Tag Archives: grief

“She’s Going to Be Famous” ……

…… is what a woman told me yesterday while she was petting Gracie.

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Daughter #1 was in town and we were down in Hell’s Kitchen at a flea market and I was schlepping Gracie around in my bag. It was blazing hot and I think she was still tired from our two mile walk through the Park the day before.
She also doesn’t really care for walking where there’s traffic and a lot of people.
Oh, and hot cement.

So yeah, she was in my bag. I thought she’d draw less attention that way, but she has some inborn talent for drawing attention no matter where she is. She also has an inborn talent for making people smile. And even, dare I say, making some people happy.
It’s a gift.

It’s a gift more humans should have.
Or maybe work on.

But I digress.
Evidently, if this woman has a talent of foretelling the future, Gracie is going to be famous.
From her mouth to God’s ears.

I told Daughter #1 that maybe I should just sit in Central Park with her, day in and day out, to see if maybe a talent scout will discover her.
I’m pretty sure we both thought that would be a huge waste of time.

So instead, I’ve applied to have her trained to be a therapy dog. I believe she could be making people smile, who, for whatever reason health-wise, don’t have much to smile about.
We shall see.
While I’m writing this she’s evidently trying to dig to China through her dog bed.
I’m not all that confident of her intellectual ability to pass a course.
Any course.
Unless it’s for cuteness.

Oh, and she now has her own Facebook page.
It’s “Gracie Takes Manhattan”.
In case you’re interested.
I can’t blame you if you’re not.

In other news …… there really is no other news.
Not any “new” news anyway.
There is a bit of old news.

For the past couple of days my emotions have been brimming at the surface. You know, when you feel if anyone says, “How are you doing?”, the tears will flow over the dam?
There’s really no reason for it.
Other than the same one I’ve had for over 7 1/2 years.
I miss Jim.

Some days it just comes out of the blue.
I miss him.
I mean, I miss him every day. I think about him every day. But I don’t always feel emotional about it every day.
Thank goodness.

The missing of him rarely crashes over me now. But it does sneak up on me every once in a while, with no particular pattern.
As it has does done this weekend.
Maybe it had to do with D#1 going back home.
I don’t know.

All I know is, I was working at the theatre last night when my “boss” asked me what brought me to NY.
I get asked that a lot, and I rarely get emotional about it. I just tell the story matter-of-factly …… and say “thank you” when the person says, “Oh, I’m so sorry!” when I mention that my husband died …… and then I move on with the story.
I can’t leave him out of the story because he was in it from the beginning.

So I started telling her. And the tears started brimming, while I dug my fingernails into my palms, trying to keep them from falling.
I persevered and they didn’t fall.
But she saw them anyway.
Especially when I said that, yes, sometimes I feel lonely. But I feel less lonely in NY.
Still, loneliness can creep in anywhere.

So that’s where I am.
The tears fall as I type this.
I don’t feel particularly sad.
But, oh do I miss that man.
And always will.

I know that I am beyond blessed to live the life I live.
To have the children I have.
To have the parents and siblings I have.
And …… just as with Jim …… I never take any of this for granted.
Ever.
I knew every day that I was blessed to have him.
I know every day that I am still blessed.

But that doesn’t keep the missing of him from creeping up on me every once in a while and bringing forth tears.
Nor will it ever.

It’s the cost of love.
For there is a cost.
The deeper the love, the higher the cost.

But he was definitely worth the price.

Life Is ……

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…… something I never, ever thought I’d say again.
Ever.

Life is …… pretty darn good.
All in all.
All things considered.

I’m 7 1/2 years “out” from Jim’s death.
I will never be happy that he died.
Of course.

But I am happy.
Ironic, no?

Of course I’d give everything up if that would bring him back, but …… it won’t.
So I’ve chosen to move forward.
And to live life the way I would have wanted him to live it.
Fully.

