“Embrace” is my word for 2014.  It seemed perfect since I have so many new situations to embrace in my life.  In the last three years I have participated (using that word very loosely) in Ali Edwards’ One Little Word.  I was always faithful for at least the first month, as you can see here, and here, and here.  Nothing up yet for 2014 — I can’t seem to get going on it.  And of course, the Focus on Life challenge which I did last week, now a minimal color self photo.   And various other things for which I have signed up — life goes on.  Or so they say.

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Ten days.  People expect you to grieve for ten days.  People call, visit and bring food for ten days.  I think of myself as a strong person, and I think most people I know think of me that way too.  Sure I can understand the confused and disoriented widows that I see in my accounting practice — their husband took care of everything and they have never been alone.  Me?  I’ve lived alone, and enjoy the quiet solitude.  There is very little around the house that I can’t do or find someone to do.  I knew our finances; I did our tax return.  No problem.

I planned a visitation and funeral.  I wrote thank you notes.  I set everything necessary in motion for an estate.  I sorted, tossed, filed, donated, stored — from early morning until I collapsed at night.  I traveled to south FL to visit with his elderly father.  Sure there were a few quirky things that I struggled to do.  But slowly, I marked them off my list.  After all, it’s been almost three months.  Connie is fine — she’s strong.  Not taking new clients, and even letting go of a few was my plan to make up for me maybe not being quite up to par.

This week, I discovered — Connie isn’t fine.  My dear, dear friend — my college roommate, wrote me a note talking about grief since she had experienced the sudden and unexpected death of her brother years ago.  She said she read everything she could on grief.  I, who buys a book about anything that comes to mind, had never thought to get a book.  Maybe I don’t know anything about grief and should read a bit.

As I read and cried, I saw myself in the book.  My exhaustion which no amount of sleep overcomes.  My exhaustion which had made me think that swift death is surely on my heels too.  The scenarios that go through my mind — if he had called, if he had stayed home, I know I could have saved him.  He would have had more years; we could have done the things we had planned.  My inability to multi-task  How easily I am overwhelmed with things that once were mere irritations.  Simply put, I’m not fine.

Grief isn’t something that one decides whether or not to do, I’ve learned.  There is no time limit.  Embrace is after all the perfect word for 2014.  And the first thing that I need to embrace is grief.  In time, I hope to embrace much more, but for now, I’m going to be gentle (this is tough for me) and give myself time to heal.


  1. Connie, you will come out of this strong. Nearly 35 years ago I lost my husband to suicide, I had 3 daughters, 7,11,and 13. I thought I would cry myself to sleep forever. Time really does heal! We all grieve in our own way and time. I too read many helpful books, but we each are different so don’t demand too much of yourself. You will EMBRACE your new normal in time. Embrace is also my word for many different reasons, but I will be thinking of you and praying for you this year.
    Always, Marilyn

    • Oh my goodness, Marilyn. I can certainly see why you would have been devastated. What a huge responsibility left to you. Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words. I really appreciate this wonderful online world of caring women. I hope EMBRACE helps you in whatever you intend.

  2. Dear Creative friend, yes, we all experience grief and grieving in very, very individual ways. We sometimes make light of other cultures, other times, when grieving was very open and very respected. At one time people knew and understood that one does not just get over a loss quickly. It takes time to weave life back into a shroud of death. Be kind to you. Take time not only to embrace — but to actually FEEL that embrace. With love!

  3. How are you doing my creative friend? It’s been a while since this blog post and I’m checking up (embracing you?) to make sure you are okay. Here’s to hoping that you are loving yourself a wee bit more each day and that your spirit is being gently lifted with each breath you take along this journey towards a life reconstructed. Blessings!

  4. There is nothing easy about grieving. It takes time. A lot of time to begin to adjust to the emptyness left behind, until a person is ready for the new and the different that needs to be embraced. Thinking of you.

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