According to George A. Bonanno, the author of a new book called The Other Side Of Sadness, “Well over 50 percent of those who are grieving show resilience.” George says that “People are deeply pained, but from the beginning they can function. They oscillate between turning inward, to face the fact that their loved one is gone, and turning outward.” George also says that “people seem to have the equipment to deal with very difficult things.”
I think George is right. I’ve been resilient this second year as a widow. I think I was likely resilient during my first year too.
On the eve of the second anniversary of my late husband’s passing, it seems fitting that I should write him a letter and share an update with him on my resilient year. Here goes:
Lots has happened this year. Listen to all the things I accomplished…
– You would be proud of how I’ve kept your lawn all green. I hired a new landscaper and he actually showed up each week to cut the grass. It rained a lot, so the grass grew quickly. I also swept the leaves away from the basement steps. I know you never liked when the leaves cluttered the outdoor steps and sump pump. (Did I mention that I had two trees cut down this year too? I wasn’t that strong to cut the trees down by myself, I hired a tree man.)
– You were right, a house takes a great deal of work to maintain. I think our house was testing me this year to see how strong I was. First, the garage door broke and I had to get a new garage door and a garage door opener. I wasn’t strong enough to attach a new garage door to the house, I hired a garage door man.
– You were right, it takes a great deal of money to maintain a house too. Our house decided that a broken garage door was not enough for one year. After the garage door was all fixed, I noticed a crack in the basement wall. That led to an engineer inspection which found two cracked walls. Remember when we had so much rain a few years ago and we had to reinforce the side walls of the house? Well, I had to do that again this year, only on two other walls. I wasn’t strong enough to put the beams in the walls. I hired a concrete man.
– Moving on to other accomplishments this year, you should know that our son D transferred to the BIG CITY to go to school. You would be so proud of how he is doing in the BIG CITY. (Did I mention that Jay-Z wrote a great song about New York City? I like the song, but I don’t think you would.) D got an A- in Accounting and a B in Macroeconomics this semester – how fabulous is that?
– You would be so proud of our daughter A too. She is living in the BIG CITY, along with our son D, and she is doing really well as a Financial Analyst. You always said she was so smart. She is. She is.
– No, I didn’t write my book this year. Not yet. I’m so busy with work and keeping this house in shape. I’m hoping that I can report more on this subject next year. It’s a dream I have that will come true one day. Yes it will. Yes it will.
– What else happened this year? Let’s see. Your Giants football team likely won’t make it to another Superbowl in February. They didn’t do too well this season. But, you know what? Your Yankees won the World Series. Wish you were here to see them win. (Maybe you were here. I bet you were the angel in the outfield that night.) And the best part was that our son D finally made it to a Yankee parade. (Remember when he wanted to skip school and go to the Giants parade and I wouldn’t let him? Well, this year he didn’t even have to skip school, he saw the parade outside his school window. How cool is that?)
– I now have a MACBOOK computer. (I know you didn’t like Apple computers, but I really wanted one.) And you know what? I learned how to download music and put it on my iPod. My new favorite rock performer this year is Lady Gaga. I don’t think you would like her music. But, she did just meet the Queen of England.
– I managed to do all of my food shopping this year without complaining. However, I’m not as good a shopper as you used to be. Cooking for one is not the same as cooking for four or for two. My cooking is not as good as your cooking. Did I mention that I miss the risotto you used to make?
– Menopause has wreaked havoc on my body. I continue to deal with my headaches, insomnia and middle age middle.
I’ve definitely grown stronger this year, even if I can’t chop down a tree, put in a garage door, or drill beams into the foundation of a house, I’m one strong woman. I know how to hire many men to do get the job done. Looks like I finally learned how to delegate. You would be so proud of me.
I think it’s time to put up the little plaque that my friend M gave me a year ago. There’s a saying on the plaque. It says that “when someone you love becomes a memory…the memory becomes a treasure.”
I will always treasure my memories of you. And I know you will too. You’re such an angel.