I know that I am beyond blessed to be able to live my “after” …… my “second plan A” …… fully.
He’s responsible for that.
He planned ahead for the unimaginable.
He always took care of me …… of our family.
And he still does.
I will love him fully …… to the moment that I draw my last breath.
And beyond.

And who knows? I may love another man that same way.
I’m ok with that.
And I know that Jim is, too.

I’m in love with the city where I’ve chosen to live.
Beyond in love.
I am absolutely crazy about New York City.
Head over heels.

Who knows how long I’ll live here? I have no idea. I’ve learned to not plan too far in advance.
But right now, in this moment …… I want to live here.
And so I do.

I’m in love with all of my children and where they are in their lives.
It’s been a very, very long 7 1/2 years.
It’s been a long and arduous journey with some of them.
But right now, at this moment in time …… they’re doing well.
They are thriving.
None of them are perfect.
But neither am I.
And neither was Jim.
None of them live perfect lives.
But neither do I.
And neither did Jim.

I don’t wish for them to live perfectly perfect lives.
I wish for them to live fully, to live to their utmost.
I wish for God to lead them and for them to follow.
Whether they do or not is up to them.
I will love them unconditionally.
As a parent should.

I love being able to connect with widowed people.
I love helping them know that they are not crazy, wrong, or alone.
I love giving them hope.

I love that I’ll be doing that at Camp Widow West in a little over a week.
I can’t wait.

Life is something I never thought it would be again.

Life.
Is.
Good.

And I am blessed beyond measure to be able to say that.

Thank you, Jim.

Thank you, God.

Sunday Was Just Short ……

…… of a miracle.

Not because it was my birthday, though birth, in and of itself, is always miraculous.
(Please accept my apologies if you just gagged. I did, too.)

Not because it was Father’s day, though it’s difficult a day for many people I know.

It wasn’t a miracle for those two things alone, but their occurrence together induced the miracle.

The miracle was this: I made it through that day …… through those two occasions …… without a tear.
Not one.
My eyes didn’t tear up at all.

I realize that most people wouldn’t see that as a miracle …… but I also know that most of you reading this …… know that it is.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel my heart tug a couple of times when I thought of Jim …… and of his absence. But I immediately turned my thoughts to the memories of him, instead of dwelling on the empty space he should be filling.
And I smiled.

I still miss him every day.
I will always miss him.
I will always wish that it had been me who left, while he stayed and did a better job of parenting.
Of being a better person.

But here I am.
And life is good, most of the time.
I am happy, most of the time.
And I’m thankful that I’ve reached the point where I can choose to sit and cry over Jim’s absence, or I can choose to sit and remember him, remember us …… remember all of the good stuff.

I’d much rather smile than cry.
Mostly because I’m an ugly crier and you can tell I’ve been crying even an hour after I stopped.
It’s a curse.

So anyway, I’m thankful for the miracle I experienced on Sunday.
I’m thankful for the father that Jim was to our children.
And I’m thankful for all of the birthdays I had while he was here.
(I’m not thankful that he’ll always be much younger than me now ….. that’s just aggravating!)

All this to say …… when you can …… choose to smile at the memories, rather than cry at the loss.
When.
You.
Can.

Pieces of My Heart ……

…… are all over the place.

There’s a piece in Philadelphia.
There’s a piece in Waco.
There’s a piece in Dallas.
There’s a piece in Austin.
And there’s a piece in Oklahoma, most of the year.

You can probably guess why that is.
It’s where my children are.
Daughter #3 is with me in NY so that piece gets to stay here.
Until she moves back to Texas in August.

All of that is to say that, while there will always be pieces of my heart wherever my children live, the rest of my heart is here …… in NY.
For the past few months I’ve been struggling with when to be here, and when to be in Texas. I thought I had figured it out. I planned to be here in the spring and summer, and then return to Texas for September till May.
And I was trying to be satisfied with that plan.
But I wasn’t.

