I’m glad that in life we don’t have to make mistakes to learn from them. We can learn from other people’s mistakes too. That is why today I reached out to a man whose wife had died last August and took him out to lunch for Thanksgiving day. I thought, just because no one did that for me when I was sitting at home in tears and desperation, doesn’t mean that I should do that to Dennis.
So we went to Cracker Barrel for lunch. It was busy and crowded which was a good thing. I wanted it to be distracting for my friend. I wanted him to be someplace where people are happy and living life. We had a good talk, had good food, and it cost me a few dollars, which was a small price to pay to help a struggling grief-stricken friend.
It is amazing how we can help someone if only we will take our eyes off of ourselves.
Remember the old Skeeter Davis song The End Of The World? I heard it tonight and with my experience in grief it hit me in a very different way than when Sylvia Dee and Arthur Kent wrote it. I want to share most of the lyrics, leaving out the last line of each verse. We who have grieved have not just lost a love, we lost a part of ourselves.
Why does the sun go on shining? Why does the sea rush to shore? Don’t they know, it’s the end of the world?
Why do the birds go on singing? Why do the stars glow above? Don’t they know, it’s the end of the world?
I wake up every morning and I wonder, why everything’s the same as it was.
I can’t understand, no I can’t understand, how life goes on the way it does.
Why does my heart go on beating? Why do these eyes of mine cry? Don’t they know, it’s the end of the world? It ended when you said goodbye.
Grieving is the end of your world. It’s the end of the world that was. But it is the beginning of a world that is yet to be discovered.
As I talked about my holiday plans with my friends I was a little surprised by their responses. What seemed perfectly normal to me struck them as weird or strange. I had to put my foot down more than once to tell people to back off and to remind them that I am not stupid and that I know what I’m doing.
What I’m doing though is different than anything I have ever done. Yes Christmas at my daughter’s house will be pretty traditional, but not for me since I have no idea what my children have developed as traditions since they made their own families. But I am looking forward to being with them, which I have never done before.
I have written many times on how grieving changes us. But we don’t always realize how much we have changed until our new lives collide with old traditions.
So I will see how this all works out. A very non-traditional Thanksgiving and then flying to spend Christmas with all of my children and grandchildren. And taking unpaid time off from work to do it all without getting into financial trouble. I can’t wait.
As the holidays come rushing in I decided that this year I am going to be proactive. I hate waiting until the last minute for someone to invite me over for dinner. So I decided to make plans so that when someone asks me if I have plans I can look them in the eye and say, Of course I have plans. I have been planning this since September!
What are my plans? Thanksgiving day I plan to take myself out to eat at a restaurant that serves traditional Thanksgiving dinner. I invited my friend to join me but even if he can’t make it I will go eat by myself. then if someone invites me I may take them up on it for desert later. And for Christmas I am flying to my daughter’s home in Texas to spend a week with my family. Children, grandchildren. So that will be a ton of fun.
So there. Oh, the day after Thanksgiving I am going on a scenic train ride. I am going alone, but I will not be alone on the train.
So take that self pity and worry. I’m too busy to be bothered by you.
I still think that it is odd how some people who have a blog do it to make money. Like getting published or something. I don’t do that. I write because I love to write. If someone reads this or even likes this I am glad. But I am not selling anything or promoting anything or trying to get you to go somewhere else that will benefit me.
So welcome if you just want to read someone elses thoughts. Sorry, just words here. No pictures, no prizes, no products, just my words.
So I went to the Greifshare group as I had planned. It was good to see the two leaders again. The video was excellent, the ideas were sound, and I may never go back to a grief support group again.
I have been feeling great and feeling happy and content with my life post marriage. My wife died in 2014. But in the atmosphere of the grief support group I felt the heaviness and the fear creeping over me again. This was strange since I have not felt that in a long time.
Grieving is the way we say goodbye to someone we loved deeply. It is not a place to live forever, or a place to visit to remember how hard it was. We grieve, we move through it, and we emerge on the other side changed but whole. Grieving is the time where the deep wounds of lost love get healed. We no more need to revisit our grief than we need to visit the emergency room where our life was saved.
This attitude may change in my mind as time goes on. So much about me has changed that nothing will surprise me anymore. But for now I choose to live, and to be happy, and to move on in my life. I am grateful for the help I received through the Griefshare program. I recommend it to and Christian person struggling with grief. And I will remember, but probably not return, to Griefshare.
I am going to attend the Griefshare Surviving the Holidays session this morning. I haven’t thought about grief in a long time, so these feeling today are strange. Because a lot of things have changed in my life in the past almost 4 years since Kathy died.
First, I am not married anymore. Death did us part. I don’t act or think or feel like a married man anymore. That phase of my life is over. I am glad I was married, but I am not married anymore.
Second, I am not grieving anymore. Grief was an awful and miserable time to go through. If you are grieving, I am so sorry for your loss. But the worst of that time is over for me. I am not sad or angry or depressed or crazy. I have survived and I am slowly learning to walk again in this new phase of my life.
I am content with the though of being single. I don’t need a woman to make me happy. I am trying new things and doing new things, and I am not listening to the voices in my head telling me what I should do or what I ought to do. I am a new man, and I like who I am.
Sometimes you don’t realize what you have gone through until you have something to compare it to. For me, while I knew that grieving the death of my wife was hard and intense, I had nothing to compare it to.
One issue I had to overcome was going to funerals. I did not want to go no matter who it was. But finally I did overcome that fear. And that’s when I began to realize that my sadness for the death of a friend was nothing compared to the grief I had for Kathy. I was sad at the funeral, but once I left I was fine again.
I don’t want to compare my grief to yours. But comparing my experiences made me understand just how deep and hard and long my grieving lasted. It has been over three years now and while I am over the worst of it I still have things that come up that I am fearful of doing or even talking about.
The sadness over someone else’s loss is so small and easy and short-lived as to be nothing to me. This allows me to see others more clearly, without the fog of my own despair clouding my view. I think this is progress.
Hi. First of all, I am so grateful to be over the worst of my grief journey. I am grateful to be heading into the busy holiday season without fear or dread or feeling like I want to run away and hide. Halloween is almost over and I am fine. For Thanksgiving day if I get an invite I will go but if not it’s Cracker Barrell for me. The on Friday I am treating myself to a ride on the Verde Canyon Railway out of Clarkdale, Arizona. And for Christmas I am flying to Texas to spend a week with my children and grandchildren. This will be the first big holiday season I have enjoyed free from fear and loneliness since Kathy died in 2014.
We were taught in our Griefshare program the value of self-care. Taking care of yourself is not selfish, it is smart. Those around you want you to be the same as you used to be and to get over the sadness. Even those who love you won’t always know what is best for you. But you do.
If you are sad and lonely this holiday season, well, it won’t last forever. Make time for yourself. Do not be afraid to say no. Celebrate or don’t as you are able. And come January 1st it will be all over.
The last time I went to visit my family was just after Kathy died. I had the money and decided I needed a break. I spent a week with my daughter in 2014. It was an awful time in my life and the whole trip is kind of a blur.
This Christmas I am going to spend with my daughter’s family again. But this time everything is better. I am happy, and not burdened by grief. I have money so it is not a financial burden. And I am looking forward to taking a real vacation for the first time since Kathy died in 2014.
I bought my plane tickets today. the rest is just small details. But I am so looking forward to this trip. To Texas, since you asked.