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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Closing the Gap

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I’m coming up on an anniversary.

It was a year ago that my husband died…pretty unexpectedly.

There is a long, strange story that led up to his passing and some trauma in finding that he had died…and then telling the family.

Initially, of course, after someone passes there are things that have to be done. Funeral arrangements, legal arrangements, family arrangements…all the arrangements that come at the end of human life. And all those things - the ceremonies and such that we go through are an important part of the process of saying goodbye…closure…healing…a benediction.

But then what?

It’s amazing to me how fast life goes on. Someone significant is no longer there but the sun rises and the sun sets, seasons change and work happens, holidays come, traditions are kept and the gap closes so quickly…almost like dropping a penny in a snow bank.

Except for the grief.

I’ve been thinking lately though that I’m almost grateful for grief. I’m happy for the chance to smile through tears when I hear a familiar phrase – a reminder of some private joke. I’m grateful for the bittersweet feelings when I hear a certain song. I’m glad for the flood of memories that come with certain mementoes.

Grief is the proof that someone was really there.


Corine said...

What a great realization you have of a much needed perspective! There are two sides to every coin, and it helps to thank God for the one, just so you can have the other too.

Thanks for posting; and I hope you have many more sweet memories to come.

Richard & Natalie said...

What a beautifully honest post. A great reminder that even things we deem negative like grief have a flip side. Thanks for sharing.

PMC said...

I really appreciate this post as well. To be able to write this is an amazing thing.

jayniemoon said...

I am so sorry I never even knew this had happened to you. I am very sorry you had to lose him. Thanks for sharing it so nicely.

LauraB said...

Your simple words spoke beautifully to the aching blend of loss and fullness that a loved one leaves behind. Thank you for sharing.

Teachinfourth said...

The grief is a reminder to us of what they mean to us still.

Thanks for posting this, Mel.

Mel said...

Thanks for the comments everyone... I appreciate the solidarity. I read a quote the other day that kind of goes along with this I think.

"There is something pleasurable in calm
remembrance of a past sorrow."

I hadn't thought about it as a pleasure, but I remain grateful for the memories anyway,
Thanks again.

Farscaper said...

Wow... what a neat perspective!

I just lost my dad July 27th. I still haven't sorted out all my emotions yet. I'll be fine most of the time... then I'll see something or my husband will say something that will remind me of dad. Then I'm reminded that I won't see him this Thanksgiving... Christmas.... etc

I've broken down into raging tears on several occasions wondering if I will ever just remember him without all the emotion.

I loved what you said: "Grief is the proof that someone was really there."

We saw my dad's death coming like a screaming freight train for several months before it happened (pancreatic cancer). It doesn't stop the brick wall from falling on my head when it happened. I was on my way out the door to grab some groceries at Walmart when I finally got "the call" from mom. I still had to go to the store (had to get out of the house). While walking around I was screaming in my mind. I wondered who around me was going through what I was at that moment. Most likely no one. I thought my head was going to explode.

I can't wait for my thoughts to all be calm and happy.

mywest said...

Thanks, its been 3 months since my sweetheart was taken home. I remember telling her it will be just a short time until we are together again. Not a day goes bye without crying, so if Grief is the proof she was here, she was bigger than life.

Gerb said...

Beautiful post, Melanie. Your last sentence says it all for me - I am sometimes afraid I will no longer ache when thinking of my dad and that somehow the absence of grief will mean I am not honoring his memory. Your wording was perfect - Grief IS the proof that someone was really there. It is also proof to me that he is still here in many ways - and the small remembrances of his life are what bring me a potion of sadness, but also a portion of melancholy happiness.

Anonymous said...

Mel, I must say you have finally become very real to me, tangible. I don'd know why mourning, grief and suffering makes me want to know a person the most but the fact stands. God must feel that same way too. Anyway, I literally had not thought about your take on why one can be happy about the grieving process. That was so astute. So something I can wrap my thoughts around. I lost my 2 lifelong friends, the two people who know my history best in this year and though I have grieved I have been happy in a quiet way that I could not explain to anyone. You put it in words. I thank you so much. I hope you don't mind that I want to share that last paragraph of your thoughts with a friend and neighbor of mine that is mourning as we speak. I don't know if it will help her, none of us do but have heard a lot of things to say to people that I would reject. Your quiet words of real experience I would like to take to her.

A Lark said...

Thanks for the reminder. That's a great way to look at grief. And my thoughts & heart are with you.

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