So I’ve been praying about it and wondering what I should do. I felt that I should be in Texas because …… well, because that’s where we/I have been for 24 years. It’s where Jim last lived.
And most of my kids live there.

I know that there are thousands of people who live in two places and are happy doing that.
But I’ve found that I can’t really live fully in either place when I’m not there full time. It’s hard to commit to people or things (like volunteering, a year long Bible study, monthly meetings, etc) when I’m only here/there part time.

But I thought I’d power through it.
Then this week, and more specifically this weekend, I felt God saying, “You need to get on with your life, fully, and your life is here.”
I’ve found a church I really, really like (Thank you, RL!). A very diverse church where I am in the minority due to my age, and my race. And I love it.
It’s alive.
And growing.
And feels like home.

I’ve found a place to volunteer on a regular basis.
And I love it, too.

NY is where the rest of my heart is.
And where my life is.
Now.

At church yesterday morning the main point of the message was, coincidentally (I think NOT!) … “Does what you hold on to lead you to greater fear, or lead you to greater faith?”
Wow.

Holding on to NY leads me to greater faith.
It means leaving what I’ve known for two decades.
It means leaving people that I’ve loved for two decades.
It means trusting God enough to let go.

Holding on to TX leads to fear.
Fear that I’ll never leave because it’s “safe”.
Fear that my life will never be as good as it was there …… “before”.
Fear that if I let go, I’ll lose control.
Which is hysterical, because Jim’s death taught me that there’s really very little that I can control.

I sat in church yesterday, and listened to God.
And felt a huge weight lift off of me.
I almost felt giddy.
It felt great to let go.

So, I’m going to live in NY.
Full time.
I know a couple of people who will be sad at this decision.
(I’m talking to you LB and NB.)
But I also know a couple of people who will be happy at it.
(I’m talking to you BL and KL.)

I’m not going to sell my house in Texas.
Yet.
That will require a lot of work.
I’ll have to get rid of almost everything in it.
And figure out what to do with the stuff I have to keep.
That will take time.

I’ll still go back to visit every few months or so, but NY will now be home.
I totally love this city.
And I’m excited for the future.
And, after living the first four or so years of my “after” without that excitement, it’s feels great.

Now all of the pieces of my heart will be right where they belong.
🙂

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I Signed a Contract Last Night ……

…… to sell our house.
Not my home, the one I live in when I’m in Texas, but our house.
The one where Jim and I raised our children.
The one the boys and I lived in at the time of his death.
The one we stayed in during the first several years of the horrible “after”.
The one that used to be a home.
The one Jim and I thought we’d own for a very long time.

But “we” didn’t.

I haven’t lived in that house for a year now. A year on May 1st, to be exact. I signed a contract on my new house that day and never spent another night in the other one.
In September of last year I started renting it to a family. The day I signed the rental agreement was the last day I was in that house.
The last day I drove down that street.
I’ve never been back, even though I still live in the same small community.
I was done.
I didn’t want to have anything more to do with that house and looked forward to the day I could sell it.

Or so I thought.

I signed a contract last night.
And this morning, the power of that signature …… the officialness of it …… is bringing tears to my eyes.
I still don’t want that house, and I really, really don’t want to live in it again.
But I guess my heart kind of does.
Not as it is now, but as it was.
In my “before”.

I’m crying for something I don’t really want.
And for something I simply can’t have.
Ever.

But then again, it’s not that simple.
Here in the “after”, my emotions rarely feel simple. They’re often mixed with feelings I can’t describe, emotions I don’t understand, tears that sometimes come out of nowhere.
And that’s difficult to grasp, let alone explain to someone else.
Or write about on a blog.

None of us can have the past.
But it’s not really the past that I want.
It’s the now …… that was supposed to be.
I wish with all my heart that “we” were still in that house.
In our home.
But wishes don’t always come true.
That one never will.

