Sunday, February 28, 2010
One Small Step for a Man...
Walking the labyrinth at Grace Cathedral
Originally uploaded by Hollen
Today I have been thinking a lot about the fact that in two weeks it will officially be 6 months since Michael died, meaning 6 months that I have been in mourning, grieving as a widower. As I wrote this last sentence I stopped for a minute to google a question that came to mind. What exactly is the difference between grief and mourning. I had my own ideas, but was curious about how others described it. In a nutshell, here is what I found. Grief is an internal response to loss. Mourning is taking the internal grief we have and expressing it externally.
With that in mind, what exactly am I doing here, meaning on this blog? I am writing about my internal process. I suppose you could say I am externally expressing my internal process. Can you tell that I'm a bit focus-challenged today?
In thinking about the 6 month mark, I began thinking about where I am in my grieving process. I have been feeling like it is time to start moving forward, maybe taking some small steps in letting go of the things I use as crutches in my clinging to Michael. What I thought I would initially do was begin sorting through his clothing. When Michael's mother visited last month we went through most of his belongings, mostly talking about what he had, the stories behind them, and what was important to her, what was important to me. When it came to his clothing she said to take my time with it. She said that when I am ready I could put aside what I wanted to keep, then box up the rest. She will allow Michael's brother, and nephew, to pick out some items, then donate the rest to her local hospice thrift store.
All weekend I have been looking at Michael's clothing, pretty much already knowing which items hold the most sentiments for me, but I didn't actually touch anything. I decided that it is something I'll perhaps start tomorrow, or next weekend, but not today. Since I was on the computer I realized I hadn't checked his email in some time. During these past months, I have been checking his email account a couple of times a month, just to see if there was any forgotten business to attend to, or to make sure there wasn't anyone trying to reach him, not knowing he had passed away. After combing through all the new email, I decided that there was nothing new of significance, so it was time to close the account.
Before I could close Michael's email account I needed to find out how to back up the saved folders in the account. Michael had a lot of important information in there, especially from all of his prior genealogy research. I doubt that his brother, or nephew and nieces, will do anything with it, but perhaps another relative may ask one day. There may also be a point where re-reading old email will be important to me, and I want to have it saved. This led me to doing some research online about how to copy and save the various folders, each of which contain hundreds of email messages. After reading many approaches to this task, I made a choice, and moved forward. I was quite pleased with myself once I had completed the task. And, after checking, and re-checking, the saved folders, it came time to click the tab that closed the account.
I took a deep breath, and gently pressed the cursor. Closed.
I was calm. I knew it was a good choice, and it was the right time. Exhale.
Okay, I'm lying. It was nothing like that. Just thinking about closing the account had me in tears. Each time I started the process for each folder I would be glancing at the various emails, and wanting to find a piece of Michael that I may have not noticed before. My heart was racing. My anxiety increased. My breathing became labored, and I cried some more.
Before deciding to address the email account I was considering closing his Facebook account. I decided that it too was perhaps keeping me from moving forward. I decided that it was time to change my relationship status from married to widowed, but that required that I either close his account, or sever our Facebook relationship. I had decided that I needed to make a decision, so I clicked on the link from my account to his. And there, on his wall, was a recent note from one of his cousin's daughters, telling him how much she loved him and missed him.
I couldn't do it. Tears. More tears. How can I deprive someone, like his cousin's daughter, from posting him a message? Thus the decision to say, "sorry Hotmail, off with your head!" Well, perhaps it wasn't that dramatic. But tears were involved.
Originally uploaded by [rich]
Next on the chopping block, the closet! And, no. I haven't been in there for quite some time.