Saturday, May 28, 2011
Thursday, May 19, 2011
If I were not a widow, I would have no idea what a person like myself would need or want or be experiencing. Seems a shame to make it to the other side of loving, caring for, and saying goodbye to your ill spouse and not share the nuggets of knowledge gained from such a thing. So it is with that heart that I include this list. If it helps you or someone you know, please accept it with love, deep compassion, and humility.
I. Actual grieving people do not resemble in ANY way movie grieving people. Ok, so I bear more than a striking resemblance to Catherine Zeta-Jones. I can't help that. I mean that my process, your process, his process does not make sense. It is not timely, efficient, orderly or pretty to look at. It is what it is. And it is that way for a reason. I don't know what the reason is. Maybe at the end I will but right now I just want coffee.
II. Do not give up on those who are grieving. After two years of countless unreturned phone calls, I have friends who will not give up. They are angels and dogged in their efforts of reaching out. Make clear you have no expectation of reciprocation - you are just trying to love on us. God shows his grace to us through others who are obedient. You are serving Him.
III. Apologies to Ms. Kubler-Ross, but sorting through a joined life, lost love, dashed hope, does not occur in a linear fashion. There are no boxes to be checked off so that the next step can be conquered. The grieving person is at the mercy of her own psyche. There is big work going on in my brain that I cannot fathom. Some days I resemble an inconsolable, screaming 3 year old (ahem), while others I am magnanimous and charitable and long-suffering. And then sometimes all of it happens in the span of twenty minutes.
IV. A widow or widower is now responsible for EVERYTHING. Finances, car maintenance, meal-planning, vacation planning, appliance repair, spiritual growth of yourself and kids, etc. Widows need people to occasionally descend on their houses to repair the whatever and carry the thingamajig. Widowers I would imagine need someone to clean bathrooms or the refrigerator, bring a Crockpot over and show them how to use it. The point is that the grieving person now has to outsource the practical duties of the missing spouse. This takes a BIG dose of humility. And coffee.
V. We are not fragile. Far, far from it. Ask us about our grief process. Ask us how it's different than we thought it would be. Ask us about the ways our spouse loved us, irritated us, sharpened us. Ask us if we're eating right, sleeping enough, whether we need more coffee, are we coping inappropriately. Do not avoid topics for fear of making us sad. We are already sad and it's not going away anytime soon. At least we can talk about it with you.VI. We are just as confused by our actions and tendencies as you are. In fact, you may have a better idea of what we need, because we have been reduced to hoping for our own survival. Just start rattling off jobs you can do to see which one sticks. We are in a fog that will not abate. That is God's design so that our brains handle only what they are capable of in that moment.
Friday, May 6, 2011
The love of a child is a wonderful thing,
Mary Ellen Wymore