I know that I’ll be relieved when we close on it in a couple of weeks.
I also know that I’ll most likely cry at that closing.
But hopefully not for long.

My “after” is good.
It’s not what I wanted, but it’s good.
The future is unknown, but it’s also something I look forward to experiencing.
Finally.

Life goes on.
And I’m moving forward.
Sometimes with tears, but I’m ok with that.

And, in what can only be described as the irony of moving forward …… the day that I signed a contract to sell our house, Daughter #2 signed a contract to buy her first house.

Sometimes life goes full circle.
🙂

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Alan Alda and Softball ……

…… have absolutely nothing in common (as far as I know …… which isn’t all that far) except that I saw both of them last week. Like, close up.
I love NY. 🙂

Gracie and I have been spending as much time as possible walking and hanging out in Central Park. The baseball/softball fields are close to my apartment so we’ve spent a few afternoons just watching the little/big boys/girls play ball.
On Thursdays the Broadway shows play against each other, so that’s kind of neat to watch.

Gracie enjoys hanging out in the Park …… and most of the people who walk past us seem to like her, too.
Whenever someone walks by us, she tries to run up to them (she’s on a short leash), barks and hops on her two back feet, while pawing at the air as if to say, “Play with me!! Please, please play with me!” And most people can’t seem to resist.
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It’s really nice to walk with her because she has the ability to make people happy. Even when she’s in the sling and we’re walking through the city, people stop me and ask if they can pet her. Then they ask whether she’s a boy or a girl, what her name is, her age (9 big months!), and her weight (3 whopping pounds!).

Last Thursday I went to an event called The Moth. You can Google it to find out more than I can tell you, but it’s listening to people tell stories, centered around a certain theme. It’s really neat. And Alan Alda was there with his wife.
I really, really wanted to go up to him and give him a hug, but fortunately, I managed to overcome that desire and stayed where I was. Which was probably a good thing …… for both of us.
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In other news, my house in Texas (the one I live in …… don’t get me started) didn’t flood.
Whoop!
We received weather reports that there could be flooding in our community because they were letting water out of a nearby lake …… uncontrolled. That didn’t bode well, but it seems that we dodged that bullet. Thank the Lord. I talked to my neighbor today and she said that the sun was shining and is supposed to do that for the next 10 days.
Triple whoop!

May was a rather busy month here. My mom came for a week a couple of days before Mother’s Day. We had a good time, though I think she needed to recuperate from all of the walking we did.
She hung in there, though and was game to go anywhere.

My sister and her best friend came for a week, too. We had a great time seeing the sights. They saw more than I did, since I didn’t feel the need to accompany them everywhere. It’s very nice to have visitors who are willing to go sight seeing on their own.
There’s only so many times you can take someone to Ground Zero.
We did manage to have some fun in the Diamond District. 😉

I’ve seen a few shows since I’ve been here this time.
I know, huge surprise.

Here they are, in no particular order:

1. On the Town — it was cute, but not one I’d see again
2. On the Twentieth Century — I LOVED this show. So much that I saw it twice in less than four days (I took my mom to see it after I’d already seen it). Kristen Chenowith (“Wicked”) and Peter Gallagher (“While You Were Sleeping”) are in it and it’s a lot of fun. It’s my new favorite right now.
3. An American in Paris — a friend and I went to see this and we thought that it should’ve been presented as a ballet, rather than a Broadway musical. It’s more dance than show. Mostly ballet. The dancing is beautiful, but I would’ve preferred more of a story line than dance. The two leads have never been on Broadway before and have both been principal dancers in wonderful ballet companies (like the NY company).
So if you’re a huge dance lover, you’ll like this show. If not, you might want to skip the line and go see something else (like On the Twentieth Century!).
4. Two Gentlemen of Verona — Loved this show. It’s in Brooklyn, in a theatre I’d never been in before. The staging of it is fun, as is the entire show. I’d see it again (probably the best thing I can say about a show).
5. Kinky Boots — This was the second time I’d seen this one. My sister and her friend wanted to see it, so we all went. It’s still a good show and a lot of fun.
6. It Shoulda Been You — This stars Tyne Daly and is another fun show, though I’m not sure that I’d see it again. It was cute and has a surprise ending, which was fun.

