Dana lives in Seattle, and Tracie lives in Germany. We are businesswomen, writers and humorists. We write about life, dating, and today's modern women.
Yesterday, I found this photo taken nearly twenty years ago, and I was flooded with memories.
I was a young mother with analysis paralysis, reading every parenting book I could get my hands on. I was juggling Brett’s piano recitals, Kumon Math and Soccer with Taryn’s Mommy and Me playdates, and still nursing with a SNS feeder due to lactation issues. I was working along side my mom in our family business. We were re-building our apartment rental business after my parent’s divorce and a costly receivorship. Married only eight short years, life was good, however, I had known pain. I’d suffered a miscarriage, my father, step daughter, 2 beloved uncles, and my maternal grandmother had all passed away within a few years of this photo.
As I try to share with my children the hardships that life can deliver, such as our Pandemic today, I’m sharing a true story which altered my views and outlook all those years ago. It was about the time this photo was taken, as I recall Taryn, my daughter, now 19 years old was a baby. As I mentioned our family was hit with a succession of deaths. Brett, my son, now 26, was 7 in this photo and he was attending St. Joseph School, where I found a bereavement group. My mother and I joined approximately a dozen others, all suffering with losses of loved ones. One man had lost his partner. He was gay and his lover’s family had banned him from their shared home. A woman found out her husband had been unfaithful, through a new device called internet emails. A woman had lost her mom, and their relationship had been fragile. After my parent’s divorce and my father’s subsequent passing, my mother had leaned on her brothers as a solid foundation and support. Suddenly two were gone. We all went around the room and shared our despair of never seeing our loved one again. We had fear of what the future would behold without them. Some shared anger that they had left so young or sudden. But the common thread was overall GRIEF.
The final participant in our group was an elderly man, I’m guessing in his late 80s. With a gray, unmanaged beard covering his deeply creviced, sun damaged skin, he shared that he had recently lost his wife of 60 years.
We all sighed in unison when he exhaled and said, “And, I’m so glad the G*%#damn BITCH is gone!” While others gasped, I had a hard time holding back my shocked startled laughter. I tried to pull it together to no avail. My mother tried to pinch me which only made me laugh harder until tears streamed down my face. Embarrassed by my outburst, I finally pulled my composure together and asked, “Well then why are you here in this grieving group?” He explained that he was there grieving the loss of his own life and all the years of misery that his deceased wife had made him endure.
Can you imagine that revelation? That was truly one of my life’s biggest lessons and I’m grateful that he enlightened me. Never let anyone steal your joy. That day, I vowed NEVER to look back on a day, no matter how hard the struggle and not be able to smile. Yes, we are all suffering right now. Life as we knew it has changed for the foreseeable future. We wear masks, and elbow bump when we greet each other. Many are alone, some are in financial duress, others are fighting illness, but just remember, if you’re going through hell, keep on going…just don’t stay for 60 years!