Coping with Great Loss, Intentional Moves

I don’t know what the psychologists would say but I certainly know what my heart and mind are saying and I am listening.  Here is what has been going on with me.  Each of these moves are or has been intentional to help cope with the great losses I have experienced this horrific year.  Do not read into the order as truly many if not most of these things are happening simultaneously.

  1.  Adopted Lady.  By adopted, I really mean accepted her as my own.  I continue to grieve and have a good dose of guilt about Lizzie (please do not try to tell me otherwise) and continue to pray her new family loves her the way I did.   Articles on Health and Wellness always include how owning a pet aids to a person’s overall sense of well being.  
  2. Going out on a Monday night.  Now twice.  Much fun.  Enough said.

    Rochester Knitting Guild, gathering ideas
  3. Furniture give-away, furniture purchase.  Pieces I associated with bad memories have been thoughtfully given away which then changes their memory to the positive and those pieces have been replaced with new purchases.  Or, adding to existing collection(s).

    Added new pieces in hubby’s memory
  4. Removed doors, three of them last week in an effort to gain light and space within my living space.  Light and space gives me a sense of freedom and tranquility.

    glass door knob-8 paneled doors, on a pallet in the basement
  5. Repaired old favorite keepsakes.  Over time, things would need repair and get forgotten, at least in our household.  Ex.  When cleaning out the basement, I have found two such lamps and now, after repair, are fabulous keepsakes and reminders of our 35 years together and how/why/when these particular items came to us.
  6. Out of a massive collection of photos we have (we all have), I have framed and put out only a few around the house, but in prominent places. It really becomes the location of the photo, rather than the quantity (which I think can be annoying) that makes the statement. 
  7. Finding NEW activities with no associations to the past and for the purpose of meeting people.  Ex.  agility training with Lady (now into the 5th class) and joining a team constructing a new build for Habitat for Humanity (I am now the proud owner of steel-toe boots).
  8. Asking for and accepting help from neighbors.  Ex.  How to add water to the boiler, fire alarm issue, rules for garbage vs. trash in our Village
  9. Out of my control but very noticeable and appreciated is the continual support of family.  Ex.  daughter making short jaunts back home,  step-son sending texts,  sisters-in-law emails, flowers being sent from dear hubby’s family members (just received yesterday).  This continuation of including me into the family fold is imperative and what I am most Thankful for this season.
  10. Grief counseling/groups of all kinds.  Hospice follows up with the family 13 months after the death of the loved one.  I am taking advantage of this opportunity.  There are groups for specific loss as well as generic loss/relation.
  11. Crying.
  12. Accepting.
  13. Finding that sense of humor, again.

    teasing gullible daughter about some knitting needles
  14. Doctor’s appointments for wellness checks, prevention down the road.  They’re all lined up.
  15. Visiting loved one(s).  Well, I  visit my sister and Lizzie via photographs and I  visit my dear hubby.  It is currently helpful to face my reality and hoping in time will be a source of solace, maybe even contentment of sorts.  Once a best friend, always a best friend, perhaps?

And, writing!  Writing this list and thinking about my intentional moves these days is reflective in nature and is allowing me to ask myself, “Is what I am doing helpful to my overall happiness?”  And, I answer, what I am doing is, at least in the ball park of coping and healing and allowing me to find my way to a new normal and all that life, in the future, has to offer.

20 responses to “Coping with Great Loss, Intentional Moves”

  1. I am so sorry you had to go through so many trials this year, and my condolences for the loss of your dear husband. I cannot imagine what it must feels to lose your life’s companion, and it seems you are taking all the right steps to take care of yourself, going through grief and loss but not alone. I am glad to know you have a supporting network around you, and your friends in the blogosphere think about you too.
    Take care, Holly.


  2. Hello Holly,

    I admire your grit and determination to decide how to make forward progress in dealing with the cards which have been dealt to you. I empathize with how profound your loss is for you. You have been through a great deal and seem to be adjusting your circumstances to celebrate, to honour memories and to bring the light back into your life.


    • Thank you, Barbara. I think my main goal is to get back to happy. Most definitely I want to honor memories. They say it gets worse before it gets better. I hope soon. Have a wonderful holiday season.


  3. Holly, I know you only from Ravelry and this blog, but I have been thinking of you so often and sending my warm thoughts your way. This is an excellent list, and shows your thoughtful nature. And that’s the cutest china pattern in the history of china patterns. I will be thinking of you throughout the holidays.


    • Our beautiful hunt scene china was originally seen at a local horse show. We were very young and I immediately fell in love with it. Could only afford a few pieces. Then, more from Pitt Petri of Buffalo. A sister-in-law added having seen the pattern in Harrod’s in England. Most recently, an online site called Replacements, LTD. How thrilled was I to find. So nice to have it appreciated by another. Thanksgiving will be more difficult than Christmas because hubby was known for his turkey preparing skills and this was his favorite day of the year. I did not pay attention, but giving it a trial run. Chinese if all fails. Thank you for your kind words.


  4. Holly – you are doing all he right things – grief is a process and you should embrace it, not fight it. My aunt had lots and lots of pictures of my uncle all over her house. They reminded her of the good times and always made her smile, So go with the flow, cry when you have to; get angry anf then hug your dog. And stay in touch with your friends – old and new.



  5. Hilarious story about the knitting needles! How good it is to read what you’ve been doing. I really sympathise about Lizzie – you will never forget her, you had to make the best (and most painful) decision, and you have been able to open your heart to a new companion who must be so grateful for your love and attention. Your willingness to go forwards into this chapter of your life, that you’ve had no choice about beginning, is really inspiring. Well done for being so courageous and openhearted, Holly. (I still talk to my grandparents, gone these last nearly 30 years. I feel they are close to me.) Take care X


    • I like to hear that it’s not weird to talk to those we lost. There is a child buried very close to him and I have asked him if they’ve met. Seeing the fresh toys at the child’s site having died in the 1970’s makes me know loved ones do remain in the hearts of those still here. Hubby’s parents are but a stone’s throw away and I look forward to talking with all of them without such fresh pain.


  6. You have been in my thoughts so often over the past several months, Holly. Thanks for the update on you and what you have been up to recently. So glad to hear about the new ‘Lady’ in your life. Lady should be a comfort- – a warm, welcoming friend to greet you when returning home. Take care!



    • Lady has been a tremendous help even though she is a reminder of Lizzie. But, I’d rather love her than be without her. And, being adopted from my daughter adds a bit of sweetness to the situation. Thank you, Karen for your thoughts.


  7. oh, you are doing things so well – even when you feel you aren’t, that is part of the process. I LOVE that you found a new four legged friend. Of course you feel guilty about Lizzie, but at that time it was the best thing for her and for you. And now adopting Lady is the best thing for you and Lady. And going out and joining and doing things, I am not sure I would have your strength. You are an example and a source of comfort to others already, I can tell. And what kind of trick are you playing on your daughter with those tangled needles? :-)


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