Monday, May 23, 2011

Which Way Works For You?

When I walked through the door on my first visit to the grief support group the air was so heavy I had to catch my breath. Memories weighted the atmosphere and almost crushed me. But I went back each week and we slogged through the heaviness, leaned into those memories, rode out the waves of grief. And then, finally, the air lightened. Faces brightened. We started to remember more than the pain. We remembered the life, the goodness, the love. Choosing to remember and choosing to face those memories, became a way to deal with the pain.

Image by Free-StockPhotos.com
But some individuals and cultures deal with grief by choosing to forget. Its like they shut the door to that period of life; take the pictures off the walls, get rid of all the person's belongings, start dating right away. . . I'm reading the story of a man who escaped the genocide in Rwanda and Burundi, Africa in the 1990's. His culture calls it gusimbura: you don't talk about the dead, you don't name them. You're reminding people and it's not acceptable.

Let's talk a bit . . . What do you think? Are you a "rememberer," or a "forgetter" when it comes to grieving? I'm not asking if one is right and the other is wrong. Something tells me there's probably a time and a place for both. But, are you naturally inclined towards one or the other? Does one of these styles of grieving come easier to you than the other? Talk it through . . . especially with Memorial Day next week. How do you feel about that day? Do you have plans or traditions that will help you in get through it?

     Thank you for visiting this week. I hope part of your Memorial Day will be to commemorate your husband on the blog's Memorial Wall. The directions are there when you click on it at the top of this blog. It's a lasting tribute to your love, it helps others feel they're not so alone, and others will use it to praying for you. Once I receive your info, I'll post it as soon as I possible can.

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P.S.  If you love Chera Fellowship and would like to meet the magazine editors and some of the other readers, contact me right away for a registration form. (deadline: June 1). They will be hosting a table on Thursday, June 30 at the IFCA Convention in Ft. Mitchell, KY. If you're not familiar with Chera, visit their website and check out the magazine subscription that is free to widows for one year! Nice! 

4 comments:

  1. I do not feel an attachment to the 'things' Jake had,like his clothes or hobbies or such.I do however love to talk about him,like he is still here with me and in part he is.He will always live in my memory and for that I am thankful.When I have gotten rid of some of his things,some people have criticized me,but to me these are only things,memories live on forever.The most precious memories of Jake live on in the thousands of photos he has taken.

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  2. Talking about him is one of the best things to do, Ruth. And you've seen how many people have loved hearing your story. Keep on sharing it, we all love you.

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  3. I agree with Ruth, I didn't keep all of his things. My husband was a photographer, also. So we have all of the wonderful images on our computer. I made a scrapbook/photo album for all the years we were together 1974-2009. Photos, dried flowers, ticket stubs, travel info are all in one place. When I am at a gathering with family/friends, I do talk about him, because others are afraid to - but if I start then they will talk. The first time I went out with our group of friends after he died, nobody mentioned his name at all - not once, I was so furious. I was not going to talk to any of them ever again, but then decided that I needed to be the strong one, and to help them.

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  4. Teri, Isn't it mind-boggling how widows not only have to deal with their own grief but also help those around them? I think it's great that you made the decision to be the strong one. Sometimes they just don't know what the boundaries are and that we really do want to talk about our husband.
    A scrapbook is wonderful, especially for those photos you that are such a treasure now. (I look forward to keeping up with your adventures on your blog! Happy trails to you :)

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