I think that’s it. For now, anyway.

I started volunteering last week at a small theatre and have enjoyed it. Because it’s small, and relies heavily on volunteers, I’ll get to do a little bit of everything. Last week I worked as house staff during a show. Tomorrow I’ll work in the box office, which will be my main job for now.
This theatre has a huge program that reaches out to kids in the Burroughs, and introduces them to theatre by auditioning them for an annual talent show. The kids don’t know it, but everyone makes it into the show. From that point they can be in a program that helps kids know what it’s like to be prepared for job interviews and everything it takes to get to that point, and beyond. These are mostly kids who’ve never seen themselves able to do that. It’s a wonderful place, as well as a terrific nonprofit.

In yet other news …… last Thursday (the day I saw The Moth), was supposed to be my 32nd anniversary.
But it wasn’t.
Technically.
And, for what I think may have been the very first time, I didn’t cry. My eyes watered as I read a text from one of my daughters, telling me that she was thinking of me, and that she’s thankful for the example Jim and I were of a couple who loved God, each other and our children.
I know! Are your eyes watering?

I didn’t feel depressed or blue that day. I mostly felt blessed.
Blessed to have had Jim for as long as I/we did.
Blessed to have been married to my best friend.
Blessed to have 6 people who are part of him.
Blessed in way too many ways to blog about. It would be too long and probably too boring.
But I felt blessed. And happy to have wonderful memories, rather than tears of grief.
Don’t misunderstand …… there will always be grief, but not in the way there used to be grief.
Thank God.

So here’s to what would’ve been 32 years.
And the memories that 27 years brought.

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Have a great Monday, Peeps.
🙂

Such A Simple Act ……

…… can bring forth so many emotions and memories.

I went to the theatre last night with several friends. Four of them were married couples. I sat next to one of them, chatting and laughing until the lights were turned down and the play prepared to start.
At that point, the husband simply laid his hand on his leg, palm up. With no words, and hardly any time at all, his wife lovingly put her hand in his.
And there they remained.

So simple.
So full of unspoken words and swirls of emotions.

I miss that.
The simplest of acts.
Yet it can speak volumes.

Jim and I never talked about holding hands. It just grew into a natural occurrence. Whenever we walked anywhere …… on a path, into a building, around an exhibit …… anywhere, our hands automatically found each other. It wasn’t even a thought most of the time. It was like our hands were magnets that drew each other together.

So simple.
And yet so very, very missed.

As I watched my friends hold hands throughout the play, I didn’t feel sad. I felt more wistful, I guess. I felt warm memories and I was happy for them …… that they, too, had this simple act between them.

I smiled.
For them.
And for me.

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Life is Full of Seasons ……

…… good, bad, fun, boring, happy, content and downright horrendous.

The thing about seasons is …… they come around again and again, though you never know when to expect them.
Or …… what special effects they’ll bring along with them.
And most times …… you don’t know how long they’ll last.

But, I think I can tell you, with some authority, that the bad seasons …… you know, the tear and snot-filled, cold and black, grief-filled seasons …… get shorter and shorter.
Just so you know.

I’ve been in one of those negative seasons for a few months now, though I only admitted it yesterday. The further out I get from Jim’s death, the more it feels like I’m not allowed to have a bad season. “Holy cow, it’s been over 7 years now …… and you’re STILL grieving?!” “Good grief, aren’t you over this yet?!”
“Why aren’t you dating anyone?” “Why aren’t you doing anything to get yourself out there and dating.”

I really have no answers to questions like these. Not nice, polite answers anyway.

