This post has no image or pictures to go with it. Think of it as more of a journal entry than anything else. Don’t Remind Me.
Yesterday was the 13th of April. 4 months. The day started good, almost with me forgetting what the day was until I was reminded. The children and I completed 100% of our school stuff before noon. Then we went to the library. Then I was reminded – several times.
Here is the thing, I know some people mean well and I try to remember that but reminding my children or I every time you see us, talk to us, email us rips that scab off and sets back any forward momentum we’ve gained. Have we forgotten my husband, their dad? No! Can we forget that when we go home that he won’t be there after work? No! Can we forget that instead of baking him a cake on March 9th we now visit a cemetery, or as where we are at, a burial park (I guess it’s supposed to sound nicer than a cemetery). That every holiday will now be spent visiting said ‘burial park’ instead of waking in the morning to hugs and kisses we now will get to visit a cold stone and metal marker – all that is left of what Don was and not enough to shout to the world all that he was.
Here is the thing – we are trying to move forward – there is no moving past the grief – one simply doesn’t move past or move on or forget – you move forward. I take the children to their numerous activities. We’ve even added some like worship team where there is a practice once a week and early on Sunday mornings before service and 4-H. We are trying to get back into doing school on a regular basis. We are trying to move forward – but each time we are reminded of our loss, of our missing family member, it takes a moment…..
a moment to catch ourselves……
a moment to process that, again……
a moment to catch our breath……
I know some people DON’T know what to say to us but if you feel you must remind me of what we’ve lost then please, stop for a moment, and decide if what you’re about to say may rip the scab off. I don’t need the reminder each time I see you. I don’t need a reminder each time you email me. I don’t need a reminder each time you speak with me in person or on the phone. I can look across my bed and know that I’m alone, that Don is gone. I can hear the silent T.V. in the morning, where there would be news or a scary movie at night, and know that I’m alone, that Don is gone. I can look into the kitchen in the evening where he’d often cook dinner for us, and know that I’m alone, and I myself must make dinner because he is gone.
I’m not saying don’t ask how we are doing. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t talk about Don or ask us about him – we enjoy talking and telling others about him, it may brings tears (grief is messy) but it may bring smiles too. What I’m asking is don’t say things, like “you’ve lost the love of your life” or “your children are still mourning their father”. Yes and Yes. We know that and we don’t need reminded. As we try to move forward with our new normal, which we’re still figuring out, believe me we don’t need reminded of Don being gone – I know it and remember it every Tuesday evening when I drop my girls off for dance class at 4:30 and my son has to be in another city at 5:30 for karate and my girls must stay at the dance studio until I get them around 7. When Don was here I’d take the girls and pick them up at 5:30 return home and start dinner so at 7 when hubby and son returned from karate we could eat. Now dinner isn’t until 7:30 or 8 at night.
You see, I can’t every forget that Don is gone – because that reminder is EVERYWHERE, it’s there when I think to call him because I need help in figuring up what 30% off of something is, or when I run the children to their activities, or when I slide our food stamp card through the check out line, or when I receive that survivor benefit at the beginning of every month in my bank account. That reminder is there when the girls have a father/daughter dance and Grandpa has to take one or both. It’s there when they have something special like a dance program, an awards thing like a new belt in karate, a piano recital – he isn’t there.
One more thing – don’t use the ‘D’ word. There may come a time when I can say it. I know I can say that my Grandparents have all died. However, to say it about my husband, I can’t. While everyone is different and to some the ‘D’ word is just that, a word. For me it carries a finality, a coldness that doesn’t seem right for Don’s memory. In the case of my Grandparents they’ve been gone years and I know that when they first passed I couldn’t say die about them either. I prefer to say Don is gone, or he has passed or he simply went to sleep (as that is how he looked that morning, like he simply went to sleep and never woke up).
Again, I’m not saying this to offend anyone or point fingers at anyone who has been there for us but honestly, I felt it need said – keeping quiet only keeps the waves of pain coming and so if you see us, ask us how we are but please don’t throw in how you know we’re mourning my husband, their dad. Just simply ask how we’re doing. That’s enough. We know you’re interested. We know you care. However, please be aware that you may ask and it may be a raw, messy, bad day and if you ask I might tell you – so also be aware of that. Of course, you may ask on a good day, don’t assume we’ve ‘moved on’ because we are smiling or that we’ve forgotten because we are laughing. Just don’t remind us because we live reminders each and every day every time we wake, as we go about our day and as we go to sleep, we are reminded.
(c) 2015, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws