Grief support groups, condolence advice, funeral etiquette and more
A continutaion of the "When a Spouse or Partner Dies" thread.
Latest Conversations: on Monday
This might be a rough time for many of you. Do what you feel you need to do to get through it. Remember, someone is here almost all the time to talk to you.
Started by Bonny Jones. Last reply by Bonny Jones Jan 22.
Started by Tim's Mom, Vickie. Last reply by Bonny Jones Jan 16.
Started by Susan. Last reply by Marsha H Sep 2, 2018.
That was beautiful Chuck, as your writings always are. There are so many times I wish I could hear Rich's voice, "one more time", or to "tell me again" how much he loved me. We never ended a day or started a day without an I Love You. It has been 6-1/2 years since his voice was silenced and how I wish I had "one more time"...... Thank you Chuck!
Sorry for the clumsy dividing of the story in two parts mid-sentence!
TELL ME AGAIN
As you watch the still-bare trees go by through the car window the sun feels warm and relaxing on your face. Early spring can be a beautiful time when the weather is good. You wish you would be home this weekend cleaning up the yard and washing windows – doing all the things you most enjoy doing outdoors after such a cold winter. Suddenly you are snapped back from your reverie by his voice from the driver’s seat asking “What are you thinking? You need to keep a watch for our exit number because with this traffic I want to be in the right lane. I hate all these trucks – they block my view of the road signs!” “I think our exit is after this one coming up. I was just wishing we could use this weekend to work around the place at home. Tell me again why we’re doing this. I mean, it’s not like we have a good time or anything – mostly we end up working in the kitchen with the guys all weekend. We could stay home and do that!” He sighs and says it’s a bit late for this – we’re half-way there, and it was you who accepted anyway, so don’t complain to him. Besides, Jeff would be very disappointed if you didn’t go, and would probably hold it over your head for years to come. He’s right of course - Jeff looks forward to this visit every year, as do you. Even with all the work and drama, which varies from year to year depending on the invited guests, it gives you two a chance to really catch up on how life is with you both. The late night deep talks over the glass of wine when you can each open your souls and experience that uncommon bond you’ve shared since your teens are almost more a holy tradition than the Passover Seder you are travelling to attend. Your respective partners head off to bed leaving you sitting in the kitchen, the stacks of washed dishes drying on towels scattered on every available surface to be put away in the morning. You and Jeff look at each other every year and say “Well, here we are again.” Then he snaps his fingers with both hands and the years vanish like magic. Over fifty years ago, when you couldn’t stop crying over the fact that he was moving so far away and you would hardly see each other, Jeff said that we were always going to be in each other’s lives, and when we were together it would seem like the time apart was just a second – a snap of the finger. Now he does this each time you find yourselves alone together wherever you are, however happy or sad the occasion. You take the exit for the diner you have visited every year for lunch and see the familiar sign welcoming you to the Lenox Diner. Small, casual, populated always by locals and travelers alike, this has become a favorite place to rest and enjoy their excellent food. When asked where you’re heading, you say to visit friends for a special celebration. You both joke about how you will each gain 5 pounds this weekend from the constant eating, but it’s what people do for holidays. Jeff’s celebration of Passover is so very important to him – having no Jewish friends nor family around, his Seder table is made up of coworkers, neighbors, his partner’s always- bickering family, and those old friends who can travel for the weekend. You wonder what chores will greet you upon arrival – ironing tablecloths and peeling potatoes were last years jobs. There are always details Jeff has left to the last minute, and it’s
comforting that he relies on you both to help without feeling like he’s imposing. After all, you really are more family than some of your relations by blood. Back on the road, you start remembering the arguments that erupted at last year’s dinner, people growing more confrontational with each glass of wine. One guest had to sleep on the sofa rather than drive home, another broke Jeff’s best serving platter while trying to wash it. The tension was palpable during the last part of the ceremony, poor Jeff was trying desperately to diffuse the situation with jokes. You both were aggravated at the way some guests treated you like the help, asking you to get them more wine and to take their plates. It would be nice to visit for a weekend without having to