Sunday, October 14, 2007

Reneé, This Is For You

My first husband, Dale, died at age 39 on May 4, 1988. It will soon be 20 years since that terrible event that changed the course of my life.

On a Saturday morning in May 1989, one of my sisters-in-law called to talk. In the course of conversation she unwittingly said, “I suppose you are pretty much over it [Dale’s death] now.” I was stunned and mumbled some answer and our conversation soon ended. No, I was not “over it.”

On June 29, 1996, I married Bob, a widower. We are thankful and blessed to have another special love relationship. No one was more surprised than I. We are happy and enjoy each other very much. Even so, a week does not go by without some mention of Dale or Dee or both. We are not over our losses. It is hard to explain.

Here is an illustration that works for me. Suppose someone had their arm amputated. Suppose she got a prosthesis that looked good. Suppose she became efficient at using that arm. Perhaps she became an accomplished pianist, artist, or basketball player. Would we ask that person, “Are you over it?”- meaning the loss of her arm. A prosthesis is bothersome. It needs to be taken care of differently than an arm. Sometimes the stump gets irritated. A spouse that dies leaves a wound with scars. Even after time, we still miss that part of us that died. We don’t fully recover, ever. Yes, we have happy days and joy in our life again but in some part of us, we still feel the loss.

I will tell of two recent experiences of grief for my first husband. Last month we attended a Beatles concert at Ravinia. We were there with three other couples. As the songs began (i.e. I Want To Hold Your Hand) I started feeling sad, even a little angry. I wanted Dale. He was the person that I shared memories with of those songs. That blue feeling lasted a few days before I was able to shed it.

My son, Andy became father to his second son, Jacob, born on September 16th. What a privilege it was for me to go to Andy and Amy’s home and help for eleven days following the birth. I thought of Dale often while with them in North Carolina. I got a lump in my throat as I watched how much Ryan (Jacob’s big brother) loves Grandpa Dale’s toy tractors. I remember when our sons were young, Dale and I would go and admire them often after they fell asleep at night. We would commend each other on how cute, how sweet, and how precious they were. It was such fun and sweet camaraderie to love them together. At Andy and Amy’s home, I could not help but get a few tears at night as I held that dear baby, Jacob—wishing so much to be able to share with Dale.

So Reneé, this is for you. You ask, “Will my crying ever stop? Will I ever get over this? Will I ever be happy again?” Your tears will almost dry up. No, you will never get over it. Yes, you will have happy days again. Blessings, my friend.


The Bolt Family said...

Brenda-- this is a very moving post, your blog is an excellent read. I emailed it to Dawn as soon as I found it. She admires your wisdom that is beyond your years. Thanks for the kind words about our blog.....About the webstats, I saw that I had 8 referrals from your blog, that is how I found you. It is just from people clicking on the link( for the Bolt blog) that you put on your blog. You can put the webstats reader on yours also. I use Google Analytics. All you do is paste the code into your blog and then it keeps track of visitors, referrals, search words visitors use from search engines, etc. (lots of geek stuff.)

miruspeg said...

Hello again Brenda!
You expressed your feelings beautifully in this post....I was very moved by them.
I think of the people I have lost as not dead.....they are just living in my head.

Take care