Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Irony ....

.... is a funny thing.
Other times .... not so much.

This was Jim's favorite picture frame with one of his favorite pictures of our children.  It was taken about 13 years ago, around the same time I gave him the frame.  Meaning, in "my time", about 10 years .... "before".

He loved the verses on it from the Robert Frost poem, "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening":
     "The woods are lovely, dark,  and deep
     But I have promises to keep,
     And miles to go before I sleep,
     And miles to go before I sleep."


Well, I guess it depends on your perspective and your definition of "miles to go".
My perspective is that it sucked that my definition of "miles to go" is only 10 years from that point in his life.

I guess a lot can be accomplished in 10 years.
Children grow.
There are birthdays, graduations, confirmations, vacations, holidays, etc.
Memories are made.

A whole lot of that occurred in those 10 years.
A lot of really great memories.
And a few really horrible ones, though in hindsight .... my definition of horrible has changed a bit.
Still ..... there were some very, very difficult times for our family during those 10 years.
Thankfully, the great ones far outnumber the others.

But it's the great ones that I like to remember.
Don't we all?

It's the memories of our vacations and the experiences we shared.
Moving our daughters off to colleges.
Jim's election to our school board.
Time with our friends.
His 40th surprise birthday party.
My 40th surprise birthday party that he truly pulled off.
Time with our families.
Time at the lake with the boys.
Our last vacation .... visiting my brother and his family in Alaska.
Jim loved that vacation.
He loved all of our vacations.

That's the stuff that I like to remember.
That's what makes me smile more these days than cry.
I do that a lot now.

I'm .... happy.
How's that for irony?
If you'd told me three or two or even one year ago that I'd be able to type that, and smile as I typed it .... I would've thought you were an idiot for not understanding my grief.
Very ironic.

Especially when you consider that 2 years ago .... I was seriously contemplating .... deep, deep breath here and brace yourself for my sometimes "unsettling" honesty .....
..... leaving.
Not just leaving my home or my children.
But leaving leaving.
Leaving my body and this earth and the horrible, horrible pain that I didn't think I could bear one more second.
Just .... leaving.

Truth be told (and yes, more can be told) .... I went further than contemplating it.
Thankfully, now, I didn't go far enough.
I wasn't thankful at the time, but I am now.

So don't ever think that just because any of us can now say we're happy, we didn't truly grieve.
Oh, I grieved.
Very, very long and very, very hard.

I still grieve .... only not so hard and not so long.  It's a different kind of grief.
And I'm happy.
Not the same happy as "before", but happy nonetheless.

I guess all of this is just to tell you .... you'll get here.
One day, one minute .... one second at a time.
One step forward, three steps back.
But one day, it'll be three steps forward and one step back.
I'm here .... to encourage you.
To cheer on those steps .... no matter how many or in what direction.

Oh, the irony ....


  1. Janine, it is funny you should write about this today. I was juat thinking the same things you were yesterday and actually said it to myself to my surprize! I thought I would never get there, but I am. Like you I still grieve, but it is different. I can actually experience joy and hope again, which I know makes the husband I lost smile, because that is all he wanted for me was to be happy - he was such a kid and was always laughing and smiling even through his illness. So in a way, I am honoring his memory just by feeling happy!

  2. Thank you, gives me hope!

  3. Thanks for this post and your optimistic words. It's very open of you to share this. I get what you mean, you go through the shock and grief and then at some point it hits you...and you think, "I have to sustain this?" That's the hard part, it never goes away and you have to trudge through and keep bearing the burden of pain and of a life turned upside down. Back and forth. It certainly is one of the hardest things in life to go through. As an aside, when you posted about your blog last week I read it, and felt my burden lighten a bit to see that it's possible to travel and celebrate through the hard times. I'm glad you didn't succeed in leaving. Thanks for sharing with us.

  4. Said so well, gives us all hope, and for that we thank you for your honesty.

  5. Janine, I am beginning to think of you as my grief guru. You have a way of hitting the mark each and every time. You are an extremely brave and courageous person, which I measure by the transparency by which you share your journey with us. This post reminds me of a time when my daughter decided to stop reading my blog. She came to me to say that she didn't want to read that I had contemplated suicide. I told her that I understood that this was not something she needed to read, or perhaps know about, at this point in her life, but that I needed to write about it.

    Thank you for affirming for me once again not to be afraid of my reality, and to not fear speaking my truth.

    Love. Dan

  6. your words are so right and helpful ...the level of grief is so scary sometimes, i am just one year past and i need people like you to tell me i will do it, thankyou norma