Tag Archives: coping

Appreciating Kindness

A recent study, done before this pandemic by Amerispeak and WebMD, found that “57% of Americans are grieving the loss of someone close to them over the last three years.” I am one of those people. What I have learned about grieving people is that we all handle our personal grief so very differently.

I am the griever who acted on ridding herself of ‘his’ belongings, not the memories, the things. It was and continues to be my way of coping. The process began about three years, ago. In phases from what I deemed less significant to most meaningful, I began the removal. I have written more extensively about it [here]. I strategically found people, family members first, who I knew would appreciate the item as well as hold dear the memory of my late husband. The process of exchanges went smoothly with the what-you-might-expect niceties. 

This purging of ‘things’ due to grief however, has morphed itself into the consideration of other house items, now moving into the furniture category and the realization that when a family changes due to life circumstances, the items in a home do not change. So, I’ve been asking myself, “Are these items relevant to me now? Are they blocking future endeavors? Controlling me in any way?” 

I seem to always answer with the need to purge. So, now to be intentional and purposeful about my life, the giving away has continued. Photographing the ‘thing’, advertising its availability on a social media site, it being picked up. The receiver and I barely exchanging a word, no history shared of the piece, the deed happening in my driveway. Done. It is amazing how easy this process has become and how much I am enjoying the light and space that is left behind but, sadly, have come to accept the lack of any emotion with the new owner. 

Until the dining room table. A hieroglyphics of our lives. The first major piece of furniture late hubby and I purchased together for the house. Memories of the high chair, the traumatic moment of a food allergy, homework view point arguments, meal time candle burning, Thanksgiving dinners, birthday parties, social gatherings. 40 years of gathering and living. I had a replacement in mind, moving another smaller table into its space from another room. I pondered for a long time and came to the same decision, the large stately table needed a new home. 

I thought of the other things that were given away. This was clearly more difficult. More personal with our family history literally etched into it. I imagined it leaving me in the same way. On the other hand, did I want a table to hold me back from making my current living space more conducive for me now? 

As is the routine, I took photos, prepared it for its re-homing, and posted its most flattering pics on social media. The first response came within the first hour. Oh, I thought, here we go. 

But, this exchange was very different. I noticed the careful attention to the way my family heirloom was packed into their vehicle. Tenderness that I might be losing a great friend via commentary was felt. Those nicks? “A little Pledge Restore and Shine won’t hurt,” he said. A personal story or two shared. A gift bag given for the exchange of kindness. Words of gratitude and appreciation were said and felt. 

But, what inspired this writing and the memory I will keep is the message just received, and a day after. “I will treasure the table and create new memories with gatherings of friends and family. Thank you so much.” 

Peeling Back the Layers

This is on the topic of life after the loss of a loved one.  Not the emotional impact nor the significant life change but more-so on the items that were labeled ‘his’ that were left behind.  What I call the layers of physical reminders in and around the house.  Loss is a tricky thing and we all cope differently.  I am speaking of how I handled his ‘comforts of joy’ that I no longer desired to have around. Where to begin?  How to deal?  Well, I did what I do best.  I organized them. I organized in groupings, like layers, from easiest to most difficult in their significance to our relationship meaning the easiest to the most difficult in coping with each of his things.

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Reflections

Sometimes you cheat on your own website. My View, a column in the Buffalo News offers a place for writers to express their own personal thoughts on a topic of your choosing. There are some guidelines (of course) which can easily be found online. Today, I was published.  Some of you have been asking how I’ve been since my great loss(es) of 2017 and here I try (within the word count allowed) to express where I am today.

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Reader-Inspired

“I decided to take the time this evening to see why your blogs seemed to stop. I enjoyed them so very much. I sent you a note for information on the Tom Scott piece and you kindly answered so knitting that now. I have been taking care of things here as my 30-ish son had a heart transplant and thus lives here now with me forever. I have not had time for much else. I am heart broken because I now know why you have not done your fine blog now.I am so very sorry for your loss and hope you have managed to find a life without him.”

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The “Five Year Celebration” Project

I know.  You’re expecting some sort of fantastical  afgan, or yarn bombing of a city, or full blown suit knitted in fair isle with fingering weight yarn but you’re not going to see that with this post.

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