Sunday, January 16, 2011

Discussing Grief

Chris reading the boys a bedtime story.

With a 3:30 a.m. wake up for Chris, I think bedtime books put him to sleep too.

My friend Joanne and I were chatting on the phone this week. As a recent widow, she mentioned her need for some adult conversation. So, we arranged a dinner play date. Collin and I joined Joanne and her three year old son for dinner followed by lots of basement play.

I entered the evening wondering how our conversation would flow. Would we discuss her late husband and the previous difficult months? Or, would we choose to engage in light, breezy chit chat and fill the air with words, muffling any emotions that could bubble to the surface?

Joanne took the conversation lead, and discussed her grief in depth. She said, "Grief is a funny thing." But, as our conversation progressed I didn't find grief funny, as much as plain painful. Her words fluttered between tender moments, amusing memories, deep regrets, and finally to painful recollections.

She mentioned her hardest moments are in the evening. A few months ago, she had a partner to laugh, converse, and share the highs and lows of parenting. Now, she faces her nights alone. She teared up, and my eyes began to water too.

At the end of the night, I came home to Chris (dog tired). I shared my evening and asked him, "What would you miss the most if something happened to me?" He smirked and then replied (in jest), "Laundry service, dishwashing, childcare." We laughed and exchanged a few more jabs.

The truth is, I'd miss that...the laughter, the connection, the company. My heart goes out to Joanne and hope we (and others) can provide just a sliver of the companionship she needs.

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