Friday, January 8, 2010

Slow and Steady

It amazed me how life continued to move forward all around me even though the bottom of my world had fallen out from under me! Leaving the hospital, I noticed that everyone around me seemed to be engaged in the mundane realities of their world. How could they be going on their merry way when my treasured dad had just died?? I felt physically and emotionally drained, as though I was draped with the weight of grief and loss. Viewing life through that veil of sadness made everything around me seem surreal. Seeing his obituary in the paper was like getting a slug in my gut! There it was--a photo I had taken of him just a year earlier, now published with his obituary...surreal I tell you, surreal!

Moving forward was a slow process, but I found returning to my daily routine was one way of easing the bottomless taste of loss. I was also gifted with a simple way to honor my dad: a wind chime. He and I shared a love of them, and years earlier I'd purchased a beautifully-tuned one in Door County for him to hang on his patio. On the day of his funeral I stood alone on that patio whispering a gentle prayer of good-bye, when suddenly the wind chime rang. With no hint of breeze in the heat of that August air, this totally shocked me, momentarily taking my breath away, but leaving in its place a sweeping sense of peace. I felt like I had been in communication with Dad! Imagine my joy when a few days later at Wild Birds Unlimited I spotted a miniature replica of that exact wind chime! I purchased it, took it home to hang from a cupboard handle in our kitchen. Opening that door and hearing the soft ring of the chime provided a tangible remembrance of my love for him, and each time I would gently say, "Hi Popsi." It was a tender yet profound way of helping me heal in my grieving process.

With our home selling so quickly, we needed to move out two months before our new home was completed. That would have been a major nightmare if it hadn't been for Mom's generous offer to have us stay in the condo with her. This meant we would be with her for the first Thanksgiving and Christmas since Dad's death. Even though her three bedroom condo was busting at the seams with the addition of us and our two dog entourage, we shared a special holiday season filled with an abundance of emotional release and support...quite beautiful and exactly what I needed on my road to living with the loss of a deeply loved man.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my, Laura. Your telling of your feelings when your father died brought back memories of my mother's death the Christmas season of 1989. I remember exactly what I was doing the evening when the call came that she had passed away - baking Christmas cookies. At that time my parents lived in Scottsdale, AZ, and I lived in Michigan, so it was a long and difficult flight to be with my dad and meet my sister there. I remember sitting in that plane with all the happiness of people going home for the holidays surrounding me and just wanting to stand up in the middle of it all and yell, "What's wrong with all of you!! Don't you know my mother just died!!" Not being greeted by my mother at the airport was a real setback, and I just wanted to turn around and go back home. A neighbor picked me up and took me to my parents' home and thankfully my sister had arrived shortly before I did. Our time there had some tedious and sad times, but also some happy moments. However, my flight home was a nightmare, being delayed and then cancelled, requiring me to return to my parents empty house, as my father had flown home with my sister for the holidays, and making my return to MI late on Christmas Eve. The gamut of emotions that I experienced during that entire holiday season was phenomenal, and then to top it off, my husband's mother died, lacking one day of being exactly one month after my mother.