Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn. C. S. Lewis.
Finding the energy to blog on The Purple Jacket has been difficult for me these past few months. Let’s face it, grieving can be a full-time ‘job’ which takes quite a bit of energy. But grieving can be healthy too. Today I experienced a form or healthy grieving by visiting Gold Coast Hospice where Richard made his life transition, to say hello to the staff and present them with gift as a token of my appreciation for the kindness and love that was demonstrated to us while we were both under their care. This visit had been planned in advance and while I was unsure of what my initial reaction would be, I knew that the staff would greet me warmly.
As I approached the Hospice unit, I was struck by the utter calmness that suddenly came upon me. My eyes immediately looked to the right as I entered the ward as Richard’s room was the first room on the right side entering the unit. As I walked past and looked in the room through the crack of the door, it seemed fitting that today, this room was vacant. Suddenly I heard, “He’s here” from the Hospice nurse who came to the house to admit Richard to the unit in March. I knew right then and there that this was going to be the right thing for me to do today!
Hugs, well wishes, great conversation and tears followed as we greeted each other and shared stories. Fittingly, we moved into ‘that room’ for my formal ‘Thank You’ to the staff. “As a part of my healing process, it was important for me to come here today to say hello, and to say ‘Thank You’ for allowing us to spend our last days together.” In the six days that we were in the hospice unit, there was not one time were I did not feel welcomed, all we felt during our stay was love…I wanted to return the favor!
“It is important for me to present you with a copy of a pictorial book which was given to me by the two great journalist from the Sun-Sentinel who followed us on our final journey together and wrote our story, “In Sickness and In Health: A Couple’s Final Journey” which was published in April.” More tears, more laughter, more love! And yes, I think it is possible to cry and be calm at the same time.
There are many books written on grieving, yet one thing is certain; grieving is an individual process that is unique to each one of us. In order for me to continue in the healing process, it was important for me to reach out and make this journey to the Hospice unit. You see, the pictorial book that was provided to me by Diane and Carline from the Sun-Sentinel is the best book on (my) grieving that I have read. I am fortunate to have such a wonderful, life-long gifts of this book, and the article in the Sun-Sentinel. By sharing the book with the Hospice staff, and subsequently, other families who come to the unit, was my way of giving back, saying thanks and continuing my grieving and healing process.
Life is much different now. There are more challenges ahead, yet in order to take on these challenges, I have to find a way to soften what has transpired. There is no easy way around grieving, it is important for me, in my grieving process, to simply just ‘own it.’ Today helped soften the anguish of missing him: May your grieving process be filled with few hills and always, a gentle breeze at your back.