Sunday, November 13, 2011


vintage sun

So this is the first occasion of my newly assigned day.


A day of sun, as I see it, is a true blessing. For so many of us, worry, hardship, and the basic toll of life, can really bring us down. When the weekend is upon us, we tend to wonder how much we can get accomplished on Saturday, and how we want to spend a day of leisure on Sunday. For those shaking off the trauma of loss, a day of sun can feel quite foreign.

Today, as I write, it is Saturday. I spent the day with a full car load of those I love, running errands and having lunch. As we moved back and forth about town, the sun was not shining, as it was raining. A lot. At one point someone commented about the weather, as if none of us would find pleasure in it. Very quickly my daughter and I both shouted out, I love rainy days.

Rainy days always give me a sense of comfort. For so long my days were filled with tears. It didn't matter how sunny it was outside, in my heart and soul, it was always stormy and wet. For so long a day of sun was incongruent with my mood. For so long it felt like the sun's only purpose was to shine down the truth of my loss and despair.

A funny thing happened last night. My new love, Abel, was spending the night, as he is still recuperating from a knee injury, and being here with me is a nicer way to spend days of relaxation than in his lonely room at home, I suppose. Anyway, as we climbed into bed for the night, I turned to him and said, Did you take your medicine? Abel said thanks for reminding him, then jumped, well, slowly climbed, out of bed to take it. While he was in the bathroom fumbling with his medication I was lying there feeling the aftermath of my words.

For two years I climbed into bed with my husband, who was fighting off a brain tumor. For two years I would remind him, asking, Did you take your medicine? Talk about a sobering moment. When Abel returned he could see that my mind, and mood, had drifted off somewhere. He asked, and I said that I was fine. He reminded me that I could talk about anything.

Well, it's just that I spoke those same words to Michael every night, and, well, it scares me to say those words to you. What if something should happen? What if I one day have to always remind you about taking your medicine?

His reassuring smile reminded me that all is well right now. It may be raining outdoors, yet right now, at this moment in my life, it is mostly sunny within. I suppose I can't go around expecting dark rainy days all the time. Right? Funny, when did it happen? When did I go from expecting days of sun, to knowing only days of rain? Well, perhaps the day my husband died. Perhaps the day I learned of his cancer. Whenever it was, the sun was something I had to make a concerted effort to recognize.

Now that time has passed, I find that I'm beginning to expect the sun. When I have days without much sun it can be a welcome change. Not that it brings sorrow, but it does bring contemplation. It tells me to light a fire, wrap myself in a blanket while lying on the sofa, and to reflect. These days I can reflect on my loss with a mutual sense of grief and joy. Joy that I was gifted in my love for Michael. Joy that I have learned so much on this journey. Joy that I have made so many lovely and kindred spirited friends. And joy that I have opened myself up to let the sun in once again.



  1. I have experienced the same feelings about the weather so many times. You're right, rainy days match the mood of the soul. I have a question for you Dan, and answer if you wish. I'm two years out, and still feel strangely detached from everything. I never get excited about anything, even the occasional social outing feels like an obligation to me, but I can take it or leave it. I feel like my emotions are shut down or something. I function fine at work, unfortunately I am left living alone and that's been a tough part of my grief journey, because without people in the house it's really hard to get out of my own head, so all I do is reflect. Is it normal to have this feeling of constant ennui? At this stage? I read, journal, watch tv, clean, cook, etc. but it's hard to forget things about the illness and my long marriage. Thanks.

  2. Fantastic post, Dan. For the last 5 months I have never wished for so much rain in all my life.I have often thought that I must be the only person that has ever felt like that after losing their spouse. But it is comforting, and it suits my mood, and now through your writing you have put into words exactly why I love rainy days right now. I am sure I will love sunny days again someday, like you are now experiencing. Many thanks to you today, you have helped me feel a little more normal in this difficult journey.

  3. For the longest time I would function fine at work, then walk out to my car and fall apart. In the last few months I would do well at work, then find my mood spiraling downward as I drove home. For the longest time I told myself that all I wanted, and needed, was to sit at home in silence, which I did benefit greatly from. Now, I am not alone at home, as I have my kids, yet I still did tend to isolate myself. On the rare occasion that I was invited out I would find an excuse, as I didn't feel like I would enjoy myself.

    In time I began making myself join others for social events. In time I learned to find joy in them, and before I knew it I was having a good time. It didn't change how I felt at home, but like work, it was easier, and more enjoyable than I anticipated. Now that I am involved in a relationship it is like the next building block. I enjoy my time with him, and often feel joy. At the same time I still experience that fall of mood when alone and at times with him. I have learned that this is okay, and that this is normal. My boyfriend is also good about giving some silent space, or asking if I need to talk.

    In my experience, everything takes time. It has been a combination of gently pushing myself forward, and also being comfortable with with where I am at.

  4. To Anon #2 .... what you're describing is perfectly "normal". It's normal for some of us ... and then, maybe less familiar for others. I've found that there's not one certain thing that is consistently "normal" for all of us .... well, other than the gut-wrenching, heart-breaking, life-sucking pain. That seems to be pretty much the "norm". How we display it, express it, and sometimes feel it .... is as unique as our fingerprints.
    But, having said that .... I found the 2nd year to be harder than the first. The numbness and the shock has worn off by then and the question that I asked almost every single day, "Is this REALLY my life?!" was no longer a question, but a statement. A statement that stunned me, but still remained firm.
    It no longer stuns me and it no longer hurts when I think it. It is what it is .... and it could be so much worse.
    As for those sunny days .... in the beginning I remember actually resenting them. How could the world, or at least my part of it, be full of sunshine when I was slowly dying on the inside? How could people go about their business, enjoying a day like that, when I knew that I'd never enjoy another day as long as I lived.
    Thankfully, I was wrong. And "normal".
    Thanks for the reminder, Dan, of how far we really have, and do, come.
    Love you.

  5. Thanks for your responses, Dan and Janine.