Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Days Go By...In A Daze of Grief

Middle Prong Trail - Great Smoky Mountain National Park
July 6, 2015
(all pictures in this post were taken yesterday on Middle Prong Trail)
There is no rhyme or reason to this thing called grief.  And certainly no way to prepare for it.  Bill and I tried to be present and helpful to those around us that were grieving.  We never tried to pretend that we knew how they felt or what they were experiencing because we didn’t.  Until 2010, we had never even suffered the death of a parent.  To say I was not ready is an understatement.  But then, are we ever ready?  I think not. 

I am closing in on 3 ½ months that Bill has been gone.  The ability to draw a deep breath is beginning to return, but the depth of emotion surrounding my moments just remains so tentative.  One moment, I feel strong and able to cope.  The next, I may very well be on the living room floor sobbing. 

I am becoming better able to contain my emotions in public places and have either learned which places to avoid or have come to terms with others and are able to go there, conduct my business and get out.  For example, I truly began to believe I was going to have to change grocery stores.  I spent HOURS scouring the aisles for things Bill might be able to eat plus our pharmacy is also located within the grocery store.  Just entering that store reduced me to tears and I can’t tell you how many times I simply had to turn around and walk out.  But it is a prototype store with all sorts of options that the others in our town don’t have and I was determined.  It was worth persevering and I finally conquered it.  I just know to stay away from the aisle where the Ramen Noodles are located.  Nasty, I know, but one of the few things he could eat consistently and probably the last year of his life, he ate at least one daily!  I could give other examples of places we go on a daily basis that we never think twice about until we associate it with grief or pain.

I want to continue sharing this journey of mine with you for this reason.  Do not feel sorry for me (although I’ll certainly take your warm thoughts and prayers), but use my words to help you walk with others through their own struggles.  Most of you are not physically able to put your arms around me and cry with me, but you CAN do that for people near you.  Pay attention every moment of every day.  Someone beside you in the grocery store may desperately need a smile or just eye contact that says, “I care.” 

Blogging came home to me once again in a very personal way today.  I don’t remember who found whom first, but I have been reading Tami’s Blog, Hiking To the Heights, for some time now.  She has been so kind to keep up with me even during those long periods I went without posting to the blog.  We knew we lived in the same general area near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  But get this…….through a picture I posted on Facebook, Tami put two and two together and we realized we live less than ½ mile from each other. 

We met yesterday for the first time and enjoyed a beautiful walk in the woods together.  She is well into a quest to complete all the trails in the park and her hiking ability right now is way out of my league, but that didn’t matter.  We sauntered up Middle Prong Trail and had a great time getting to know each other while gazing at the gorgeous water running wildly after the torrential rains we’ve been having.  As has been the case with each Blog friend I’ve met, the conversation flowed freely and comfortably.  I believe there is a friendship there that began when she reached out from the pages of her blog and said, “I care.”

One week ago, I spent a relaxing day on the back deck of another Blog friend, Betsy from Tennessee, whom I first met in person some time ago.  Betsy is retired, but spent many years ministering to people in a church setting and although she probably wouldn’t refer to herself as a “counselor,” her words and demeanor (not to mention her ability to allow me to shed copious amounts of tears) have been therapeutic.  Last week, I actually invited myself to spend the day with her which shows the level of comfort I feel.

Don’t ever imagine that friendships forged through blogging aren’t “real!” 


  1. I so enjoyed meeting you (in person) yesterday, although I feel like I've known you for years now. I'm glad you are able to blog again because I know what a healing process writing can be. Remember, too, that you don't have to "publish" every post. Some things can just be put on the electronic page just to ease your own soul. I have one blog that is totally private. No one will ever see the things I bleed out onto those pages. I did wonder yesterday if Middle Prong might be too painful for you, but you did great! You have so many wonderful memories in which you can take comfort. Hugs, my friend. I'm just a couple blocks away, so let me know when you need someone close by.

  2. How wonderful to meet up with a blog friend! I can't imagine the grief you've been going through, but know there are people out in blogland that care and are sending warm thoughts to you!

  3. Your pictures are beautiful. Your text breaks my heart and makes me afraid. I wish we were closer but am happy to hear that you have found some wonderful friends so nearby. I can see how important that is.

  4. My heart aches with yours. I can't imagine the pain of losing a spouse. I, too, was totally unprepared for a parent dying, which led me to GriefShare. 65MD and I facilitate those groups now from time to time. Knowing what I do from that process, it sounds like you are right on track in your grief. You have accepted that this is a part of life right now, but don't intend to let it dictate the rest of your life. That is huge in the process of grieving.
    Hugs to you.

  5. This is a beautiful, thoughtful, honest post. I believe writing will help you through the grief process.

  6. Dear Sharon, I think of you frequently, along with one or two other blogging friends who have recently lost their partners. It all means so much now that we've lost William, our son. We lost 3 of our elderly parents some years ago, but that was nothing compared to losing an adult child. I'll be one of those sending you 'warm thoughts and prayers', and I do take comfort in your own words.
    Betsy is one of the bloggers I look forward to reading every time and I read her Facebook posts. It begins to feel like I know her entire family! And we visited the Smokies 3 years ago, so I can relate at least a little. But I certainly know the grief you feel at the moment. It just comes in waves, but you know you have to carry on. I am so glad you've found Tami nearby, and hope you have others to give you collective hugs as you move forward. I do hope you'll continue sharing your journey. I posted a few things about William shortly after he died, and have been back to other regular posts. I find both the writing and the photography help me enormously, as does reading the blogs I follow. It's encouraging to know other people who are working their way through the same difficult journey.

  7. How fun to meet a new blogger in person! I clicked over to Tami's blog, and she had some encouraging words and great advice about hiking on bad knees! I am going to keep that in mind. I think she mentioned it, not you, but I love your idea of hiking all the waterfall trails. I LOVE waterfalls!

  8. How good Tami figured out you live near each other and you two could meet in person and also for you to spend time with another blog friend, Betsy. You are brave to blog and to keep on keepin' on, bless your heart.

  9. Hi, Sharon. I haven't caught one of your posts since the Dec 9th one, so have been unaware of what has happened.. Just the thought of what you have experienced overwhelms my heart. I have written and deleted several sentences here. Words simply fail me. Know that I
    care and am praying for you. Continue to give yourself time, letting Jesus carry you. Such devastation shreds a heart and takes time to heal.

    I sincerely speak grace and peace to you in the Name of the One who holds you, our Lord, Jesus Christ. He is able...and i know you know that.


  10. I am so glad you are able to get out on a hiking trail again and have the support of such wonderful kind and caring people. Those are the kind of people who are drawn to you Sharon. I am sure they value your friendship as much as you do theirs. Sending you hugs and prayers.

  11. Sharon, you are exactly where you should be at 3 months. One day at a time. It's funny, the grocery was and is one of the most difficult places for me to go alone after I lost my husband. Like you, there are just some places I avoid because it's still just too upsetting. You will get your direction back, because you are smart enough to face these obstacles and figure a way through

  12. I know I consider you a real friend and hope I meet more wonderful folks like you over the years. No time limit or right way to grieve, he will be with you everywhere you go the rest of your life and that is a good thing.

  13. Hi Sharon,
    Very happy to see that you went on a hike in your beloved mountains. A little respite for you. So glad to see that you are blogging a bit. I can not imagine how hard it is to go about your daily activities, even with such a great support system around you with friends and family. I just want to continue to reach out to you and let you know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. Michele