Thursday, December 31, 2015

My New Title

Today my oncologist referred to me as a survivor.  I can’t begin to convey the feeling that came with that label.  It is an incredible way to finish the year.  

Saturday, December 26, 2015

How Aunt Dorothy Saved my Life

I was never close to my Aunt Dorothy.  She always treated me well, she seemed nice, she even gave me cool Christmas gifts; but that’s not the same as close.  I was therefore surprised at my mother’s funeral, when she walked up to me, waited until she had my full attention and then told me the wisest thing I have ever heard regarding grief.  I have read books, attended countless workshops, and talked with some noteable experts on grief.  None of them contained the brilliance of her thinking.  Her words are enshrined in my heart.
“William, hold onto her as long as you need to, then let her go.  Don’t listen to anyone who tells you to move on before you’re ready.  Don’t set a time limit on your grief.  Hold onto her as long as you need to, then and only then let her go.”  
She was right.  You can’t put a time limit on grief.  It ebbs and flows throughout your life.  While you may not feel anything at a gravesite, a tune on the radio can trigger tears.  You may not feel anything for a long time, then a holiday or anniversary may unleash a wave of sadness.   
Grief is an unavoidable part of life.  I do believe that avoiding grief can physically hurt the body.  Keeping that kind of pain within you will damage your body over time.  With that one little comment my Aunt Dorothy may have saved my life.