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Do Not Cry on the Baby's Burp Rag

Do Not Cry on the Baby’s Burp Rag

My son was only three months old when his daddy died. Although he was too young to understand death, babies do absorb the stress and anxiety in the people around them.

What if I allowed my own grief to be a burden on my son? What if he confused my look of sadness for disappointment? I repeated over and over to myself: Do not cry on the baby’s burp rag. You will just make him upset. Just wait until he’s napping.

When Good Memories Bring Pain

The following was written on June 10, 2007, 15 months after I became a widow:

I had trouble sleeping last night because I was thinking about Jason.

I imagine us at Santee playing rummy on the porch. I can feel the moment so clearly, but peace is dashed away when reality reminds me- he isn’t here.

How easily people die. They leave a hole in your heart, and the hole is directly proportional to how much love and dependence you had for that person.

The more you love them, the more desolate and deprived and hopeless you feel if they are snatched away.

Isn’t it sad that we are here on earth enjoying our time together, but after our loved ones are gone, the memories bring pain?

It should not be this way, but everything connected to Jason makes me want to cry.

Widows, Separate Your Grief From Your Children

Our son was only three months old when Jason died, so young that I couldn’t talk to him about his dad yet.

Maybe that’s why it was hard for me to dissociate Caleb from Jason. It was hard for me to see him as being separate and distinct from his dad.

I worried that I could lose our baby too. The moment could be snatched away and turned into a memory just like Jason.

I was helping Caleb learn to crawl, and I praised him with my high, excited, “mommy voice” when he scooted forward for his toy.

My next action was involuntary. I glanced behind me with a huge smile, like I was looking up at Jason to see the pride in his eyes.

Nope, nothing but the pool table in my parents’ living room was standing over my shoulder. The disappointment was so strong that it felt like a slap in the face.

I want to share Caleb’s milestones with Jason, but he isn’t here.

I had to consciously separate my grief from the situation. My baby cannot carry the burden of heartache that I feel in missing his father.

I Will Always Cheer Him On

A child’s smile is the reflection of a mother's love Widow Repair

 

Thankfully, I recognized the harm of projecting sadness on my baby son. I was healing. It’s evident in what I wrote later in 2007:

“My grim mood changes to playful happiness around Caleb. He is a rambunctious, giggling, squealing, hat-wearing, charming and heart-stealing little sprite. He makes my heart swell and my anger dissipate.”

I still know that Caleb or my mom or dad or brother could go at any time. I am well aware of these “risks” of tying my life up into other people, but I don’t withhold joy anymore in an attempt to protect myself.

Caleb looked at me for encouragement while learning to do cartwheels at his grandparents’ house this winter. He looked at me for reassurance when he learned to swim. A child’s smile in that moment is a reflection of his mother’s love.

 

Will I Always be Jealous of the Past Widow Repair

~Written March 19-20, 2007~

One Year a Widow

Over the past year, so many dreams brought Jason back to me, but they were like brief moments of joy, and they were not real- they could not last.

Jason died on a Monday, so it was almost a week before the funeral. I spent the time wandering in isolated confusion.

I considered each day in succession… it has been only one, two, three days since we last spoke. I was afraid to leave those days behind because the recent past would fade away forever.

Eventually, I wanted to leave the sickening manifestations of single loneliness far behind me. I wanted the months to count down as fast as possible so I could run away from March the 20th and never live in that hopeless state again.

It’s inevitable- time has been passing, but there is no magic date when a widow can leave grief behind.

Jealous of the Past

The day just turned over as I type, and I have a bad feeling. I don’t want to cry, but the weight of the anniversary is very heavy.

The past year has been a sequence of attempts to distract myself from all that I cherished in my old life.

I focus on what we were doing, what we were saying to each other on this date last year. That day is now marked as the wire, that was the end.

I mentally return to the past because I expect myself to do it. I bring myself to the parallel of last year. My personal calendar has shifted- I have timed everything from what is no doubt the worst day in my life.

Will this year be any different? Can I come full circle? I am holding my breath now.

Will I be able to use the coming year to find new horizons, or will I always be jealous of the past?

The Widow in a Room Full of Married Couples

Remember when I was so assured of my love and my good choice in Jason? Remember when I pitied a friend and thought she should find a man to love her like Jason loves me? We were very much in love.

A week before Jason died, I think I had a premonition. We were at his cousin’s house, and I hugged Jason close, thinking that I would never take him for granted because you never know how long you have.

I watch my friends with their husbands, and I will them to appreciate each other.

I feel no obligation to “find someone new.” I don’t know if I will be able to welcome anyone in, even in the coming year. I can still lie back into grieving and expect no one to interfere.

This is not the conversation I want with myself. I didn’t want to ever date again. I had found my love, and I planned to be with him forever.

I want to go back. But that is impossible.

There is no magic fate when a widow can leave grief behind widow repair

Where Does Strength Come From?

Yes, and if your husband died, you would cope if you had to. There’s nothing brave about it. There’s no choice involved. -Holly

Quote from P.S. I Love You.

Today marks that I have lasted through a year. A year in which I fantasized about killing myself, but I could never go so far as to form a plot to carry out.

Love on this earth is expected to be perfect like the fairy tales, but real love can only be found in the perfectness of Christ.

I just pray that what I’m writing leads to some kind of reconciliation and maturity for my spirit.

Am I stronger- or let me rephrase that- am I closer, and therefore stronger through God? Because where else does strength come from? I’ll hold onto this and apply it and claim it.

 

 

I’ll Never Forget the Details

I’ve read that memories, even small details, are burned into a person’s mind after an emotional or traumatic event.

One year ago, Jason and I had candles all over the bedroom because we were going to make love. But he fell asleep with Caleb beside him.

I watched a movie and ate fruit and some of that honey mustard chicken he liked so much. Then I put Caleb in his bassinet and went to sleep beside Jason.

Jason woke up telling me that Caleb was stuck behind the door. I laughed and told him Caleb was in his bed. He insisted, “I’m telling you, Caleb is stuck behind the door.”

I thought, I’ll tell him about his strange dream tomorrow. But I never did.