A few years ago, in the aftermath of my father’s death, I was called to tune the piano in the home of a man who had lost his wife within the previous few months. She had always been the person to arrange the tunings. In his attempts to heal, he was following her habits, taking over tasks that had always been hers. So he called me to tune the piano, even though the main piano player was no longer around.
Given my fresh loss, and his, we fell into conversation about our experiences. There is healing to be found by talking with someone who walks the same path you walk. When I headed to my next appointment, my spirit had been lifted by sharing our separate and individual grief.
Dan Deener is the man who grieved for his beloved wife Lin. Before I left his home, he gave me a link to find a special analogy he wanted to share. Over the past few years, I have shared his story with others who faced a new loss. I am always amazed at the healing power to be found by simply sharing a personal story with others who hurt.
This is Dan’s story:Many years ago when I lost my father suddenly and unexpectedly I came up with this metaphor for the grief I was dealing with. I was struggling and it hurt so much. It was as if God handed you a bucket of grief and it was soooo heavy. You had to get up every morning and carry it with you. You didn’t know how you could carry it but you did. But, every morning when you could swing your feet over the edge of the bed and get up you were entitled to take a scoop of sand from the bucket. Every time you cried, every time you smiled with a pleasant memory, every time some one said how much your loved one meant to them, every time you told some one a story about your loved one, every holiday you must endure without them, every anniversary, every birthday, every night when you go to bed……………….you get to take another scoop of sand from your bucket. You get the idea. The bucket gets lighter but there is always more sand in the bucket and you will have to carry it the rest of your life. Such is the cost of loving some one. As I sit in front of the computer and tears run down my cheeks, guess what. I get to take another scoop of sand from my bucket. I hope we can help each other make our load lighter.
Many thanks to Dan Deener for permission to share his story here today. And with compassion, I think of all my friends who are nursing pain and loss of their own. I think of those who face this holiday season for the first time in their lives without a special loved one. I think of Cheryl, of Madeline, Kelley, Travis, Scott, Linda and Michael, Maureen, Derek, Barbara, Ann, Helena, Daniel, and Vickie. I also think of Jim, and Mary, Sheryl, Marcel, Travis, Ralph, Mildred, Derek, Kay, Chaz, Gary, Donte, Mike, Jan, Ashley, Wayne, Phoebe, Allison, Juanita, Betty, Jeff, Roxy, and Joyce who continue to feel the void of beloved family members through the passing years. I think of Grizzly, and Barbara, and others who struggle with health issues of their own or in their families.
And I want to say, “You are not alone.”
With each passing day of this holiday season, we can all take another scoop of sand from our buckets of grief. By connecting with others who know what it’s like, we can all help each other make our loads lighter.