spend time dealing with all these people and the drama they seem to create each year. Once again you say “I hope things are calmer this year. Tell me again - why are we doing this?” Without missing a beat he says “Because Jeff is one of your oldest and best friends, and you love him.” You ponder this for a moment, then reply that he is right. Then you ask him why he is doing this. This time he pauses for a moment, then quietly says “Because you are my best friend, and I love you. I love travelling with you and watching you and Jeff together.” This simple declaration, said without effort or pretense, startles you to tears, and when you try to talk he hears the emotion in your voice. You then say “Do something for me – don’t ever stop telling me that, because I can get through anything, and put up with anything, so long as I know that you love me.”Now four years have passed since losing him. Jeff is again planning his Seder, but you won’t be there this year. In one week it will be the fourth anniversary of his passing, and a feeling that’s become all-too familiar is coursing through your blood. Nervousness, apprehension, confusion, and a unique pervasive melancholy you only discovered after losing him. The littlest things can bring tears to your eyes, or make you completely lose yourself in some memory of a place – a conversation – his voice. If only you could hear that beautiful voice once more, saying the things that always made it easier for you to get through the toughest of situations. If only he could tell you again…
Forgive my using a blanket post to reply to everyone - thank you to you all who commented on the plaque. I didn't say so before, but somehow on the day last fall when I was sent the photo via email of it in place and told by the memorial company that it was finished, I felt the strangest feeling of losing Larry all over again. Somehow it made everything so final - there was nothing left for me to do for him.
Sara and Marsha, I am posting this story that I just wrote last night especially for you and everyone who have always said they enjoy my writing. I haven't written for some time, so this feels like a reawakening of sorts. Love to everybody, and Todd, it really is good to hear from you again as Marsha says. Also, Mary Jane, I want to write at another time, hopefully soon, about your plans for Bob's ashes. Everyone be well, and love to you all - Chuck
Chuck ... As always your posts are so interesting (get writing a book please) and the plaque is lovely. I have Ernie's ashes in a beautiful mahogany box and his wishes were to have them strewn in the Pitt River (he was a genuine Huckleberry Finn when younger) along with my ashes.
I will be emailing you and so sorry I haven't kept in touch, but so much going on and most of it isn't good. Hugs Steve for me big brother!
Love & Hugs
Hi Todd ... So wonderful to see your post. Like others when I don't see them post although I miss them I'm hoping and praying they are at peace and making a good life for themselves. Great you are still around or we'd sure miss you!
...I actually cried when I saw the picture of the plaque. Chuck, It is beautiful. Sadly, Bob’s ashes are still in the container the funeral home put them in, and that is inside a fabric bag, with a pattern of cool paint splatters...(we saw it at a store,, and it looked just like a pattern on a pallet, like he used to create when he did his paintings.)
It sits on a small table next to the chair I always sit in....and seeing Chucks wonderful tribute made me feel sad that I haven’t done anything for him yet. He wanted his ashes scattered over an area on the California Coast, that is an ancient Olohne Indian shell mound, that we used to visit..amazingly it was undesturbed for centuries...we used to collect artifacts..and the area is right next to a nude beach..but when we first found it..there were THOUSANDS of ancient tools...so many we were STUNNED they were left intact..but we left them alone, too. There was a “feeling” there, that to take anything from that area was just WRONG...it is one of the. Oldest sights in California...the Olone tribes lived there thousands of years ago...and I think others who came upon it must have felt the same way.
Bob wrote in his will, that his ashes be scattered there, but THANKFULLY, he learned b4 he died, the state of CA had purchased the land, and are making a state park out of it, and it will be preserved forever. We were so happy that some developer or horrible careless people would desecrate it...but I am still going to scatter his ashes on the beach, in a cove next to it..but the older I get, the harder it will be, as it is a hefty trek from the road to the beach...so he will just have to wait another year until Melinda and I can get there. Meanwhile, I find his ashes next to me very comforting. I talk to them sometimes...sorry this post is so long.
Hi Sara! Hi Chuck! Hi Marsha! Still here and hope you are all well. Blessings to all
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