Saturday Morning Message: Places That Touch Our Hearts
Author: Carol Lane
When contemplating going to a certain place after the loss of our loved ones, we put a great deal of thought into the decision. Although it is not possible to know what this young survivor in the photo is thinking, I thought it really fit today’s topic.
The varied answers this week show how survivors handle going to places that may make them feel uncomfortable. There were so many different thoughts on how to handle the situation that it helps to understand that although we may react differently, we are on the same grief journey. I hope you will connect with one or more of the responders.
Remember, you can write to me anytime just to communicate or if you have thoughts on what could make the Saturday Morning Message more helpful. I look forward to hearing from you. My email address is email@example.com.
Mother of Bryon
Question for Next Week’s Saturday Morning Message
The responses that came in this week will be shared in this week’s and next week’s Saturday Morning Messages. This may also create time for others to respond to this question: Are there places you used to go to that you now avoid after the death of your loved one?
In addition to the Saturday Morning Message, which was created so survivors can share questions and read how others respond, you might be interested in the monthly publication of the TAPS Writer’s Circle. This is a place where survivors can share essays, poems, pictures and even songs they have created. The topics are selected by the survivors. You can participate or just enjoy reading the contributions. If you are interested and would like to sign up to become part of the mailing list for the Writer’s Circle, just contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I directly receive all responses that are sent to this address. Thank you to everyone responding this week and those who read this message.
♫ Song for the Week
This week’s songs are from Liz, wife of Wayne, who wrote: "I used to listen to "I Will Not Say Goodbye" by Danny Gokey all the time and "Never Alone" by Lady Antebellum. I still love both, but right now my favorite is "Maybe It’s OK Not to Be OK" by We Are Messengers.”
You can send me favorite songs for this song of the week section at email@example.com.
ANSWERS FROM SURVIVORS
Responses from Survivors to last week’s question: Are there places you used to go that you now avoid after the death of your loved one?
From Sheryl, mother of Adam: Even after two years, visiting special places and even looking at pictures of Adam is hard. There are two places that are particularly difficult to face where I haven't returned yet.
One is my brother's home in Texas. I live a thousand miles away. It was the last place I saw Adam. I can picture exactly where we hugged and exchanged, "Love you" on December 31, 2017. Now my brother and sister-in-law are talking about selling the house. I have very mixed feelings about the possibility of never visiting there again. While I dread reliving those last moments, I also will miss all of the wonderful times we had there.
The second place I am drawn to, while being repulsed by, is the church camp in the Black Hills were my family spent many happy times. The children went to camp for several years and we had mini vacations there. The last time we spent time at the camp was to scatter Adam's father's ashes in a place we all love. Someday I'll take Adam's son there.
From Cheryl, mother of Daniel: My son, Dan, died in September 2017. We had worked at the same job, same building for several years. He had transferred to a different location 14 months before he died. Walking through the building, seeing coworkers, passing his last desk every day stirred up crazy mixed emotions. I know he really loved the industry and his job. A majority of people had no idea we were even related. In February 2018, the jobsite closed; and I was blessed to keep my job, but work from home. When I made the transition to home, I cried so hard—leaving the building was harder than leaving the funeral home. He had good friends there and I know he really enjoyed what he did.
Fortunately, my supervisor and her boss both knew him well and understood. I know the corporate guy helping me was clueless as to why I was so tearful. From Dan’s last desk (that area was empty since he died), I took his keyboard, mouse and phone just to have the smallest piece of him to take with me. If I’m in the area, I’ll pull into the parking lot and just think of him and the fun we all shared at work.
From Samira, mother of Andres: In the beginning, I tried to move from my condominium where I raised my son, Andres, since he was in third grade, but I said why do I need to run from his memories? Now, I am happy I did not move, because he was part of my life. Second, I go to the theme parks in Florida. It was so hard, because I raced with Andres through all the theme parks. I am glad I applied the same rule—why can’t I go to the places where Andres was happy? I broke that barrier. The only place I couldn’t go was Epcot, the country of Japan, until I again asked why? It was his dream to serve his country there. Now I enjoy being there, remembering everywhere I was with my son Andres and the good times!
From Beth, ex-wife of Thomas: It's very difficult to go to eating places we used to go. I also changed dentists, too, as it was too difficult having to explain that Tom died. I also have found it hard to run into people we both knew and explain he is gone. One thing that I have done is apply for a job in another area, but the bad news is I still have to visit our old neighborhood on weekends.
From Debbie, wife of Thomas: The first year Tom was dead, I was in a complete dead zone myself. I functioned and took care of what was needed, but I was just blank personally. When I did go around places people knew him it was sort of healing. At the bank, the lady we always went to was as sad as me. The people at Home Depot asked, “Where's Tom?” I was sad. Even those at Costco asked, “Where’s hubby?” It was clear they were sad as well. Tom was a very friendly man and people loved him. A year after he died, I went to get my taxes done and the tax lady looked and asked if hubby was on his way. I went to my eye checkup and the staff and doctor asked, “Where's Tom?” It was a lot, but it felt good that he was so loved by so many everywhere we lived. It made me proud and I felt better to see how loved he was.
If you would like to send a message thanking one or all of those who participated in this week’s Saturday Morning Message, send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will make sure your thoughts are passed along to them.