Sep 20 1:50pm – Three months. 90 days. It was summer – now it’s fall. School was out – now it’s in. Cherries were in – now it’s apples. Nights in the 80’s – now in the 40’s. Two cars – now one. Lots of medical appointments – now very few. Weekly trips to the market – now one a month. Lots of phone calls – very few phone calls. Lots of boxes on the porch from Amazon – none for several months. Air conditioning on – now windows and doors open. July 4 – Labor Day. Seating for two – seating for one.
I’ve been told that I need to write – to you, my friends – A Grief Letter. I’m told it’s meant to “ease the stress of the situation”. So here it is. And I think it does.
A GRIEF LETTER
I experienced the loss of my wife and friend three months ago. I feel very sad about it. I still can’t believe it happened. You’ve been sincerely asking me, “How are you doing?” I’ve been answering, “Okay”. But from now on, I’m going to answer, “I’m okay, but I’m sad.” One day, I believe, I won’t be sad anymore. And I’m not sad all of the time even now. But mostly – I’m sad. So, and for the coming weeks and months, I want you to know that I am okay, but I’m pretty sad about all of this.
And the sadness has temporarily changed who I am. I will be noticeably different for awhile, I think. You may notice that I can’t make decisions as fast, respond as fast, I’m pretty clumsy and forgetful, and I’m not much of a conversationalist. I like your company but I am not yet hitting on all cylinders so I don’t have much to say. I don’t laugh as much, dine out as much, or generally think fun things are as fun as they maybe once were. I will get better over time, but right now, I am having to take some time to get through this.
I am always around – you can contact me my phone, email, or text. But I’m simply not as physically available as maybe I was before. But don’t worry too much – I’m quite intentionally just getting through the day. One thing at a time. One event at a time. One emotion at a time. This, as you might understand, is taking a lot of my energy and thought.
If I tear up in front of you, don’t worry. It will pass. Be gentle and don’t feel like you have to say something or do something. Just know that I have been ambushed again by my emotions and thoughts and that I will breathe slowly and get through it in a few minutes. Don’t panic – it’s okay.
And if I turn you down for dinner or a movie or something else, don’t take it personally. You asking me is worth so much to me – thank you very much. But I find that being busy sometimes with you is little more than applying a band-aid on top of a very bad wound – when the band-aid comes off a few hours later the pain still is there and it throbs. It isn’t your fault – it is simply something that I must deal with. Sometimes it is easier to avoid the contact. Do you understand? But keep asking, please. I can’t tell you now what kind of mood I will be in later.
I also know that some of you wonder when I will “get over it – get on with life”. I understand your thinking – I’ve thought that, too, about others who have experienced loss. What I know now, though, is that this journey – yes, journey – is something that takes time and patience. Fact is, I’m not now sure even what it is that I am supposed to get on with – I have to work out every little detail and decision all over again. So while I appreciate your sentiment – I know you aren’t being harsh or mean – I am also understanding and being advised that I need to take my time. One step at a time. I will try to stay out of your way.
Here is what you can do for me. I’ll be succinct.
1. Be patient with me.
2. Find some time to grieve with me. It will help me and you.
3. I know you have life issues right now. So do I.
4. There aren’t words that can make this easier – time and patience is our friend.
5. Keep living. I’m participating as best I can – I’m just not as fast as you.
6. Don’t fear my personal moments of sadness. It will pass.
7. Don’t get discouraged with me.
8. Don’t be afraid of me.
9. It’s okay to talk about Regina. I like it.
10. Understand that I am okay – just sad. But I’ll get better.
Your kindness, graciousness, and understanding has been exceptional. Thanks.
As I consider this hour when – three months ago – Zak, Nick, Laurie, Lilly, and I let Regina go from our world, I’m still profoundly thankful for the peace and understanding that God bestowed on me and many of you during an extremely difficult time.
As I write this in tears, I can completely and clearly see Regina in her last moments before we let her go – battle worn and very tired and noticeably bloody and looking very unlike the Regina that we knew and loved.
But in the quiet moments after we let her go, she was set free to fly to a place of greater peace, health, love, and comfort than any of us can begin to imagine. Good for her.
In time, you and I will get better – like Regina. But right now, it hurts really bad.