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!”