On Finding Comfort

This week I am finding comfort in a variety of ways and that is helping very much.  I have been walking in the mornings, reading, eating more healthy meals, talking about Kirk and sharing memories with loved ones.

I have also smiled at some of our jokes and funny moments we had with him.  And, yet, there is still sadness and a huge hole where he should be.  I talk regularly about Kirk with our son and he enjoys talking about his dad.  We look at pictures and we remember.

I went to the library yesterday and checked out a few books on grief.  One of them is  “Comfort: A Journey Through Grief” by Ann Hood.  It is very well written and a lot of good information and is exactly what I needed this week. Her daughter died suddenly in 2002. Her daughter Grace was 5-years-old.

Ann Hood explains that grief is not linear and has no beginning, middle, and end. She gets it.  I never did until going through it.  I never understood the pain of a close loss until now and I am learning a lot.

“Grief is not linear. People kept telling me that once this happened or that passed, everything would be better. Some people gave me one year to grieve. ” Hood’s book states. “They saw grief as a straight line, with a beginning, a middle, and an end.  But it is not linear.  It is disjointed.

“One day you are acting almost like a normal person. You maybe even manage to take a shower.  Your clothes match. You think the autumn leaves look pretty, or enjoy the sound of snow crunching under your feet,” she continues.

“Then a song, a glimpse of something, or maybe even nothing sends you back into the hole of grief. It is not one step forward, two steps back. It is a jumble.  It is hours that are all right, and weeks that aren’t. Or it is good days and bad days. Or it is the weight of sadness making you look different and nothing helps. Not haircuts or manicures, or a diet,” Hood states in her book.

I got tears in my eyes as I read this but I also was comforted that someone else has been exactly where I am.  Someone else lost a loved one who was dear to them and they survived.  What amazing comfort that we will also survive.

We have received so much support from our friends and our family.  We so appreciate that. That support is special, it is important, and it helps keep us going.  I have several friends and family who are also grieving.  We are in pain together and can appreciate where others are coming from.  And we can give comfort to each other.

Another comforting statement that I heard recently was said by Joe Biden.  He said that as you move through grief, eventually a smile will come to your face before a tear when you remember the loved one that you lost.  I am not there yet and often have both reactions.

Sadly he knows too much about grief — having lost his first wife and their daughter many years ago and his son Beau more recently.  Dealing with some of that is covered in his book, “Promise Me, Dad.”  Whether you agree with him or not, it is quite a read for someone who has also been there in grief and has found comfort.

Ian and I talked about this concept last night and he said he is having happy memories about his dad.  We both cheered and had huge smiles on our faces when we realized that Kirk will never again be sick or in pain.  What a comfort that was and is again today.

My comforts this week have been:

  • Spending time with family and friends for graduation celebrations and a birthday party
  • Helping Ian with an art project that is due this week
  • Singing a song at church without completely losing it
  • Listening to the birds in the morning during my walks
  • Enjoying the sunrises on the way to school in the morning
  • Hugs at night from Ian
  • Prayers before meals with loved ones
  • Talks and laughs over a delicious meal
  • Hugs and clumping with my family
  • Long chats and visits
  • The winding down of the school year
  • The anticipation of summer and our plans
  • My faith and prayers

We continue to have good days and bad days, hard hours and deep sadness.  But we are also having fun, are laughing, are cherishing our memories, and are thankful that we have each other as we heal.  My prayer is that you have loved ones to help you through grief and hard times.

May we find comfort in one another.  May we be there to help each other.  And, may we always, always, always love.

The Waves Continue

One of my loved ones posted this, “Drained.”  I totally can understand this feeling. Some days I am drained and just cannot get motivated to do anything.  Other days, I do things and still can be drained at the end of the day.  Thankfully, I also have good days to balance out these hard ones. So, the waves of grief continue for me.

This past weekend was good with dinner out at a favorite pizza place, a few favorite movies and projects, church and singing, family time, several chats and laughs with our son, and a sweet compliment that I looked great. I didn’t expect that but it helped boost me.

The fog of grief is starting to lift and that is a challenge. On good days, I feel like myself again — well almost.  Still, I feel like part of me is missing.  And, I still want to talk with my loved one and have him answer me back. On the bad days, I cry, scream, rest, and try to figure out a way to carry on.

I have been trying to move along and keep doing all of the stuff that has to be done after a death.  I am slow but am getting there.  Each time I accomplish something, I have to have some time to process and realize that I did it without him.  I am glad that I can but I so wish he was still here to help me.

Last night I was thinking that he shouldn’t have died so young and that it wasn’t actually his time to go. And, yet he did. I still wish I could have done more for him and still feel guilty at times.  For whatever reason though, the Lord had something else in mind for him, for me, and for all of us who loved him.

I still have questions and I still don’t understand the why.  Not sure I ever will but I am trying to move forward.  I am trying for myself and our son who is on this journey with me.  We are trying.  We often have to regroup, or have to pause, but we are trying.

I also am having some anger about it all and thinking of how unfair it is for me and for our son and our other loved ones.  Then I realize that I am not alone in these feelings.  I am not alone in these experiences either.  People lose their loved ones every day.

My heart goes out to these people.  At times this is a comfort to share the grief and the pain with others.  At other times, it brings my own pain back to the surface.  So, again, that is both up and down.  Ups and downs seem to be the way of our lives right now.

Most of the time I can deal with his absence but every once in a while it hits me that he will never again be with us as he was.  Today, I am feeling that loss and am missing him so much.

  • I miss his laughter
  • I miss his smile
  • I miss his hugs
  • I miss his chats with our son
  • I miss sharing a meal with him
  • I miss sitting next to him at church
  • I miss listening to a favorite song on a CD
  • I miss watching a favorite movie with him
  • I miss times with family when he was telling jokes
  • I miss his voice
  • I miss our long talks

Along with what I miss, I keep reminding myself that he is no longer in pain, he is not suffering, and he will be forever young.  My faith comforts me in knowing that he is okay.  Still, I wanted more time with him.

Since he traveled a lot for work, we had to get used to him not being with us every day. The difference was that we often talked to him.  We chatted every day, many times more than once.  We stayed connected and spent hours on the phone.  I am blessed to have had all of those times with him.

One phone call that comes to mind was when he was traveling and I found out I was pregnant with our son. I told him over the phone and he was blown away. He was on cloud nine and couldn’t believe it. We were blessed to share the pregnancy, birth, and 11 amazing years with our son. For that, I will always be thankful.

My pain and grief has made me realize how thankful I am for all of the times we had together, all of the memories we shared, all of the photos we took (often to my love’s annoyance), all of the laughter we shared, and all of the dreams we had for our future.

Now I continue to cherish every moment with my family and friends. I realize how important it is to celebrate them, to be there when we can, to enjoy our times together, to laugh together, and when we are together, to truly be present.