Seven Weeks Later it Happened

For me, seven weeks later, it happened. You think you are progressing well in your grief journey after losing a spouse. Even with the daily bouts of crying, life is returning to ‘normal.’ Then, something brings the sadness back with a vengeance.

Seven Weeks Later, It Happened

For me, it was a phone call from a bereavement counselor with the hospice provider, Compassionate Care. However, the ring had nothing to do with my husband’s hospice. Instead, it was a friend, Jeanne, whom I knew because of my husband. Wayne dated Jeanne, and they remained friends.

Jeanne had asked me long before to act as her health surrogate. In my usual role as caregiver, I readily agreed. As often happens, Jeanne’s cancer didn’t work as expected. She endured for years. As I left Wayne’s memorial service, I received the phone call that Jeanne had been admitted to hospice. She passed eighteen days later.

A Simple Question from a Stranger

Anne, the bereavement counselor, called me last Monday morning, one week after Jeanne passed. She introduced herself and why she was calling.

Then Anne asked, “How are you doing?”

I started to answer when the sobs interrupted me.

Sometimes We Need to Talk

As I talked, Anne listened. She said very little, mainly offering support, honesty, and understanding during the thirty-minute phone call. The truth is that most people don’t want to hear about your grief. They want you to get over your grief and return to the person they love.

Furthermore, your friends want you to be happy. Sometimes it’s easier to talk to a stranger who isn’t vested in you. Still, it’s up to us to find how best to move through our grief.

How to Start Moving Out of the Heaviest Feelings

One way is indulging yourself in what has made you feel better in the past. Be aware that sometimes you might have been avoiding the grief. As someone expert in avoidance, I don’t recommend it. However, there are some universal ways to feel better while honoring grief.

  • Get outside.
  • Find ways to feed your personality.
  • Have compassion for yourself.
Claytonia virginica

I’m an extrovert who is creative, observant, curious, and loves research. So my way of moving out of my heaviest feelings was to take a leisurely walk in nature.

Star chickweed


Even though the trees were bare, a few flowers peaked out amongst the leaf litter. If you click on the photos, you can see larger photos.


Cutleaf toothwort

My self-compassion came when I realized I had overextended my physical limitations. So I stopped often, sat on tree stumps and boulders, and laughed at my attempts to take a selfie.

Final Thoughts

When you feel the grief has returned at a higher pitch, try to flow with it. Give yourself a break. If you are the friend of someone who has lost a loved one, be patient and supportive. We appreciate you more than you know.

A Heavy Birthday Week

Do you have a heavy birthday week when multiple friends have birthdays? I do, and this is the week.

A Heavy Birthday Week

My sister is the first person in my life with a birthday this week. Here is our favorite photo, which she posts on Sibling Day. Yes, it falls just before this week. I’m on the left in case you don’t recognize me.

The other two birthdays belong to my long-time friends, Pat and Marilyn. We met in the seventh grade at junior high. I’m pretty sure Pat and I developed our friendship first, but it’s hard to remember the circumstances in the fall of 1964 precisely. Regardless, for me, it feels like a triad that has persisted over the last fifty-plus years.

If you live in the United States, what other event is on your mind this week? That’s right. It’s the dreaded Federal Income Tax due date. Therefore, I like to plan early acquiring gifts for these three friends.

A Gift Buying Strategy

It seems I’ve always lived a distance from my April birthday friends. Therefore, I mail the gifts. After the New Year, I start to think about an appropriate gift. I’m not a shopper, but I enjoy visiting certain stores; garden centers, cute gift shops, and antique malls. As I browse, something will catch my eye, and I pounce, buying three of the same or similar items. This year my sister led the way.

Last month, I waited just past 5 pm for a frame shop to finish my order. All the little shops had closed as I strolled down 3rd Street in Winter Haven, Florida, except one.

a heavy birthday weekHappily, I popped in. Near the back of the store, I noticed kitchen towels with catchy sayings. My sister’s last name is Rogers. Believe it or not, I never made the correlation with the popular children’s television show until recently.

The best part was receiving her text. Then we talked about how funny this quip is, even though it isn’t true! How silly is that? I guess that’s why I knew she would love it. We have the same sense of humor.

Next, the search was on for Pat and Marilyn. Their towels were right next to the Mr. Rogers quip. Mission accomplished!

Our Reaction Can Decrease Stress

Our reaction can decrease stress. When the pressure of world events feels so heavy, there is only one lasting solution. We choose to adjust our response.

A Metaphor of Arrows

During my morning meditation with Anushka Fernandopulle with the app from Ten-Percent Happier, she asked me to imagine a troublesome event as an arrow piercing my body. It hurts. But when we take on even more stress in our reaction, the one indicator becomes many, piercing our flesh until we completely shut down.

How to Remove the Arrows

I will lead you through a meditation that gives you the tools to reduce stress in your body. When your body rests, the mind follows.

Furthermore, I invite you to record the next section as you read it aloud, going through the motions to give yourself time to breathe and relax for a ten-minute meditation. Then you can play the recording whenever you want a break from stress.

Take a Break from Stress

Sit or lie down in a comfortable position. For example, your feet are flat on the floor if you sit in a chair. Relax the belly.

If laying down, allow your feet to fall to the sides naturally. Relax your arms either alongside your body or resting on your belly. Close your eyes if you’d like, or have a soft gaze on the floor or your chest.

Softly inhale through your nose, gently releasing the exhale. Repeat this a few times while noticing any tension in the face or shoulders.

Now take a slightly deeper breath and release the tension in your face on the out-breath. Take another deep breath and release the tension in your shoulders on the out-breath. Once more, breathe in deeply. Notice where you hold tension in your body and release it on the out-breath.

Allow your breath to return to a normal rhythm.

As you gently breathe in and out, imagine a tiny splinter in the tense area of your body loosening its grip. The tiny sliver eases out more with each out-breath until it falls out and disappears.

Continue gently breathing in and out until you feel relaxed throughout your body.

Begin to move your fingers and toes, returning to a more awake state. Please open your eyes, perhaps fluttering them a little at first. Now, look at the objects in the room or the space around you.

Take a nice cleansing breath and begin a less stressful day or evening.

A Few Final Thoughts

It is easy to revert to an overstressed condition when we engage in spending time on our cell phones, watching the news, reading the newspaper, or rehashing world events with friends and family.

Our reaction can decrease stress. We can choose to act differently. For some, it is easiest to go cold turkey by silencing the cell phone or removing it to another room.

You can mute the news on the radio or television, change the channel, or remove yourself to a different room. Perhaps you can enjoy a book or go outside.

Be gentle with yourself. Take these suggestions as just that, suggestions. And always make changes one step at a time.