3 things I know from my experience with loss
It’s amazing how quickly a year roars past. A year ago—as Hubby was slipping away from me—buckets of love were pouring into our lives. Rivers. Waterfalls of love.
Hubby’s appetite had waned considerably. As a result, a variety of treats materialized. Delivered by the loveliest of people. Designed to entice Hubby to eat. Banana milkshakes, mango smoothies, dark chocolates, homemade salted dark chocolate chip cookies, Ida’s cupcakes.
A year ago this month, multiple and amazingly creative gifts showed up on our front porch. A moose from Alaska nestled in a full autumn bouquet. Fleecy pillow case. Fun mismatched socks. Homemade soups. Scones. A hand-crafted guardian angel. Yarn and knitting needles. Cinnamon candles. A photo book depicting adventure with our cancer-kicking hike group.
Hubby’s hospital bed was moved into the living room. Family came from near and far. And then Hubby checked into Hospice House where kindness followed us. Pumpkin bagels. Gift baskets overflowing with snacks. Starbux designer beverages. Full meals.
You see what I mean by waterfalls of love.
“All the thoughtful messages and gifts and drive-bys and stop-ins represent people,” I wrote back then. “And when it comes down to it, isn’t that the most valuable asset we have?”
In early October last year, our niece came to shoot photos. You wouldn’t know from this picture, but Hubby was feeling pretty punk. The photographer arranged for him to sit, and was done shooting in ten minutes.
And then just four weeks later. This photo. Things were rushing forward too quickly for me.
Daughter Summer and co-workers from the cancer center
There are a number of things I wish I’d done sooner. Like, when the kids and I went through old photo albums and yearbooks. Hubby was present in the room with us, but not completely present. Why hadn’t I thought to do this sooner?
Here’s what I know from my up-close-and-personal experience with losing my beloved:
1. Don’t put off what is most important. And we’re not just talking old photo albums here. We’re talking writing your family history, signing up for tango lessons, celebrating milestones, taking road trips, creating adventure, making memories. For the most part, Hubby and I did this well. But being the eternal optimist, I just knew I had more time with him. When in reality, none of us knows how long we have with the ones we love.
2. Loss doesn’t have to come with regrets. There will be things we wish we had done sooner. Or better. Or differently. But when we set our intention to unconditionally love the people God has placed in our lives, then chances are there will be few regrets.
3. Remembering back doesn’t have to be sorrowful. Reading 2014 journal and blog entries as a widow has been therapeutic. Recalling the long slow sweet good-by. Remembering how rich our life together was in spite of the hard — because of our love story; because of the fabulous people surrounding us; because we had learned to number our blessings and live fully while we had life.
I am one grateful widow.
How about you? Are there adventures, classes, celebrations, travel you could be doing as a family or with friends that would create unforgettable memories? What are the first steps you can take to make these things happen?
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Another P.S. The waterfall in the top photo is Diamond Falls, one of our favorite hikes because you can hear the roar of the falls before you round a corner in the trail and then stop and hold your breath at the magnificence (which is not truly captured in this photo).