I don't write that much about grief anymore. Maybe that's natural, as it's been 7 and a half long years since Ken died. The little kids I was left to raise alone are teenagers now. Really good teenagers. My son is taller than me and moving up to high school and my daughter will be a senior in high school next year. Life has gone on down the road and the time when I couldn't even imagine how I could possibly ever be happy again is firmly rooted in the past.
Still, there are little prompts to grief from time to time, only now they are like little invisible, internal winces. Springtime, for one. Ken died in January and that year in 2006 when the warm air started enveloping Chicago and people were giddy with springtime happiness, and everything was turning green, I was turning green with envy at everyone who had their simple happiness, like an intact family on a warm spring day. For me, spring had become cruel and mean. I felt alone, not giddy. So when spring comes around, I remember that sadness and I feel some of it, wincingly.
The pivotal events in our (Ken's and my) children's lives (and for many us raising kids, so many of their pivotal events are ours as well) are just mine. I can't look over at Ken knowingly or squeeze his hand with our shared pride. I guess I'm used to that. I've been a single parent for a long time. Some of those big events are on the horizon now. Soon there will be graduations, college decisions, and big next steps for children who have left and are leaving childhood. I would never have envisioned myself as a single parent, but I am, and I'm proud of myself for managing it and for the closeness I share with my children. We did not let death tarnish our family life.
I no longer believe in a sorrow-free life.
I no longer take for granted times that are smooth. When everyone is healthy in body, mind and spirit, life is at its best. And I notice that and I appreciate that.
And now, when spring comes along and I feel that little wince, I also feel so grateful to see and feel another spring. It is a happy, giddy time here in northern climes and I am in it and I feel the warmth and I welcome the new life from wherever it pops.
- Jill Schacter
- My wonderful husband died when I was 44 years old. Being widowed this young happens to less than 3% of married people. Writing through this loss one word at time helps me understand what I've lost and helps me continue to grow. It is how I have gradually recovered from such a severe loss. Research shows that you can benefit from taking just 15 minutes a day to write out your deepest feelings as a way of healing. On the right side of this blog, you'll see a tag for Exercises to Try. If you need some help knowing how to use writing to help heal yourself, I suggest you start there.