Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Things That Made Me Cry .....

.... like this picture of Jim .... no longer make me cry.
Well, the majority of the time.
There are always "one of those days/weeks", but they are few and far between now.

This realization occurred to me this past weekend.  I was looking for a tote bag to use for my swim suit and towel and various other Fourth of July sundries.  I happened to choose the first one I saw.
It was a bag that Jim purchased on our last vacation.
The vacation we took with the boys to Alaska.
Not knowing, of course, that it would be .... our last.

So, I grabbed the tote, threw my stuff into it ... and then felt something in the inside pocket.  I wondered what could be in there and when I had last used it as I unzipped the pocket and looked inside.

And I discovered that I had not been the last one to use that tote.

I pulled out the items that Jim had left in the pocket and stared at them for a moment.
A highlighter, a couple of paper clips, a pen and some small stick-it notes that are used to note something on a page.

Just a few things .... things that would mean nothing to most people.
But I knew that Jim used to take reading materials with him almost everywhere we went.
He could usually be found sitting somewhere (even on a beach) with a stack of papers in one hand, a highlighter in the other, and a pen clenched in his teeth as he marked sections on a page.

And the picture of him doing just that entered my mind as I stared at those objects.

And I smiled.

It was shortly after that when I realized ..... the things that used to have the power to make me cry, to bring forth gut-wrenching pain and huge sobs of grief .....

.... now have the power to make me smile.


  1. Smiles feel so much better in my tummy, too. What an evolution, a welcome transition to a welcoming place. Wonderful to be able to smile.

  2. I long for the day that I can smile too.

  3. Janine - thank you for this hopeful post. Such beautiful pictures.
    I was at the lake on the weekend. With my long list of "must do" things I have been putting off and feeling sad to face a beautiful long weekend without my love.

    I was looking for a small hammer and went into my husbands tool cabinet in the garage. A place I have carefully avoided because everything in there reminds me of him. But, I had to find the hammer.

    So I opened the cabinet taking note of the way my husband prepared for everything. Twine, little boxes of nails and screws, fire started, a power pump for the bike tires, light bulbs and electrical tape and . . . a bag.

    A little black bag that I didn't recognize. So I opened it and as soon as I did I remembered the day we were packing for the lake and my Jim said
    "I am going to take these old pairs of jeans up there in case I need to paint". Always prepared for the work he anticipated. I have always said he improved everything he touched. And for the first time - even though my heart gave a squeeze of pain and the sadness came like its familiar wave. I didn't cry.
    I just held them for awhile and thought about how blessed I was to have such a wonderful, hardworking husband.

    As you said so well - it depends on the day. It might have been because the night before I had the "big cry" watching the sun set. Yes the gut wrenching sobs that rock you to the ground.

    I do things around there somehow in a silly way wanting him to be proud of me that I can keep things together.

    It was also that at 8 months I have moments of clarity where the grace of having him in my life seeps into every pour and for a moment it moves the grief aside. I try to stay still when they come and hold on.

    I am so happy for you to know you are there now. Where those memories are ones that can do that.

    thank you for sharing that and reminding us all - that day will come for us too.

  4. love this post!

  5. Love your post! For the first time in a little over 3 years I too have been able to smile at memories or "found treasures"... Oh, there are still days when I just dissolve into a huge puddle of uncontrolled sobbing but those days are not as often as they had been. Instead of so desperately yearning for what was... I am now so thankful to have had the beautiful life I shared with my husband. I was overcome recently by the thought that John would want me to live my life and be happy... I don't know, maybe he placed that thought in my head! :) So, I'm working diligently on being happy.. some days are better than others but I'm trying and on those "other days" I feel my grief and that is ok too. For those who are new to this journey, I wish you peace for the days ahead and for the wonderful people who write these blogs... thank you for your inspiration!

  6. thanks for giving me hope!

  7. I love that.... Thank you for your words!