The Day You Really Left

5 11 2011

When you left, my world stopped.  I was surprised when the rest of the world didn’t follow suit.

When you left, nature blessed me for a while: with numbness.  The trees looked different, the air felt wrong, but again, nature blessed me for a while: with friends and family who held me up.

I was paralyzed at first. I didn’t sleep, I didn’t eat, but people kept bringing me casseroles (bless their hearts), so most of the casseroles went uneaten.

It seemed I spent more time and effort comforting others, than they, me. They said: You’ll get closure, time will heal, in time the pain will go away.  They meant to comfort me, but I could tell they struggled for their words.   I smiled brittle smiles, returned brittle hugs, and did my best to be a good host. 

Their words were wrong.  There is no closure.  And only partial healing.  In time, I just learned to live with the pain differently.  I learned to cope with the pain, better.  The pain became only a dull, aching background noise.  The pain became a reminder that love never really dies.  The pain reminded me, many years later, that I’d had the courage to love, lose, then love again.

The most difficult task after you left, was giving away your things.  I buried you with your wedding ring on, because I wanted something of me to always be with you.  I slowly went through your bureau drawers, your closet, your side of the bathroom cabinet, your jewelry, your toolboxes and other garage stuff.  I smelled your cologne and your clothes.  I didn’t know it then, but I was beginning to heal.  Grief knows no time limit, no “normal” time frame, no “normal” process.   It takes as long as it takes.  Gradually, in my own time, I was able to give away or donate most, except the most sentimental reminders of “us”.

The hardest thing to give away, for some odd reason, was your boots.  They represented everywhere you went, every step you took, everywhere you’d been on this earth.  It took five years to give away your boots.  But I did.  Finally, I did. 

The day I gave away your boots was a good day, though bittersweet.  On that day, I released you to the gentle care of the universe.  The day I gave away your boots, that was the day you really left.

©Janet Mitchell, November, 2011. 

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10 responses

21 12 2011
Megavideo Online

Great website you have, Ill definitely come back to check up on more of your posts.

11 12 2011
judithhb

Hello Janet. Thank you for this post. And I know the pain of losing someone you love. We had been married 41 years and as I say I grew up with my husband. Sometime after his death I trained as a life coach and many of my clients came to talk to somebody who knew how hard it is to lose your soul mate. I wrote a little book that I gave to clients and friends who subsequently lost their spouses. This was a great help to me in the grieving process. I self published it and mean to go back some time and flesh it out – maybe when i get a ’round toit’.

12 12 2011
cuhome

Good for you for doing what you did with your loss ~ using it to help others. There’s never closure or complete healing, we just learn to cope in a better way. Love is worth the loss, though.

6 11 2011
jannatwrites

This post was amazing. The words touched me, I could relate to the awkwardness of not having the right words of comfort to say.

I pictured my grandma in your position. She dealt with the grief as best she could (Alzheimer’s didn’t help with that.) She was never the same, and never healed to the point of getting rid of his shoes.

I’m glad you were able to come through your grief and write this beautiful piece about it.

6 11 2011
cuhome

Thank you so much, Janna, for taking the time to read and comment on this blog. I write these because I think much of what I say is pretty universal, and it helps people feel more “okay”…. but, you know, grief never really leaves, which I think is good (as long as it doesn’t stop you) ~~ grief is a reminder that you once loved, and that is an acceptable price to pay for having had the blessing of love. ♥♥ Janet

6 11 2011
sufilight

This is very touching and sad. As you share of your journey through grief you help others.

6 11 2011
cuhome

Thank you. We must have the courage to share those painful lessons we learn in life, otherwise we deprive others of the learning experience, too. It helps people feel connected when we share. Sharing pain/embarrassment/mistakes can help others to not have to repeat those things, or to have the benefit of some ideas about how to deal with issues. It takes courage to share, and it’s selfish not to. ♥ Thank you so much for your loyal following. I read your blogs regularly, and I so look forward to your book!! Maybe one of these times, I’ll get my book written about hospice stories ~~ vignettes (privacy protected) about patients I’ve had and what amazing things I’ve learned from them. They gave me more than I ever gave them, I assure you of that. Janet

6 11 2011
sufilight

Janet, vignettes would be great! I had intended originally to publish a more in depth book with long spiritual essays and was going to title it “Dance with Truth”, but decided to change format and publish instead “Beyond Inspiration” which is lighter to read and more of a companion book of affirmative prayers and short spiritual musings. Easier to read and gets the message across of the sacred nature of life. I still have chapters from the original book saved for future use.

I think vignettes of what you experience is a gift to the world. The reason I say this is we all have something to share, and this is one of your gifts as not everyone is a hospice nurse who can write.

When you are ready and if you need tips on how to publish, who to contact for editing, etc.. just email me. :)

6 11 2011
cuhome

Thank you soooo much for the offers of help! I’ll probably take you up on it at some point in the next 6-12 months! I have so much gratitude for what you’ve already given me, probably without knowing it!!!! ☺♥

26 01 2014
Justus

Arlcites like this make life so much simpler.

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