Tag Archives: holiday mourning

Grief: My Uninvited Guest

9 Jul

I’m not going to lie to you, friends. As fun as Szaba’s 2-year birthday was, it was also … hard.

At year 1, we didn’t have Sue. At year 2, we didn’t have Shirley.

Perhaps unwisely, I hadn’t accounted for an appearance by Grief, my uninvited guest. I guess I was so deep in planning mode I hadn’t allowed myself the time and space to acknowledge the full bouquet of emotions this confluence of events might entail.

Then on the morning of Szaba’s party, I was blindsided on my way to pick up icing tips for the cake (particularly for a special mini cake that I would decorate in the tradition of Sue and Sue’s father).

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24 Apr

What has helped you through grief or a particularly challenging time? For me, it’s writing.

Very few people have ever read my poetry. It’s my great intimacy. But right now, I can find no other way to express the events and emotions of the last few days. Shirley’s death clings to my soul in a cloud of words and fractured details. And it is Poetry Month, after all, so I’m going to face my fears and let the words escape the page.

I’ve been on this bereavement roller coaster before, and I know there will be many dips and turns in the days to come, but this is my current state of mind (and grief), as only my heart can tell it.

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Meaning of Dreams

23 Apr

Oh, to write again! Today I’ll be pouring words onto the page and trying to organize them in some meaningful sense for me and for you. In the meantime, I wrote this (rather eerie now) piece last week, before the shock of Shirley’s death, and I feel I must share it now.

The holiday apparently stirred up my subconscious more than I realized. It’s been awhile since I’ve dreamed of Sue. Until the other night.

It’s led me on a scavenger hunt down weird corridors of the Internet, searching for viable scientific information behind the meaning of dreams.

In this recent dream, Ryan and I were enjoying some relaxing one-on-one time with Sue. She had cancer and was resting, but we were confident that, with a little R&R, she’d be back on her feet again soon.

To my shock and horror, the doctor called and informed me that I had to tell Sue she was going to die within a few days. Could she have been talking about Shirley instead?

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Haunted Easter

9 Apr

Sue, host of my Easter baby shower 2010

Thanks to my poetry post on Friday, I found the following poem in my inbox this morning. My favorite line: “We see your raised face/at both sides of a day.”

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The Special Ornament

19 Nov

This weekend last year we were partying. Ryan and I were visiting Mankato for the first time with Szaba, and Sue had us booked:

Day 1: Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres with Sue’s dearest friends

Day 2: A grand holiday family dinner

Day 3: Coffee hour at home with her company friends

Given that Sue couldn’t even eat and could barely get out of bed, we obviously expressed our concerns over this full itinerary. But she was insistent. We had a lot to celebrate. She wanted the chance to show off her new granddaughter to all of those closest to her. We couldn’t deny her that.

So she delegated, and we all made it happen. On Saturday, Ryan, his sisters, and I got the house ready. We found the nice linens, arranged the flowers, lit the candles, and pulled out the fine china.

Even though we were doing the foot work, she was throwing these parties, and we wanted the details to reflect that. As a hostess, Sue always went above and beyond, adding touches of beauty and thoughtfulness to make people feel extra special. That was her signature … in party hostessing and in life. And we were determined to live up to it.

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When It Rains, It Pours

21 Oct

I remember hearing “the holidays are hard.” I had no idea how hard, especially when the holidays are a pivot point in losing someone.

The saying goes: When it rains, it pours. Well, with the drizzled onslaught of fall at my doorstep—and all the memories that come flooding back with it—I have a new appreciation for that phrase.

Last year at this time, Sue was here. Not just here on Earth, but physically HERE, in my house. Her fleece, book, robe, and slippers await where she left them in our guest room. Her e-mail about how excited she was to visit still sits expectantly in my inbox. Memories of my daughter’s first Halloween, jack-o-lantern, and costume all come along with Sue, smiling (and for the first time visibly ill) in their ranks.

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