When Your Heart Wants To Help, But Your Head Has No Idea What To Say

I recently had a request to resurrect this post from back in 2015. It’s still true…..

People respond to me in different ways now that Neil has died. Some people pretend they don’t see me because they don’t know what to say. Others pretend nothing has changed. Some offer advice and worst of all, some people tell me it’s time to move on. I know they all mean well and want to help; they just don’t know how to do it. How do you help someone who’s faced a great loss when you don’t know what to say? It’s actually easier than you think. You don’t have to say a thing; you just listen.

Recently, a dear friend brought me dinner. We sat at the table long after the food had grown cold and she invited me to reminisce. She didn’t find it awkward or uncomfortable to be speaking about the dead and listened intently as I rambled on about how Neil and I met and fell in love. She chuckled with me over funny family stories and laughed at some of the ridiculous arguments Neil and I had over the years. She loved when I showed her my collection of the crazy little frogs that Neil drew on everything he wrote – messages in the girl’s lunch boxes, notes he left for us around the house, and especially on his signature homemade holiday cards. Continue reading →

A Tale of a Morning Miracle

clockThis is a true story about a miracle. I think miracles happen every day, but we’re too busy and distracted to notice. Every now and then, though, something marvelous catches our attention. It may not even be dramatic, but it breaks through our usual deafness.

I usually start my day with a cup of coffee. When Neil was alive, he often delivered a steaming hot mug to me in bed. Sometimes we went outside to the patio, but frequently he sat in bed with me and we chatted about the day ahead. After he died, I missed those morning moments more than anything else. Gradually, I learned to fill that time with prayer, and began to chat with God instead. (I’d love to say the miracle was that God brought me coffee in bed, but no, that’s not it.) Continue reading →

Confession of a List-aholic Mom

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Since Neil died, I am learning to appreciate solitude (at least sometimes), but I am still having trouble adjusting to all the work that goes onto caring for a house. I started keeping lists to remind me what needs to be done.

From indoor things like laundry and groceries and pets, to outside things like the yard and the heat pump and the car, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. The lists help me feel more in control and productive, and I admit I love the sense of accomplishment that comes from crossing things off when they are done. I should have known I was developing a problem when one of my friends invited me to lunch and I declined to go. I didn’t tell her it was because I had too many things on my list, but it was. Continue reading →

Come out; come out, wherever you are…

untitled mischiefOne Saturday morning, Neil was in charge at home while I went to the store. The baby was sleeping and Gina was visiting a friend’s house, so all he had to do was entertain four-year old Jacquelyn. I had the harder job. The grocery list was long, the store was crowded, and by the time I got home I was cranky.

I found Neil on the patio chatting with a neighbor. “Where is Jackie?”
“I think she’s in the living room,” he said, completely unconcerned she wasn’t planted at his feet. Continue reading →

When your heart wants to help, but your head has no idea what to say

Blog when you want to helpPeople respond to me in different ways now that Neil has died.

Some people pretend they don’t see me because they don’t know what to say. Others pretend nothing has changed. Some offer advice, and worst of all, some people tell me it’s time to move on.

I know they all mean well and want to help; they just don’t know how to do it. How do you help someone who’s faced a great loss when you don’t know what to say? It’s actually easier than you think. You don’t have to say a thing; you just listen.

Recently, a dear friend brought me dinner. We sat at the table long after the food had grown cold and she invited me to reminisce. Continue reading →