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By: Mari Nardolillo Dias, contributing writer
Death is associated with a lot of little losses. Heather’s husband recently passed, and she speaks of the series of losses. “The first day after the funeral, the lack of laundry caused me to sob uncontrollably. Preparing a dinner for one was devastating. Every little task is a reminder that he’s gone. Nighttime is the most difficult. The silence hurts my ears. The only sound, the ticking of the grandfather clock seems to mock me – reminding me of all the minutes he’s been gone. All the minutes I am alone.
According to Heather, there is a renewed loss when seasons change as well. Ronnie passed in the winter. Heather laments not sharing the last snowfall; something Ronnie loved to experience. He would gather wood for the fire, excited at the prospect of a traditional New England evening. Once the fire blazed, he would make hot chocolate and add a shot of rum, set up a blanket in front of the fire, and he and Heather would spoon on the blanket, watching the fire and breathing in the love and silence.
Now it’s April. Spring. It’s another sudden reminder that catches her off-guard. Ronnie s not here. What will happen to his garden? The empty hammock swings, taunting her. The bird feeder is busy, mosquitoes are back, and the egrets have returned. But Ronnie has not. Heather dreads the segue of seasons, knowing the loss will be painfully renewed.
We don’t want or need to be reminded of our loss. It sits on our chest. Yet there are times where, for a fleeting moment we smile, we laugh, we forget. And then there’s the laundry, the solo dinner, and the change of seasons. And we remember. Again. And again.
Dr. Mari Dias is a nationally board-certified counselor, holds a Fellow in Thanatology and is certified in both grief counseling and complicated grief. Dias is a Certified death doula, and has a Certificate in Psychological Autopsy.
She is Professor of Clinical Mental Health, Master of Science program, Johnson & Wales University. Dias is the director of GracePointe Grief Center, in North Kingstown, RI. For more information, go to: http://gracepointegrief.com/ .
Dias is the author of GriefSPEAK, Vol. 1: Stories of Loss