Overall, my life is good. Often great.
But there’s always a caveat there, and most people don’t understand that.

My life is great …… as great as it can be without Jim.
That’s a fact.
Or, as I used to tell my kids, “It is what it is”.
I don’t choose to have that missing piece of my joy.
And I can’t replace it. With anything or anyone.
We all know people who’ve tried …… and failed.

Thankfully, for me, I also have God.
Not that He’s always been one of my favorite people (I’m sure He could say the same of me!), but He’s always been there.
Even when I didn’t feel Him.

Most days I can praise and thank Him.
Even when I don’t feel like it.
There’s always something in my life to be thankful about.
Just as there’s always the missing of Jim.

But I had to learn how to choose to be thankful, and choose to praise Him.
It didn’t come back naturally after Jim’s death. And it took me a while.
But I finally reached the point where I could choose to just sit in my grief and let it stunt and rob me of the rest of my life …… or I could choose to start seeing the things/people in my life that I’m thankful for.

The funny thing is …… once you start feeling thankful for a few things, it kind of snowballs. Your eyes open to more and more good things in your life, in spite of …… so much.

So this is what I’ve learned: when the seasons come …… and they DO come …… I need to just sit in them for a bit, let myself feel them, and see if there’s anything new in them. Once I let myself feel them and just “be”, they slowly start to fade. And that’s when I can choose joy.
Not 100% of the time, though ……. I’m no angel and I’m about as far from perfection as one can be. But I’m a work in progress. Sometimes the progress is painstakingly slow, sometimes I catch on quickly.

I am who I am.
And it is what it is.
Grief. It’s not just for anybody.

There Are Things I Whisper ……

…… only to myself.

There are some pains that can’t be said aloud. Well, technically they could, but societally, they can’t. If I were to say why I feel sad …… why I’ve felt sad for weeks now, there would be angry comments. And I can’t say that I’d blame the commenters.

Yes, I’m a widow.
Yes, Jim was wise and planned ahead for an event we never thought would really happen.
No, I don’t have to work to make ends meet.
Yes, I am blessed.

But financial security doesn’t cure loneliness.
Money can’t help me fill my house with anything but things.
I can’t buy someone to hold me while I sleep and still love me when he sees me in the morning.
(Yes, I’m aware that money certainly can “buy” someone to keep me company …… but that, also, doesn’t cure the loneliness in my heart).

The security I have didn’t help me this morning as I sat in a meeting with my accountant and another guy who helps me …… biting my lip the entire hour to keep the tears from spilling over.
I hate those meetings. I end up depressed for at least a day because they bring back the memories of those first days and all of the meetings I had to attend in the wake of Jim’s death.
And I usually don’t understand much that’s said, which makes me feel sad …… and stupid.
As soon as I get back to my car, the dam breaks and the tears pour forth …… all the way home.

But if I were to tell a group of people how lost I sometimes feel, how “afloat” I am …… how purposeless I feel, I know that the common reaction/thought would be, “Oh, poor you!”, (in a snarky tone.)
I don’t expect or want anyone to feel sorry for me.
I don’t feel sorry for myself …… I just …… miss him.
I miss what we had, what we were …… who I was.

I can only imagine how much more difficult and painful my life would be if I had to struggle financially. I didn’t do anything to deserve this, anymore than I deserved his love.
He just gave it.

I wish that someone had told me about the guilt that comes with each check that’s deposited. It’s difficult to enjoy “death money”. Especially when you’d much rather have that person than a check.

I wonder if I would still feel purposeless if he were alive?
Is this a part of the “empty nest syndrome”? Once our children don’t really need us any longer, is this how we feel?
I think I’d probably still feel that way, though I’m sure it’s magnified by widowhood.

And while I am beyond blessed to be able to live in two wonderful cities, it’s difficult to feel connected in either one.
I know …… poor me, right?

