Friday, February 15, 2008


This has been a strange week. We've had two deaths. The first - the suicide of our neighbor which I wrote about in my last post. The second - the loss of my daughter's beloved P.E. coach who died in a motorcycle accident night before last.

It's confounding, the process of grieving. Seeing the wife of my neighbor yesterday, I expected to find a shell of a woman, unable to dress, or groom herself. I pictured her with red eyes, red face and squeezing tear-stained tissues like a child's security blanket. Instead, my neighbor greeted me at the door. She was better dressed than I, her hair blown out and looking, well, great. She was busy, purposeful, composed. When we hugged, I expected tears and sorrow in tandem with my own, instead she whispered in my ear with indignation, "It's just not right, Fran. It's just not right." I was speechless. Of course, I understood why she was angry. We get angry with our husbands for not taking out the trash. Her husband left her with a real mess to clean up. Life for her will never be as she had planned, as they had planned. She was now the single mother of two fatherless children. His abandonment, his choice to check out, like it or not, is the legacy he has left for his children. And she will be cleaning up that untidiness for years to come.

I just didn't expect her anger to rise up so soon. It took me by surprise. But Elizabeth Kubler-Ross' well-known "5 Stages of Grief" is helping me to understand and hopefully to help. By her estimations, my friend will be hitting the depression stage of the cycle soon and knowing this I will make an extra effort to be there for her at that time, despite her current strength.

For those of us not family or close friends with the deceased, the stages of grief are no less puzzling. I wonder how I, and others, can so quickly transition from a state of utter shock and disbelief to acceptance. The first days after I heard the news, I could not walk or drive by their house without covertly glancing in their direction. The usual vibe of joy was replaced with an eerie, ghoulish tenor. But by the end of the week, it was as if Steve had been gone all along. The shock wore off and a new sense of normalcy developed in it's place. The loss of his presence had become part of the natural landscape. A given. A friend and I were discussing this today and we both thought perhaps it's an innate defense mechanism. A way for our brain and body to help us make it through the adjustment. I'd like to think that's right. I'd feel better about myself if it were true. Otherwise, what does that say about how we value our friends? Our lives? Are we that dispensable?


In addition to my own dark ramblings, I've noticed this week that many fellow bloggers seem unsatisfied, forlorn, and even depressed. Maybe it's S.A.D., maybe it's a lunar cycle, whatever it is, it's still FUN FACT FRIDAY !!! (I will come up with a new name because I hate that one and I'm sure you do, too.) We need it now more than ever. So... I will share with you this funny with hopes that it garners a smile, maybe even a laugh, because I believe, laughter truly is the best medicine.

Next time your child picks his/her nose, forget the words, the threats, just show them this:

Have a great weekend! Have some fun!


InTheFastLane said...

The stages of grief are predictable, but yet not. And sometimes the process gets jumbled up. But, we still need the process and we still need others. I am glad you are there for your neighbor.

cpckqueen said...

Who found that picture? You or your kids?

mah-meeee said...

eew.... i am not picking my nose either!

Manic Mommy said...

I'm sure I was going to say something profoundly comforting (and I'll bet it was gonna be really good too) but instead I'm trying to figure out how the mechanics work. Oy.

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