On April 5, 2012, Greg Foster went to heaven leaving behind his wife Michelle, their 7 year old daughter Kate and 5 year old son Garrett. Michelle is a friend of my #3 daughter Charity. Approaching the 1 year anniversary of Greg’s death, Michelle wrote something this week that I felt would be a blessing to other widows and I have her permission to share it with you today.
March 20, 2013
I think I have turned the corner in the grief journey……..whatever that corner might be. And I say me because the kids don’t know they are on a journey yet.
I know there isn’t a prescription for going through the process of grief and it’s different for everyone. My way of getting through something difficult is being super busy. In that, I have done a remarkable job. I feel like a Gerbil on a wheel lately. Actually, as I look back, it’s pretty much been since Greg passed away. And it has accelerated leading up to these last weeks before the “last of the firsts”. For some reason I keep thinking of baggage the last couple weeks. In terms of life experiences that shape us. As I was thinking about it I made an interesting connection.
When I think of baggage it’s usually a heavy load to carry around or something that restrains me. For instance, it’s fun (at first) getting to ready to travel or do something special. You pack all the goodies you might need. If you are like me, you do drive by packing on the way out the door just in case. By the time you get to your destination you are weary of dragging around all the “stuff ” even though it started out light. Take that analogy and apply it to life or relationship baggage. It’s the same sort of situation. You are excited about learning and collecting all the new info available. You spend time and effort to get things just right! Then if anything happens, that time and information can become heavy. For the most, having a life partner pass away from an incurable illness would be considered heavy and produce some serious emotional baggage. We didn’t have that type of situation so sometimes it’s hard for me to figure out what is going on with me!
What I have realized is that my “baggage” is trying to attach Greg or his memory to everything we have done. It has been an attempt to keep him close. To continue sweet memories that included him even though he is not here. Unfortunately, that just doesn’t translate to reality as life continues to move on. It also adds weight to a lot of potentially easy things.
I realized I was turning the corner when I didn’t have to put my wedding rings on everyday or eat ice cream every night. It’s not that we don’t think about him or talk of him almost everyday. But I can go through my day without the added pressure of that attachment. And most of all, it’s alright if I don’t! It doesn’t dishonor his memory or lessen the sweet time we had together. It gives us more freedom to branch out, explore, and thrive the way he would have wanted us to.
The cool part is I can always keep a Greg travel pack close by. I can open it and be refreshed. I can keep him close without it becoming to heavy to bear.
Feel free to send Michelle some words of encouragement or tell her what her writing meant to you by commenting at the bottom. I’ll be sure that she gets your messages.