As I’ve said before, and will continue to say, “I am blessed.”
I was “before” and I am in my “after”.
But blessings sometimes come with pain, and tears.
Like childbirth …… and parenting.

Maybe the more we are blessed …… the more susceptible we are to hurt.

Or maybe I just need to find a new “purpose” in my life.
And stop whining.
There, I said it for you.

I knew I should’ve just whispered it to myself.

Here’s What I’ve Realized ……

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…… in the past two days.
Everybody …… absolutely every single person on this earth …… needs to know that they have been missed.
Because being missed means that you matter.
To someone.

Yes, I realize that this seems like a basic piece of knowledge, or maybe it should be. But I’ve found that it’s not really. We all need to be told that we are missed …… and we all need to tell people who matter to us that we miss them.
This is not one of those pieces of information that you can take for granted …… but we do.

Sure, you think that your loved ones know you miss them.
So why bother to get all mushy and tell them, right?
After all, they know.
Right?

No. That’s not right.
We are human beings, and as such, we can be very fragile, no matter how hard we pretend that we aren’t. Because being fragile is negative, isn’t it? We should be strong. Who cares if we’re missed or not missed? We can do just fine on our own, thank you very much.
We just slip on one of the many masks we keep hidden in our closet and voila! No one knows what we look like beneath the mask. No one can see the tears, thankfully.
No one can see that we’re …… God forbid …… human.

And so we help to perpetuate the myth that all is well. We’re all strong. We’re all just fine, thank you very much.
If we’re missed, great. If we’re not, no problem.
If we’re loved, nice. If we’re not, it’s your loss, not ours.

What a load of crap.

I’m just as guilty as anyone else in this category. I miss so very many people. On a daily basis.
Hell, on a second to second basis.
But I rarely tell all of those people how much I miss them.
First of all, it would take all day.
Second of all, what if they don’t miss me back?
Ouch.

I have deeply missed the people at my “old” church. And the responses and comments that I received telling me the same (from my previous post) made me cry.
I didn’t realize until then how much I need to feel missed.
How much I need to feel loved.

There are people in my life who tell me this on a regular basis, as I do them.
I’d say that 99.9% of them are widowed. Or have experienced a profound loss, too.
Once that changes your life forever, you can’t help but love people fiercely and tell them so.

It’s the people in your “before” life that fall into the cracks. There’s no finger of blame to point, I can’t come up with a reason why, it just happens. On both sides.
And that’s a shame.

I need my “before” people in my life.
I need people who knew Jim.
Who knew Jim and Janine.

Yes, it can be a huge relief to have people in my life who only know the “after Janine”, as I’m sure any widowed person feels.
But I think we still need those who knew and loved the “before us”.

I think I’ve been pondering this more lately because my heart has been hurting so much for my sweet friend whose son died recently.
I’ve never experienced the death of a child. And yet, the two of us are connecting with the grief our hearts hold. I’m not sure if it’s because I loved her “before”, or because she’s a single parent and so she’s going through this loss alone. I think it’s probably both.
Her heart not only breaks for the future her son will never have, but for the future she’ll never have with a partner. Both losses are slamming into her on a constant basis.

I always thought that if one of our children died, Jim and I would get through it together. The loss of him was greater than the potential loss of one of our children.
But now, with him gone, the loss of one of my children would …… I can’t even go there.

Yet my friend wakes up there every single day. I want to take her pain away. But I know I can’t.
I want to tell her that things will get better soon. But we both know they won’t.
All I can do is be there for her. Sit with her, listen to her, cry with her.
But she needs more than just me. She needs a boatload of people who can, and will, do this with her.

Grief is exhausting.
And hard to carry alone.
If you know someone who’s carrying it, please help them.
Just offer to sit with them.
Tell them that you love them.
Tell them that you miss them.
Tell them, above all, that you miss their loved one.
Because that matters.

You matter.
Your words matter.
Your feelings matter.
So share them.

And help someone know that they matter.

Life is too precious to do alone.