Loss

April 25th, 2008

Okay, so I have been really sucky about posting on here lately. I keep trying to set aside time to do this, but that only works if your husband doesn’t have to go out of town unexpectedly, your work life isn’t crazy, and you don’t get sick. Yeah, it’s been one of those months.

I had hoped to write about this last week, but time got away from me a little bit, so I guess you’ll have to settle for it now. Last Friday I went to the funeral of a colleague of mine. I have only been in my current job for around ten months, and I generally only saw this person twice a month at a specific committee meeting, so I didn’t know them well. I mainly went to pay my respects and because I felt like it was the right thing to do.

Despite the fact that I barely knew this person, I couldn’t help but tear up when another colleague got up to say a few words. And again at the cemetary as the casket was marched to the grave to the haunting sound of bagpipes playing “Amazing Grace.” Not knowing this person well, I could hardly say I was crying because I was going to miss them, though I think had I gotten to know them better, I probably would have.

I think it’s hard when attending a funeral like this – one where you are too far removed to be drowning in your own loss – you can’t help but think about others you know who have died, or who might be dying. I struggle as I write about this because it seems like it’s an unwritten rule in our house that we can’t discuss the possibility of Sean’s stepdad passing away – I’m not sure Sean and the rest of his family are ready to face that possibility, but it’s one I do think about from time to time. I’m not entirely sure Sean will be comfortable with me writing about it, but I hope he understands.

I know I’ve written about this before, but I think it is even more relevant as suddenly Jim’s health has been questionable lately. Although it was a hard blow the first time we learned about his cancer, it seems almost harder to me now because we were all lulled into this false sense of security about it. He’s been acting and looking so healthy for so long now, that I know I (and probably several others) truly believed there was a chance he would beat the unbeatable cancer and live a long and happy life. While denial may be a more comfortable place for some in his family (and I don’t fault them for that – everyone copes differently), I know that I’ve always dealt better with acknowledging the reality of a situation and the possibility that the worst may happen. I don’t admit that to Sean, but it’s the only way I can deal with all of this for myself and for Aedan.

As Sean has been traveling back and forth and trying to figure out what he needs to do next, I’ve been too wrapped up in day-to-day details to allow myself to feel much of anything about all of this. I have had to support Sean and take care of Aedan, and that doesn’t leave me much time to break down in between. I’m not complaining about it, it’s just a fact. I think attending that funeral last week may have been an occasion for me to finally allow some of those feelings to seep through the layer of control I’ve so carefully been maintaining and feel some of the loss I know I will feel if and when Jim is gone.

I also don’t think I realized how different and sometimes difficult the dealing/grieving process is when you are accomodating someone else’s coping style that is so very different from your own. This may be something you learn as time goes on and you are confronted with this more often. It sometimes feels strange to still be learning new things about how we work together as a couple when we’ve been together for awhile already. But I suppose it’s our willingness to learn and adapt that makes us keep working together.