I’m Definitely Stronger

There’s a common misconception about grief among those who have never experienced the loss of a close loved one.

It goes something like this:  The first few weeks, months and the first holidays celebrated without them are the hardest.  But once the bereaved make it through THOSE, things get EASIER.

I’m here to tell you that, at least for me, it’s just not true.

Read the rest here: Stronger

Birthdays Are…a Little Complicated

Today is my birthday.

And while I am truly grateful for another trip around the sun, since Dominic left us it’s not a simple celebration of life lived and the hope of years to come.

The last birthday I had with an unbroken family circle was a lovely surprise party for my fiftieth held in Dom’s apartment.

Eight years later and it seems a lifetime ago.

Read the rest here: Birthdays Are…Complicated

As If Time Was in Our Hands

Every spring and every fall we dutifully make the rounds to our clocks and digital devices, putting them first forward an hour and then back in an attempt to make the days “longer”.

As if time was in our hands.

The sun rises and sets according to the Creator’s schedule, we can neither speed the world’s turning, nor slow it down.

We can only choose whether to be present in the moments He grants us.

Read the rest here: Time Change

Even So, I Would Absolutely Still Choose You.

Some of us only felt tiny hands and feet pressing against the inside of our body.  

Some of us saw first steps or first grade. 

Some of us watched our child drive away to college certain it was the beginning of an adventure, not the beginning of the end.

Read the rest here: I’d Still Choose You

We Don’t Lose Them All at Once

I cannot speak for others but in my case, it seems that I did not lose Dominic all at once.

In fact, I’m still losing him.

Bit by bit, a little at a time, nearly molecule by molecule, his mark on my life, my walls, my world grows smaller.

Read the rest here: Bit By Bit: We Don’t Lose Them All at Once

Not As Good As I Once Was

When Dominic first ran ahead to Heaven I resisted having any kind of calendar visible. I didn’t want to mark time passing without him to pass it with me.

I’ve since resumed my yearly ritual of hanging the big blank picture calendar in my kitchen-the only way I really know how to keep up with doctor appointments, family visits, birthdays and other important dates in spite of technology.

I don’t know about you, but days turn into weeks turn into months almost faster than I can count them. Even during this pandemic pause or craziness or whatever you want to call it, life goes on.

I’ve been busy but not overwhelmed (most of the time!). I’ve tried to tackle some home projects that had been neglected, organize things, take a few trips here and there to visit family and (did I mention?) get our ducks in a row for my husband’s retirement.

I’ve often written that grief doesn’t only change the way I think about the past but it also changes the way I experience the present.

And while I’ve gotten oh, so much better, at pacing myself, granting myself grace for milestone days and simply saying “no” to extra demands, I still find that having a hole in my heart shapes how I approach even the most mundane tasks.

I’ve had to make a lot of phone calls lately-tying up loose ends, getting new healthcare lined up, making yearly doctor appointments, getting dental work done (which I hate!). Long minutes on hold still-STILL!-make me feel trapped and out of control, even when I put the phone on speaker. Repeating myself over and over to the “next available representative” echoes the many times I had to tell of Dom’s demise when I made all the necessary calls to people with whom he did business.

It’s funny where your mind goes when forced to sit and wait.

Some days I’m just done by lunchtime. Even though there is a lot of day left in the day I am out of steam for taking advantage of it.

I’m learning to prioritize and knock out pressing tasks earlier rather than later and leave the rest until tomorrow.

Trouble is, the tomorrows are adding up and piling on.

I’m not sure there are enough days left in this year to get them all done.

I used to be a dynamo-regularly squeezing two days’ work into one. Now I don’t think I ever get a full days’ worth out of my waking hours. My writing has suffered since it’s something I only do well when I feel rested and caught up on other chores.

I’m not the person I was before Dominic ran ahead to Heaven. I’m slower, less organized and definitely undermotivated.

The calendar accuses me of how little progress I’ve made.

Maybe I’ll take it down again.

Bereaved Parents Month 2021: Why Is The Second Year So Hard???

I remember very well the morning I woke on April 12, 2015-it was one year since I’d gotten the awful news; one year since the life I thought I was going to have turned into the life I didn’t choose.

I was horrified that my heart had continued to beat for 365 days when I was sure it wouldn’t make it through the first 24 hours. 

And I was terrified.

Read the rest here: Why is the Second Year SO Hard?

What’s Changed, What’s The Same [Seven] Years Down The Road Of Child Loss?

What’s changed and what is still the same seven years down the road of child loss?

I’ve thought about this a lot in the past few months as I prepared for, greeted and marked another year of unwelcome milestones since Dominic ran ahead to Heaven.

Read the rest here: What’s Changed, What’s The Same Seven Years Down The Road Of Child Loss?

Some Unexpected Things Can Make Grieving Harder

No one wakes up one day and just “is”. We become, over time, as our innate nature interacts with the world around us. First our parents and siblings influence us and then school, friends, life experience either gently molds us or pounds us into shape.

Often we get so used to our own way of doing and being we never give it much thought. It’s just “how we are”. We work around our faults and try to use our strengths to our advantage.

Most of us are pretty good at it.

Then something earth shattering comes along and suddenly the cracks are exposed and we haven’t the energy to cover them over.

Read the rest here: What Can Make Grieving Harder? Things You Might Not Expect.

Headlines and Heartstrings

I am a bit of a reformed news junkie.

It was one of the things I shared with Dominic since both of us were Political Science majors and had aspirations of a legal career.

In recent years I’ve found it healthier to eschew most newscasts and instead selectively choose printed news stories based on interest, relevance and headlines.

Success Kid Meme - Imgflip

Yesterday I was blindsided by what seemed innocuous enough, “Gas Prices Expected to Rise in Wake of Cyber-attack on Pipeline”. Curiosity led me to click and read the article.

Everything was just fine until I read this line, “Gas prices will soon reach levels not seen since 2014.” That’s when it hit me.

So. much. life. has been lived between Dominic’s leaving and this moment.

Living on a farm I’ve buried a lot of things in this Alabama dirt, I never thought my brother would be one of them. I miss you so much Hector Dominic DeSimone! ~Julian DeSimone

Of course I’m always aware to some degree that time is passing and he is drifting further and further behind relative to my family’s everyday experience. But I’m not often required to stop, take stock and really count the days and ways he hasn’t been part of all the things that fit between his last breath and my most recent one.

2014. My goodness that’s working it’s way to a decade!

And when you consider that college degrees are (ideally!) completed in four years, babies are in the womb for nine months before making an appearance, jobs can be won and lost in a week and retirement declared in thirty days-well, seven plus years is a very, very long time.

Sweet Ryker has only been part of our lives for just over two years.

My mama joined Dominic in heaven eighteen months ago.

The pandemic has forced uncomfortable changes and choices for more than twelve months.

My husband’s official retirement date was half a year ago.

And that’s just a few of the bigger changes since Dom left for Heaven!

I am thankful (didn’t think I’d ever really mean that) to have survived and, in many ways, thrived, since burying one of my children.

It’s been hard.

But I don’t want to rush my precious family into further grief and pain.

Even so I’m prone to sit, bewildered, that time refuses to stand still in light of the giant loss we’ve all suffered.

And sometimes even headlines remind my heart of that.

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