Wednesday, October 3, 2012

I Have a Love/Hate Relationship ......


...... with this thing called Grief.

I don't think it feels the same way about me.  It just exists.

But I ...... I mostly hate it.
And yet sometimes, in the midst of feeling that hate, I think I also feel a little bit of love.
Which is probably as hard to understand as it is to explain.

But permit me to try.

This past weekend Son #3 and I went to Oklahoma to attend another home football game at my university (and soon to be his university).
At Jim's AND my university.
Where we met.
And fell in love.

Where it all started.

We visited it several times over the years, taking the kids when we could ...... and taking our yearly Christmas card picture there on our Thanksgiving trips back "home".

I absolutely loved college.
And it is forever linked in my mind with Jim.
Even though we didn't meet until the second semester of our junior year.
We are all three linked.
Forever, in my mind.

So when I walk on the campus ...... it's wonderful.
And yet hard.
Very hard.

There have been a lot of renovations over the past 5 years.
The campus is even more beautiful than it used to be.
Saturday I was walking across it with my very good friend who's known me since we were both 17.  Before college.
Before Jim.
After becoming his wife.
After becoming a mom.
Times six.
She knew me in my "before".
And she's been there for me in my "after".
I know that she misses the "before Janine" as much as I do.
And she misses Jim.

Anyway, as we were walking and looking at the new Student Union, my mind ...... even after almost 5 years ...... went "there".
You know the "there" I'm talking about.
My brain, for just a second, thought, "I need to take pictures so that I can show Jim how beautiful this is."
And for a moment, I hated that.
I hated the tears that stung my eyes as I tried my best to fight them.
I hated the lump that formed in my throat after I told my friend what had just happened.
And I hated the grief that gripped my heart, and made me wonder if my mind will ever stop going "there".

But then, I stopped hating it.
And I loved the fact that I still love him so much that my heart breaks when I forget my reality for just a second.
That I love him so much that the missing of him still brings tears.

I know that I will never forget him ...... and that I will never stop missing him.
But sometimes, if I stop and think about it, I feel afraid that I will forget.
That would be the worst thing I could now experience.
I know that I won't ...... and yet I fear that I will.
I know that I don't have to explain that contradiction to you.
So thank you for that.

Whenever grief grips my heart and brings back that ache ...... I know for certain that I won't forget.
Not while he's around ...... my old companion Grief.
And I know that he'll be around forever.
He's not as young and strong as he once was ...... which is a good thing.  He can't impact me the way he used to (which I hope gives you hope).
But he still has the ability to make an impact.
He still has the ability to make me miss Jim so very much.
And he has the ability to take that fear away.
And that makes me love him.
Just a little bit.

So yes, we have a love/hate relationship.
Or at least I do.
Unfortunately for most of you, Grief is not very monogamous.
Which is another reason to love/hate him.

In my mind anyway.


  1. Janine,
    you always say it EXACTLY how it is.
    Thank you for that.

    1. Thank you, Anon.
      I'm glad that my posts connect with you.
      I've always tried to write the truth about grief, no matter how ugly it is ...... and we all know that it can be hugely ugly.
      Thank you for taking the time to encourage me.

  2. I have described my grief as being in an abusive relationship. You know you're going to get hit, and that it's going to hurt like hell - you just never know when or what is going to set it off. I've never thought about the love part - thank you for that.

    1. Anon,
      That's a perfect description of Grief. It is an abusive relationship. I never really thought of it like that. Thank you for sharing that with the rest of us.
      I appreciate it.

  3. Nice post. Thank you.

    1. Thank you, Anon, for taking the time to say that.
      I appreciate it.

  4. Again another great post. At almost two years out ( 19 days) I too feel that. I have changed the house to be me, but its still him. His mother told me I would forget him, how cruel this lady was. I will never forget the love that man gave me and I gave back. I wont forget that at times he knew me better than I did, and he accepted it all. I too loved him for who he was and I will never forget. I too hate/love this relationship with grief.


    1. Hi Jackie,
      Thank you so much for telling us your experience. I'm sorry that your mother in law said such a horrible thing. I have no idea why some peoples' mind works like that. I know that it goes deeper than the surface, but I don't get it.
      How does anyone think it's possible for us to forget the most important person in the world to us?
      It's not.
      And I'm glad.
      Thanks for your encouragement.

  5. Nicely put. While I am fresh - just 4 months out...I have done a lot and made a lot of changes. Which was what he told me to do. And while things have changed, in essence they have remained the same...the house is me, but him...the food is me, but I do things is me, but him...How in the world can we ever forget the loves of our lives?
    I hate grief because it makes me feel. In the same way I love it.
    Thanks, I needed this!

    1. Sue,
      I'm sorry that you have a reason to be here, but I'm glad that you are. I wish that I'd had a community like this when I was 4 months out.
      I'm glad that you've done so much and made a lot of changes. You know that's what your husband wanted for you. What a great guy.
      Thanks for taking the time to share with us and to encourage me.

  6. I like this perspective.
    It is a creative and insightful twist on the pain that grief brings. I am going to try to incorporate this view into my journey.
    On a side note, two of my sons now attend the university that my husband and I met at age certainly does bring with it bitter-sweet memories.
    Thank you for this interpretation of grief!

  7. Thank you, Coveparent. Thank you for coming here and reading .... and for commenting. We really never know if we're making an impact or not unless the readers comment. I'm thankful that I could give you a different insight on this road we're all on, but wish we weren't.
    I'm sure you, and your husband, are both very proud of your sons and the school they chose to attend. I look forward to being on campus to visit him, knowing that it will always be more difficult for me than for most parents. But the memories, though painful, are still good. And I treasure them.
    Thank you for telling me about your sons. And your experience.