|Someone painted this smiley face on a cut tree by the side of our road. I thought it might make you smile today.|
That's a good way to start. It kind of settled my brain a bit. I was having a few moments of wishful thinking about things that I cannot do or have or change, and I needed to remember just how much I have already...and to be thankful.
This past week was a little bit stressful in some ways. Still dealing with the loss of my son almost two months ago. Can't believe it has been that long already. My thoughts this week have been that it seems as though when a person dies, people just stop talking about him all of a sudden. As if he never existed. It's almost like people are afraid to mention his name for fear it might cause sorrow or sadness. I find myself looking at his pictures
|Matthew, me, and his son Noah, October 2013 in Maine|
No, I'm not going crazy. Just dealing with grief. One sweet lady who happened to stop by my office this week asked me how I was doing, and she actually acted like she was interested in knowing the answer, and so I told her how I was feeling and about some of the things I was dealing with and wondering what to do about. She responded with some excellent words of counsel and advice, and took a few extra moments to listen and express her very positive and caring thoughts. I can tell you that those five minutes of conversation did me a world of good. It was wonderful to be able to talk to someone about my son and not feel like they were shying away and afraid to listen.
My father used to say that when he died we would all look through his things and wonder why he kept this or that, or what he was going to do with such and such, and find out more about the things he loved and dreamed about. I am sorry to say that we were in such a hurry to clean out his house and get it sold and the property divided appropriately among the heirs that there was little time to sort through his personal papers and things that he saved...and except for the more obvious items like furniture, antiques, tools, and other things of "value", a lot of other stuff just simply went away. The people who were in charge of the estate sale sold off the remaining piles of leftover items, books, papers, to the "pickers" who bought everything that was left in one lot and cleaned out the house and hauled a lot of stuff to the dump. I've often wondered what "treasures" my father was talking about that may have disappeared in that deal...and I guess we'll never know. It grieves me that we didn't have the time or take the time to sit down and read the things he had saved or written. We might have learned a lot from them.
However, then I pause to remember that the most important "treasures" he left us cannot be held in our hands. They are the memories of the wonderful things we did together as a family...the lessons he taught us and lived before us every day. It is the same with our son Matthew. We have such treasures in our hearts of the memories of the life he lived and the things he believed and lived; the way he raised his own son, who is quickly becoming a fine young man with the qualities and values he learned from his father.
|My grandson Noah helping his uncle build a memorial arbor in the garden created in his father's memory.|
|Job well done...as you can tell by the smiles and the sweat!|
I look at all the "stuff" I have in my home, and think about the things I have written and tucked away in secret drawers and boxes that hopefully my family will find when I am gone and not let it get away, but then again, it is the life that I have lived before them and the things of the heart and spirit that I have hopefully taught them that will be lasting memories. If my life hasn't been a true picture of the things that are important to me, then it really won't matter what they read later. My life needs to measure up to the values espoused in my writing, or the writing isn't true anyway.
Okay, this "mish-mash" of thoughts needs to get summed up and finished. To be honest, there was a lot more "stuff" going on in my mind than I wrote here on this page. But these were apparently the more prevalent thoughts. It is good to get this off my chest.
- When someone has lost a loved one, let them talk about that person. They may need to talk.
- Don't think the grieving person doesn't want to hear their loved one's name or see his picture, or know that other people remember him too. It helps them to know that the departed one is not forgotten.
- Do go out of your way to let the grieving person know that you do care and that you are available to listen.
- Find creative ways to help the grieving person to remember their loved one...in happy, pleasant ways.
- It is okay to laugh and smile and think of funny things about the deceased. We all want to be remembered with happy thoughts.
- Make every minute count when you are with your loved ones...don't put off telling them that you love them, cherish them, and that you care about the things that are important to them.