Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Friend in Life and Death

One of the bad things about working is that I'm not home for nine hours and the boys have to fend for themselves. I feel as though I am not in touch with them - when I get home I am so exhausted I just collapse after getting everyone dinner. Then I go to bed early or frantically clean because of the house being on the market and tomorrow is the house inspection.

When I got home yesterday, I saw a memorial card from a funeral on the table and saw that it was for a teenage boy. I was not aware of a student in our community dying because I have been at work nonstop and haven't been keeping up with the news. It turns out that a friend of my oldest son since 7th grade died last week. While I was at work, he got dressed up and found a ride to get to the wake on his own. While there, he stood by his friend's open casket and talked to his friend's father for 30 minutes. He related that he patted his friend goodbye and that many of the kids there could not even approach the casket.

I was blown away by my son's maturity and actions. That he handled paying a tribute to his friend on his own without any assistance from me is amazing. But then to have the composure and strength to talk to his friend's grieving father for 30 long minutes is even more impressive!

I asked my son if he is more comfortable with death because of his Dad dying when he was 10 and he agreed with that. He did cry at the service, which I think is good.

I hate this job that takes me away from being with my boys when they need me but if I had been at home I would have driven my son to the wake and funeral. My not being there has shown me the depth of his character and soul. There aren't enough words to express the pride I now feel for this young man who has suffered so much but can also give so much.

Today I am grateful:

1. That there is still money left in the checking account with payday a day away.
2. That my son showed respect for his friend and his friend's family.
3. That both boys have been able to make mature decisions while I am working so although I worry, I also trust them.
4. For my job that does put food on the table.
5. For my sons' strength and perseverance.


  1. I've been reading your blog for a while now but have never commented. Although our situations are very different, I lost my dad at a young age.

    I was so touched to read about your son's maturity and grace. I'm sure it was a comfort to the bereaved father that a friend of his son cared enough to reach out.

    You have obviously done a phenomenal job of raising your boys. Kudos to you.

  2. I stumbled across your blog a few weeks ago. I am not widowed but a friend of mine recently was widowed after a tragic accident. Even though I have not been widowed I feel I can relate to your blog on many levels; I was divorced three years ago (after seven years o marriage) and in the process lost "our" business, my dogs (I could not take them where I moved too), my home, my job. Made more difficult by a nearly non existent relationship with my family. I finally started to rebuild my life when I was made redundant 6 months ago. I have yet to find another job and have been having some major health problems as well. I am eternally grateful to have met and married (1 year in September) the most amazing man. I still struggle with my divorce, losing my house, my relationship with my family and losing my job but I am doing the best I know how. I feel and understand at least some of your pain and I know just by reading your blog briefly that you will get through your latest struggles however draining they may be. You are a wonderful mother to your boys and an intelligent and strong woman. I just know that true happiness will find you again. I suppose I really just want you to know that your blog has inspired me and made me feel less alone (when I divorced I moved away and don't have any friends that I can confide in here). I will be thinking of you and wish you all the best. Bec.

  3. Wifey and Anonymous, thank you so much for reading and commenting. When I first started this blog it was my hope to have contact with those facing losses besides the death of a spouse. Everyday, I think about the impact the death of their Dad has on my sons. And what I don't think many realize, is that the loss of a home/job/marriage/relationship can be devastating, especially when isolated or estranged from family.

    I recently read that the loss of a home/foreclosure is currently considered more challenging than facing the death of a spouse! So I am interested in connecting with others out there facing this very painful event. It would also be good to hear from those having faced the loss of a parent in childhood. So much of the emphasis of the grief books is on getting through the first year - but it has been five years for me and I'm still struggling. I'd like to see more research and personal stories of those talking about the loss years down the road because it just doesn't go away or hide.

    I appreciate the time you took to read and respond. It was my New Year's resolution to start a blog and I told myself that if I even just made one person out there not feel so alone or crazy it would be worth it!

