Surviving holidays

It is so easy to get sad thinking about the coming holidays. Christmas was always so special to my husband. He absolutely loved it. At the moment I don’t even have any decorations that are suitable for where I am now. Since I don’t go out much I guess I will have to search Amazon for some things that will work. This is a small apartment and I don’t really need much or have any place for it.

We always had the biggest tree that would fit where we were living. It actually took up more space than I would like but nothing else would do. One year he was so irritated with the tree having so many old ornaments that didn’t look good that he went to the local shop and bought everything off of the display.

He really didn’t care about getting things for himself but was always concerned that we did all the things for others we could afford. There were years when we had guests at our dinner table who had no one to be with. We used to joke that we took in strays. It was our joy to do so.

Things are completely different now and I know it will take so thought on my part to make the changes I need to. I am blessed to have family to be with and new friends to share with. My life has been rich and will continue to be.

Grief is linked to joy

It is difficult to explain what I am experiencing so that it makes sense. My thoughts have been going in many directions lately. I have revisited so many scenes from my past. A video has been running in my head most of the time. Visiting the past is becoming a big part of my grief process. The moments when life was so wonderful pop up and bring me both joy and pain. It reminds me of the idea that when dying we see our life pass before us.

When I lost my husband my focus was on losing his present person. Missing him day to day was front and center. Things to do took precedence and I would wake each day with the nagging feeling that there was something I was forgetting to do. Just the normal routine of living had disappeared.

Now that I am mostly settled in my apartment and have a new daily routine I guess it frees my mind up to explore the things that made our years together so amazing. Now I can bear to immerse myself in the times that bring my grief to the surface. I am more able to endure the pain so that I can also feel the love and joy.

The wave

I love C.S. Lewis. His books have inspired me for many years. Today I came across this quote from his book “A Grief Observed.”

I don’t think I had thought about grief in this way but it is so true. I have been washed in fear. Not constantly but over and over. Just when I think it has disappeared it comes again and overwhelms me.

It makes me wonder why fear? What am I afraid of? There is no clear answer. Some things can be seen such as being alone but others are not so obvious. Most of the obvious ones have been dealt with…finances, paperwork, moving, but still the wave comes.

Each time I can feel it tugging at me…wanting to pull me under but then it subsides. Each time it is possible that the pull is less strong but not enough to really feel.

Time will pass. The wave will someday bring memories of love and joy and the fear will recede. I only pray that it continues to lessen with fear and increase with love.

Letting go

Last week was a lost week. For some reason I was in a bad place and nothing seemed right. It is the first time that I have had such a down time. I think the impact of everything that has happened since last March finally got to me. (Covid, husband in hospital several times, moving to another city, downsizing to an apartment from my wonderful home, losing my husband, paperwork, changing everything from ours to mine.) A lot to take in over that short time. I guess I wouldn’t have been normal if it didn’t get to me. Just letting it all out helped.

I have begun doing mandalas for healing again, my attitude is different and I feel better. Strangely enough the dogs are behaving better. I am sure that my upset has been affecting them. Yes, I am still grieving and that will take time but I feel more grounded

The journey of grief

Grief is a funny thing. Some people think it follows the pattern of acceptance by Kubler-Ross. That pattern was actually developed about acceptance of a coming death. In my mind grief is different. Having run two years of grief support group and feeling my own grief I think it is much more erratic. It comes and goes like the waves of the ocean. I am certainly feeling that. I can go along just fine and then suddenly something will trigger tears.

We can’t run away from grief. Instead we have to go through it. We have to experience it. Hiding from it or trying to deny it doesn’t work. It can take a long time. Sometimes people have no idea what to say to us when we have a loss. Some comments can be upsetting but we just have to understand that most are well meaning.

It has been and will continue to be particularly hard due to the circumstances we all find ourselves in. Covid doesn’t allow us to do normal things that help us accept a death. Funerals are done with few people or put off until later.

In my case there is also moving to another city away from longtime friends. Being with family has helped but I am not in my long-term home and things are not as usual. I reach out by phone and electronics but it is not the same. I am lonely and missing my place in things. It will get better when we can be with people but for now it is hard.

My faith helps and I find myself leaning on God for support more than usual. I guess loss makes us reach out and understand what is important to us. God is my rock that I stand on.

We all grieve in our own way and I will move through this and find new friends and people to do things with. Being able to go to church will help. Life does go on.

Looking back and forward

Bouts of grief come and go with me. For some reason driving in the car seems to bring them on. That makes no sense. Grief is always that way. It comes in waves often without warning. Sometimes people don’t realize that it isn’t just a death that we grieve. Any kind of change can bring it on. We grieve for what has been even if we are looking forward to what is to come.

