Friday, June 11, 2010

A Lesson In Loss

A few folks have looked at the Wordle I posted when I returned from my long absence and said they would love to hear more about some of those words. And I’ll certainly share on several of them. For my own benefit, I’ll probably spend more time on the happier words than the sad words. But I’m gonna start with the sad ones – especially since they contributed to my long absence from blogging.

Some of those words in there – funeral, mother-in-law, estate, and cancer – all relate to the loss of several family members over the past 30 months.

Our first loss was our niece who died in a tragic accident in December 2007.

We really had not recovered from that loss when my mom passed away in February 2008. I never wrote so much about her death, but I did share some of what we dealt with after the fact both here and here.

Just two months after my mom’s death, my favorite aunt passed away. One more emotional blow when we were still struggling with our recent losses.

Throughout all of this time, my mother-in-law battled leukemia. After a long struggle, she finally passed away this past October.

All of these required our family to pack up and travel all around the country for funerals. We all became too good at putting on our “funeral clothes” doing the meet-and-greet at viewings and meals hosted by friends and churches, and serving as pall bearers to loved ones. These are skills at which no one should have to become very adept.

Aside from those skills, we learned other things. We learned to enjoy our family more. We learned to seize the day – go out, have fun, travel – not just worry about saving money for the future. The future is just too uncertain.

During that time of grieving, regrouping, learning…I stopped writing. It just mental energy to write that I just didn’t have at the time. I know, if you’ve read my writing, you think not a whole lot of mental energy could be going into that! But it was more creative energy than I could muster.

Instead, I spent time with family. I read a lot. We talked about our future and what we really wanted. We regrouped. We traveled. We ate out more. We started to have fun and embrace life in ways we never had before. Not that we did “new” stuff…we just did “more” stuff. A lot more.

That’s not to say we don’t still grieve. Some of it still feels too recent to let go. But losing people you love can really open your eyes to those you love that are still with you. Making the most of the time together is a critical thing to do.

We’ve worked hard to learn that lesson.


Tanya @ TeenAutism said...

I'm so sorry for the losses you've experienced. And I completely understand about the mental energy required to write. Sometimes it takes all you've got to heal. I hope that continues for you and your family.

secret agent woman said...

I understand that. When my brother died, it made us all put a little more effort into family.

Cocotte said...

I'm sorry to hear of your losses and I hope the coming year has much less pain.

Star said...

I am sorry for all of your loss. But glad that you found something positive to take from it.