Grief of One Year and Grief in the World

Still life of fruit separated on a table just as we have to be separated by 6 feet in the world
Still Life: Social Distancing

Today, at 9:02 PM, unbelievably, it will be one year since my husband died. I dreaded this day coming.  Another “first.”  But it seems a bit trivial to feel sorry for myself in the light of all the grief in the world.  Great loss makes us more open to others’ pain.    I resonate with the grief in my extended family for the loss of a daughter/mother, wife, sister to colon cancer last week.  Today I resonate with the grief in the world of 48,290 families – that’s the coronavirus death count as I write this.    If each person who died had 10 people mourning them that’s 480,000 people, most of whom never were able to say goodbye or even be with their loved one as they passed from this world.

A year seems so long.  Without him.  I still feel married.  Still wear my ring,  His picture sits in front of me and his smile still makes me smile.  Yet so much has changed.   In my life.  In the world.

I miss holding hands.  I miss hugs.   I miss his jokes, and his calmness.  I miss his acceptance and his optimism.  I miss Larry!

For a roof inspection last week (too complicated to explain here) I had to read through  my journals from three years ago.    It made me realize just how incredibly hard things were for both of us.  I had forgotten???  What I read made me so much more compassionate for how much healing I’ve had to do.  Still have to do.  More compassionate for how little I’ve done to move on this year.   You can’t expect to accomplish much from yourself when you are grieving.

And now the world is grieving.  Grieving deaths and grieving lost freedoms.  Grieving loss of work and loss of income. Grieving normal rhythms and activities.  Grieving that fragile and unrealistic sense of predictability that our “normal” lives give us.

I had to  learn how to live with uncertainty.  I had to learn to stay in the present.  I had to learn to live alone.  I had to learn how to be intentionally social when I need to, and how to wrap myself in a cocoon when that seemed right.   I had to learn how to let the darkest moments of grief  wash over and through me, and also to let them go and get on with it. These are all skills that serve me well in this time of coronavirus.

I had originally thought I’d commemorate this day by flying to Maine and visiting his gravesite.  Nope.  Then I thought maybe I’d gather some friends to talk about him.   Not in these days of social distancing, and so much grief in the world.

Tonight, I’ll light a candle at 9:02, for all our losses.  If you knew him, maybe you will to.

Otherwise, I won’t do much of anything special today.  After all.  This isn’t an ending.

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