Having moved many times in my life I expect to be sad about what I am leaving but settle well when I get rooted in the next place. In some ways it is refreshing to think that this big downsize means that we will be getting some new furniture of the inexpensive variety. Moving lots of furniture is more expensive that buying new if you are wise about what you buy. We will take things that we love but that is mostly art work and personal items.

A lot of our furniture was passed down from my family and is not necessarily what I would have bought. Even though it has links to the past I have no regrets about letting it go. An estate sale agent will handle that.

It is almost like a new start and a chance to try some different styles that can be modified easily.

Life changes when we least expect

This is a difficult post to write. Since my husband has been recently diagnosed with dementia our life has changed. We will learn and adapt as we go but some major changes will have to be made.

Our home is one that requires us both to be able to help with its maintenance. It is really too much for me to manage on my own. It is time to move forward and find the right environment for both of us. This will be heart wrenching and particularly hard on my husband but we need to do it now and get settled for the future.

My aunt ( who was really quirky) always said that if you do all the things you CAN do at the moment then you can stop worrying. This is my plan. We will be taking one day at a time. There are still some medical issues to be resolved and the virus hasn’t helped getting those done but we will get there. God is with us.

There have been lots of ups and downs in our life together. This is just another down to get through and look forward to the next up. On the 9th of June we will have been married 58 years. A wonderful journey.

Grief for the hatred

I am almost struck dumb by hearing about another incident with a black man. The first one was in a place I have been many times and had no idea what was under the surface. We suffer from blindness that must go away. Why is the hatred so strong? Have we not changed at all? I grew up with a father who lived out that everyone was created equal. He never tolerated looking down on anyone. He was much loved by all who knew him.

The daughter of one of my best friends (the friend sadly is no longer with us) is married to a Lakota Sioux. I have seen through her eyes and that of her family the same kind of selective justice that their people have suffered. It continues.

The Massacre at Wounded Knee

When will we being to see people as human beings….no different than us. Is it going to take DNA testing everyone to prove that in today’s world odds are we all have DNA in common?The world has become very small. Is it going to take invasion by aliens to make us see our commonality instead of our differences?

Surely this virus has made us see it is no respecter of persons. Everyone race, creed or color is at risk. Can we not move past the hatred? I grieve for those hurt recently and those hurt in the past. Not just here in our nation but in the whole world. We can’t seem to learn.

Scary things

Today I am again using the Dragon software so forgive any grammar errors.

This has been a quiet day. I did have to attend the funeral of the young man with children who died. The funeral was a real tribute to him. There must’ve been at least 300 people there. Sad though it was his funeral was a celebration of his life.

Grief-1480

There is always something so much sadder about the death of a young person. We feel as if there are things that are unfinished. Someone told me many years ago that in truth the death of a young person is not a life unfinished. That each of us has our own lifespan. It is a lifespan set for us alone. For some reason that gave me comfort.

Death is something that we all come to. It is something that we all have to face. Many people fear death. For me death itself is not frightening. It is the dying that we don’t look forward to.

There are so many things in life that can frighten us. For those of us who suffer with anxiety it seems that we can be afraid of almost anything. Although I think each of us has certain things that trigger our anxiety. I know that some things that might disturb me might not be bothersome at all to someone else. I think each of us has to discover what are the things that set us off.

consistency
Over time with help we can learn management of our own triggers. The thing is we have to practice and keep up by exercising those tools frequently. If we think we can just use them when we are in a panic it won’t work. I think that is the hardest part. Reminding ourselves daily to meditate or pray or whatever it is that works for us to use it. Consistency is the answer.

No matter what we have to keep on going, keep on working, keep on hoping, and keep on living.

God’s creatures

butterfly-effectThis morning as I was driving out of my driveway I saw what looked like a small creature lying beside the drive. As I passed I could see it was a small, possibly baby, raccoon. It lifted its head and shook in fear as I went by. It was obviously hurt. I assume it was hit by a car. As I paused and watched it gave a last breath and was gone. Sitting for a moment to be sure he/she was gone and then went to my appointment.

This quick incident really bothered me. I felt so much empathy for the poor creature that tears were close. It had such a short life. I really saw it as one of God’s creatures and said a prayer for its passing. I saw the same imagery as with the dogs and pictured it moving over the rainbow bridge. I can’t help experiencing grief over any creature I see in pain. I wish I could have helped but there was nothing to be done. We will give him/her a decent burial.

Rainbow-Bridge-heaven

I can’t help but see all of creation being linked and the death of one creature, flower, tree, insect being part of the whole. I know I am epathic and can feel pain for the smallest thing but we all should feel that loss. It is what we have ignored for too long.

Go little raccoon, over the rainbow bridge and join those who have gone before you.