I saw her necklace from across the room; the silver, heart-shaped pendant had a large picture on it–much bigger than you’d see in a locket. I walked closer so that I could make out the picture. It was worn by a frail, elderly woman, considerably thin, neatly dressed although her clothes looked too big for her frame. I introduced myself and told her I had admired her necklace from across the room. She brought her hand up to it and held it out.
“It’s a picture of me and my husband,” she said. “I lost him earlier this year. Wearing this makes me feel close to him.”
When I asked her how long she and her husband had been married, she told me they’d been married 71 years.
“I was 15 and he was 21 and about to leave for the service,” she said.
One thing we can be sure of in life is that if you haven’t experienced circumstances that knock you off balance, hold on, it’s only a matter of time.
My husband’s death changed my family’s life as quickly as flipping a light switch. On many days since, I’ve wanted to bury my head under the covers and never come out. But I learned something through counseling and my graduate work that has piqued my interest in people’s approaches to stress and crisis. How a family or individual perceives a stressor can have an effect on the impact of the stress. Continue reading
About a decade or so ago I started keeping a gratitude journal after author Sarah Ban Breathnach introduced many of us to the concept of listing on paper the day’s blessings. This was a way to hold focus on the goodness in our lives–the things that bring a sense of relevance and peace.
This practice is one that is helping to guide me through the murky waters of grief since losing my husband. As the shock wore off, I loosely set a goal to write at least one thing at the end of the day and I’m certain it is one of the buoys that has kept me afloat. It has been the reminder to look for something, anything, that is positive, that feeds me, that keeps my mind from getting stuck in the pain and fear that comes with losing a love. Some of the notes in the early weeks following his death were as simple as: I’m grateful for potato soup, the beautiful vegetables at the farmers market, work to do. Continue reading