I am finally convinced that I am now in the full stage of the grieving process due to my wife’s death in July. It took me a while to get here. I was beginning to wonder if I was actually capable of such emotions. But, now they are coming in floods, it seems. The thing that perhaps finally pushed me here was a simple pamphlet that one of the staff here at my retirement community gave me. (Thank you, Anna for that.)
This short booklet is entitled My Friend, I Care – The Grief Experience by Barbara Karnes RN. She has authored five booklets about the end-of-life process. Here are a few words about her from her blogsite:
Barbara has dedicated the last 40 years of her life to the education, care, and support of dying people and their loved ones. The most useful and important things that she’s learned along the way have been distilled into her materials.
She certainly has a gift for condensing her words to get to the heart of the topic in a humble way. I envy her ability in that area, and hope that it also shows up at least a little here at RJsCorner.
She finished this booklet with a paragraph that spoke to me, and I suspect millions of others.
Our inability to further enjoy life does not measure our loss. The quality of our relationship with the person who has died is found in our strength, our resilience and our ability to create a meaningful life.Barabard Karens RN
I want to get to the Don’ts in the booklet. There are eight things you are not supposed to do. I will summarize them here:
- Don’t remove or throw away belongings for several months
- Don’t wash worn clothing right away
- Don’t be surprised if you see or hear the dead person
- Don’t sell your house for at least a year
- Don’t avoid talking about the person who has died
- Don’t be afraid to say negative things of the person who is gone
- Don’t hesitate to say, “I’m having a sad day”
- Don’t stop loving and living
Let’s summarize. Emotions have always been strange things to me. Simply stated, I have never understood them. I think grief is one of the official emotions, so maybe this is my introduction into feelings. I have never in my life been as emotional as I have been the last few weeks. I know I promised to get into the objective things about emotion from a psychological standpoint, but these other things just demanded they go first. Maybe next week we should, if nothing else demands attention, look at the official list of what emotions are, and some of the fallacies of things that really aren’t emotions after all.
btw… I have already done five of the eight Don’ts 🥸