Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Fuzzy and grey grief package

Tomorrow it will be 2 weeks since my father in law died.  I was there when he died, and was the last one in the hospital room with his still body.  We had a well attended visitation.  Jim stood up at the funeral mass and delivered a eulogy from his heart.  We've eaten the casseroles, opened sympathy cards, watered plants delivered to the funeral home, addressed thank you cards, and have visited his grave on the way to the nature center.

But still, it's almost impossible to me that he's gone.

We are adjusting to a new normal.  Jim doesn't have daily hospital visits now.  We don't hope for him to get better anymore.  Henry and Willa are learning to talk about just "grandma's house" now.  I have taken over the care of the 5 potted geraniums that he brought in and hung up in the enclosed porch.  Every winter he did this, and I was always so grateful to pass the giant fuzzy green leaves and inhale the scent before going out in the cold and snow.

I am finding that I have no idea how to support my husband through this.  Grief comes in so many different packages.  His looks and feels very different than my own.  I am sure we're all doing the best we can.

The kids are doing... okay.  Where my grief package is fuzzy and grey, Henry's is several very small colorful dots of grief that get delivered at curious times.  One of his fish died this week.  He suggested to Jim that Grandpa T. might have a pet dead fish now.  Willa's grief package is hard.  Hard and hidden, but behind her eyes, and available... sometimes.  I feel aches when I think about how little they will remember about him.  We're making memory books.

It's an adjustment, and it takes time.  We're less stunned now, and more sad that we won't have more time with him.  The support we've had from our friends and family has been wonderful.  I never really understood the phrase "lifting you up" until we really needed to be lifted.  It feels like our bones have been compressed from the weight of losing him, from figuring out the logistics of making  good on promises to him as he left.  It's strange to have Jim's mom and siblings thank me for doing things that help us at this time.  As though he weren't part of my family, or I part of his. 

She will have her needs met, she will not shrink from the loneliness.  We will do our best.

We are doing out best.


Anonymous said...

Wishing PEACE to the Hearts and Minds of those that the complex and internal maze of emotions the finality of death has affected. Know all will work through this with the comfort and love of each other, in their own unique way.

Suzanne said...

My grandmother died in a somewhat similar way (aneurysm that seemed to be under control, followed by some unexpected complications). I was 9 and my brother was 4. My grief took such a long time to fully process. It was a difficult thing to understand, but not. When you posted about funeral clothes for Willa - my heart broke experiencing a very vivid memory from that time. Thinking of you, and your kids especially as they try to process so great a loss.

Anonymous said...

I was just curious if you had a recent blog post. this hit me hard today. Life goes on without our loved ones, but sometimes the loss is near and fierce at unexpected times. Thanks for putting this in your book of memories. -ME