  4. I have never lost a parent but I did not have a good upbringing. I honestly think that that affects every day of my life and always will. Rather like a loss of a husband/father would (but in different ways). Some things are you are just not able to get over and it is more about how to live a productive life with "it" (an amazing therapist told me that many years ago and that simple sentence changed my life). I was so set on getting over "it", problem was that was never going to happen. Knowing that I never had to be over it was like a huge relief for me. Instead of fighting a losing battle I worked on how to manage the pain of the past so as still to live a fulfilled life. That realization was a turning point in my life.

    The foreclosure of my house was much more worse for me in many ways than that of my divorce. To have to prove where you spent what money, like I was some kind of criminal... People are kind of understanding to a divorce situation but in my experiences not so a foreclosure/bankruptcy. I will never volunteer to anyone what happened financially even people whom I am "close" to except for my husband. I was in an abusive relationship yet family and friends encouraged me to stay so I could save the house. I was in an executive level management position trying to support an ailing business (that I bought or my husband because he could not keep a job - I was so blind and stupid) and pay for a house. I ended up hating my job, hating my house and hating myself. I ultimately walked away. I dropped the keys off for the house with my attorney and left town. I could no longer face it. I did still have to face court etc. What I did was one of the hardest things I have ever done (especially with no support) but I would 100% do it again. Often I think what if I had tried harder to save the house but at the time I emotionally could not and I think even if I had stayed as the economy worsened I still would have lost everything. If I had not made the decision to do what I did I would never have met my second husband (and I was so not looking to be married again) and he is way better than I deserve. I am not overly religious but I do believe that someone was looking out for me when they sent him into my life.

    Any way I hope my experiences can some how help you. Bec.

  5. Thank you for your wonderful blog. I became a widow in 1991, when our 4 children were 15-25 years old. The process of grieving and beginning to heal is still fresh in my mind. I, too, have seen my children respond to those who have lost a loved one, or just in a difficult situation. Though we never "get over" the pain, we come to terms with it, I think, and it's a testament to the power of growth and healing. All these years later, my children still miss their dad and wish he could share in the milestones of their lives. Though we all live in different states now, we are close and fondly remember the growing up years when we get together for holidays or family events. I believe connecting to people eases the pain and allows us to give comfort, no matter what the situation. My best wishes, Judy S.

  6. Bec -

    Thanks for your follow-up reply. It has given me courage and hope to believe that I'll get out of this financial nightmare eventually and maybe even meet a man who will totally accept me (losses and all). I really understand how you felt about the foreclosure/bankruptcy - you do see yourself as a criminal and in my case I also feel very guilty and a failure for not being able to save my home, although there was nothing I could do once the economy fell so far.

    I would love to know how you met your husband if you'd ever want to share that.

    Your comment about the advice of your therapist explaining that we never get over great losses, just learn how to live with them was very, very insightful and helpful to me. Thank you for sharing it.

    One of my favorite self-help authors, Dave Richo talks about the art of surrender. That sometimes it is the better solution to give in gracefully to the facts of reality instead of continuing to fight and try to control the situation. That the act of surrendering is actually more courageous than continuing the fight. I see that in you when you gracefully surrendered by dropping the house keys off and leaving town.

  7. Anonymous -

    Thank you for sharing your insight and personal experience. You mentioned being widowed in 1991 and still remembering the process of grieving and healing. Where are you now in the process? All the emphasis with grief books is on the early years of healing but I want to learn more about the long-term nature of living with a significant loss. Maybe you can shed some insight.

  8. To answer your question, I met my husband at a coffee shop! We are very opposite personality types but want the same things in life, so it works. We are both nothing like people we thought we would end up with but exactly what each of us needed... It was a bit of a rough ride to get where we are at and we are still learning and growing together...

  9. Bec -

    Thanks for your reply back. I believe that the single most important aspect of a successful relationship/marriage is the ability of two people to learn and grow together. I am happy that you found that in your second marriage!