she got home from the Verizon store I commented out loud that all my old texts were gone and that I hadn’t thought about that. She told me that she had deleted her texts from Dave because she couldn’t handle it. In the last text that he sent her, he asked her if she was awake. He probably needed something and was seeing if she could help him. She feels guilty because she never answered him. I have reassured her that I am sure she didn’t answer because she more than likely just went and saw him. The guilt that she feels about this breaks my heart. I would do anything in the world to take that away from her.
And sometimes it is more global. I grieve for Grant. He talked about things with his dad that he is never going to talk about with his mom or sisters. I imagine that is how it is with boys and their dads. He is surrounded by women who genuinely just don’t get it on many occasions. One of the most touching gestures after Dave died came from a friend of Sam’s. His parents had divorced, and he spent the majority of time with his mom and two sisters. He wrote Grant a note saying that although he didn’t know what it was like to lose his dad, he did know what it was like to be the only guy in the house. He gave Grant his phone number and told him to call him any time. So much maturity and understanding for a 19 year old. He forever has a special place in my heart.
1 year, 3 months, 17 days.
PS I’m thinking about getting a dog.
PPS This is one of the best things I have read about grieving. (If you click on it, it will open in another window bigger so you can read it. It’s worth the read.)