Monday Musings about Memorials and Memories…

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Yesterday my two boys and I, along with DDIL and JP, attended a memorial service at the chapel in the hospital where my husband passed away in early December.  It was small and informal with what looked to be about five families attending.  Apparently the hospital chaplains and grief counselors hold these quarterly services to celebrate the lives of people who died at the hospital or in hospice.

Chaplain Kim had lost an older sister when she was 17 and her family had few coping skills to deal with their grief, let alone the ability to teach their children how to handle their feelings.  The grief counselor lost her husband to a brain aneurysm many years ago when she was a 28-year-old mother of a three-year old daughter.  He lingered in a coma for nearly a month.  It was obvious that these events shaped their lives and career choices.

One woman who attended lost her 22-year-old son, father of three little ones, to a heroin overdose in December.  Another family lost their elderly father after a grueling hospice stay.

We had the chance to light a candle for our loved one and pick a stone from a bowl of lovely choices to keep with us as a tangible reminder of the love we had shared.  I chose one that is a bluish gray and reminded me of my husband’s eyes.  I think I will put it by his picture on my nightstand so it’s the last thing I see before turning out the light.

I was too emotional to speak to the group, but if I’d been able, I would have told them that Paul was my soul mate, a great father and papa and a wonderful husband.  He was a self made man from rural Tennessee who put himself through school on the GI Bill and became an electronic engineer.  He told me he’d known since he was a small child what he wanted to do for a living.  He found the whole process so fascinating when his family’s first little house finally got electricity that he had to understand how it worked.  And he eventually did!

What I gleaned from the memorial service were mostly things I already knew.  Any feelings you are experiencing about grief are normal and okay.  There is shock, denial, anger, bargaining and finally acceptance.  There can be a need to be alone or a need to share.  Self-care and socialization are important, but we all move at our own speed.  I feel like I’m somewhere  in the “fake it till you make it” phase.  I have moved on from shock and denial and am able to get through the days.

I’m packing up the house to sell but it’s not a hasty decision.  We had planned to move this year anyway, but instead of finding a new place right away, youngest and I will move in with JP’s family for a while.  My house is too big and holds too many memories.

And that’s as far as I’ve gotten.   I’m kind of day by day right now in the healing process.

27 responses

  1. The service sounds lovely Dee and you are doing magnificently. Fake it till you make it is fine for now! I love the idea of the stone. I have stones in lots of jacket and coat pockets, they are comforting in all sorts of ways.
    Hugs to you. x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Peter. I never have carried a stone before. I can see comfort in the color and smooth feel of the stone. And a constant, tangible reminder of Paul.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Good for you Dee. Participating, appreciating, remembering, keeping the good things close, and doing what feels good in your heart.
    God Bless You and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Wendy. I definitely prefer to share than keep to myself!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know what is right, but doing it is hard. I tend to stay by myself, and I need to do a better job of getting out and connecting.

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  3. I could feel your empathy for other grieving people as you describe their loss. You are being very wise on you grief walk. God be with you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Omega. Hope all is well with you

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  4. Oh D, I think the stone will bring you comfort and you may not even know it. How blessed you all were to have such a wonderful man in your lives. Much love, dear friend. ❤️🤗

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, D. You know, we had our ups and downs like any couple but we had the same values in life. I miss him everyday but I know that I have to keep busy and move forward and find my purpose in life again!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You will, I have no doubt. ❤️

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  5. Thank you for sharing where you are in your grieving process. 💜 You probably feel like you are stumbling through the darkness, but you are shedding a light for others. It seems that you are doing what you can as you can rather than reacting reflexively. I hope the sale of your house goes smoothly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Linda! Keeping busy is helping me as I move forward.

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  6. The move will be a big step in the healing process. Daily reminders of him will be painful and draw out the mourning process. And don’t be afraid to mourn as long as you need to. Every does it at their own pace.

    One other thing, isn’t it amazing the job these Chaplains do. Thery deal with death and dying all the time. Such a selfless and depressing job they do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think so, too. And, yes, it takes special people to work in those fields of hospitals and hospice. It would be hard to stay positive for me!

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  7. You’re doing just fine, Dee. One step at a time. I think being with your family is a nice interim move, too. JP will bring you a lot of light and joy. The memorial service sounds like a lovely healing experience. Your husband was a wonderful and remarkable man. ❤️

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  8. In Greece we say, May you always remember him 🌹🌹🌹

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Big steps, my friend, and you’re the woman to make them all great.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Right back at ya 💚

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I am so sorry for your loss. Somehow, I missed the posts and therefore the news. Brave of you to write about it, and so encouraging for others suffering the same. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My mom moved fairly soon after my dad passed away, I think about six months. We all thought it was too soon, but she knew best. It turned out the best for her, and it will be for you too. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks, Christi. It’s hard to know what’s the right thing to do, but I think I’m ready to move.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Thanks, I appreciate your comments. Sometimes I mean to write something else but the words won’t come!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You write with authenticity – that’s what counts and inspires the rest of us.

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  11. Praying for you in the next part of your life’s journey.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Mitch. It’s an adjustment for sure.

      Liked by 1 person

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