Monday, September 29, 2008

Advice from my wife

I thought I'd quote some more advice from my wife (her name is Winifred and she goes by Win).

Dear [name redacted]: I remember feeling like I could no longer stand to breath any more. I went into my room, and laid down on the bed. I just wanted to give up and die. I couldn't quit breathing. My body just kept taking the next breath. After a while, I looked around and noticed the dust on the dresser. I decided to get up and dust the dresser while I tried to figure out how to quit breathing.

I think grief is like that. You take a breath at a time, focusing on nothing else but how much you resent the fact that your own body keeps breathing. Eventually, you will find purpose again. Dusting a dresser, caring for a demanding child, paying a bill, are all activities that force us to become distracted from our grief. It is so hard to try to see those things as significant. They are significant .. especially the other people.

I used to ask myself: How would I treat my daughters if they were suddenly alive again? How would I show my love and gratitude for such a gift from God? Then I would make myself treat my living children, my husband, and my other relatives THAT way. That was hard to do. At first my actions were empty of feeling, eventually, the feelings returned. It took years.

The reality is that they could be taken from me at any time. We ALL die. Everyone of us. The only question is when and what relationships do we leave behind us. You want to be the kind of mother to your daughters that they will remember in love and kindness. They will give you grandsons and granddaughters, they will raise those children in the fashion in which they were taught. What lessons are you teaching them?

I don't of myself as being a strong person. I think I was so stupid that I didn't know when to quit. I just kept moving ... I didn't know how to stop. Now I look back and I see that I faked life emotionally. Eventually, I was able to integrate my emotions with my actions. Mostly. some I am still working on.

Grief is so hard. By kind to yourself, and then share the kindness.

There is a song line "You're everything I hoped for, You're everything I need" that replays itself to me as "more than I hoped for, better than I dreamed" when I think of my wife.