Waaaa-nniversaries

2009. August 21. September 15. November 3. November 11. All these significant dates. August 21 would have been John’s 55th birthday. He never expected to make it to 50, let alone to 53, so each passing year beyond that auspicious number was a miracle and astonishment. September 15 will be our nineteenth wedding anniversary. November 3 would have been my brother’s 57th birthday. And November 11 marks the second year John has been gone and I have been the Practical Widow. I don’t dread the arrival of the dates nearly as much as I did the first year. I braced

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When does the tide start to turn?

To continue my oceanic metaphor, I was reflecting back on when the tide of grief started to turn, or better put, when the undertow stopped drowning me. A loss of this magnitude is so ridiculously out of control, it turns your every moment into turmoil. And the place where you turn for comfort—your home, your family—is what’s most undone. When does that all come back under your control? Well, let me just set the record straight and say, I have no idea. I thought, like so many other life events, that I would get over it, time would heal the

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How To Be The Good Dead

You don’t get to be a widow without a dead guy. So if you plan to be a good dead guy (and one day, we all shall be filling that particular role) it’s going to make it far easier on those left behind who love you. Do a little planning ahead. It helps a lot. Have a will. Keep it up to date and be sure your loved one knows where it is. Make it as clear and extensive as you can think of. Ours was a very simple “I love you will”, essentially meaning everything that was mine went

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Crisis strikes: The days around the death

John’s death was relatively sudden. Not as quick as a heart attack or accident but not as prolonged as terminal cancer either. He went into the hospital on October 30 and was dead by November 11. Through that week and a half, each day was harder to bear than the one before. I barely had the ability to make it from the hospital back to the house in once piece. Every iota of my being was sharply focused on the crisis at hand. So I was unable to function on any kind of normal level. Here’s some things that helped

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I’m also a… what’s the word?

My oldest brother died on May 23, 2007, six months before John died. Just out of the blue. Existing one minute, not existing the next. No one saw it coming, most likely least of all him. Turned out his heart just stopped. He was a big man and he did have a big heart in every sense of the word, but we all certainly thought it would be ticking a lot longer than this. He was taking his morning shower and simply. dropped. dead. There’s no term for “survivor of a sibling” like there is “survivor of a spouse”. Also,

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Sweet dreams (of you…)

I used to have a quite a few dreams about John, they seem to have slowed down lately. They have also changed drastically from when he first died to now. Immediately after his death, I would find him after frantically searching. I recall the first dream was very distinct, feeling that he was there with an intense presence. In every dream, John is loving and comforting, saying, “I’m right here, it’s OK, I’m with you. I haven’t left.” In subsequent months, I had more trouble finding him in the dreams, for instance, I couldn’t find the phone number or didn’t

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One more thing…

How else do I know what hurts and what helps? Because not only were they done to me… I learned through this process that I am certain to have done the very same "Don't" things to others at some point along the way. If you're one of them, I am genuinely sorry. I'm trying to learn.