Grandma Gertie always said there's not a savory dish that can't be made tastier by just a touch of tarragon.

Tsunami and Me

Tsunami and Me
too big to escape now....

Saturday, April 3, 2010

No Two Alike: Fingerprints, Snowflakes and Grief

A Cup of Comfort for Fathers was released April 1. It contains my story, "Montana Bananas and Sure Shots," about how my late husband, Ken, raised his three sons to be non-gamblers in Reno, Nevada, while he and their mother both worked for decades in the gaming industry.

It's available at

I received contributor's copies weeks ago, and mailed them to Ken's three sons. I signed them "in memory of your dad."

Every day I remember their dad. A friend e-mailed yesterday that she now was a part time bachelorette, since her husband has taken a job in Spokane, and stays at an apartment there during the week. She said it's quite an adjustment. I responded that as a widow of less than a year I don't have trouble getting through the days. It's in the evenings when I miss sharing the day's events, watching the news together, taking turns cooking supper. Most of all, holidays don't seem like holidays at all when you're just home alone.

Tomorrow morning I won't be searching around the house to see where Ken has hidden my Easter bunny. I won't expect a chocolate egg. Most painful, I won't see his signature lopsided smile when he opens the funny Easter card I always had so much fun picking out.

Yesterday I received a packet from the Neptune Society. Since Ken's cremation last June, they've sent surprises to help assuage my loss...wildflower seeds to plant in his memory, a certificate indicating a teddy bear had been donated in his name to a child who was alone, scared or hurt. The packet contained a brochure with an article about how we use words to soothe those who are grieving. The article indicated that the words "recovery" or "resolution" may not be the most appropriate, because they suggest a return to normalcy.

Recently I wrote a submission for an upcoming Chicken Soup for the Soul book tentatively titled "Grief and Recovery." My story is called "Not Quite Unbearable," and I won't know for months whether it will be accepted. But I recall thinking that there was something not quite right about that book's proposed title. When I did grief training for Arkansas Department of Health nurses who would be interviewing bereaved moms statewide when our Maternal and Child Health Division had a Fetal Infant Mortality Review grant, I stressed that we don't really recover from loss. We incorporate the loss and eventually move on...but the loss remains with us.

The Neptune Society brochure cites Dr. Alan Wolfelt, Ph.D., from the Center for Loss and Life Transition in Ft. Collins, CO. He suggests that the term "reconciliation" might be a better one to describe the process of moving from looking back to looking towards the future.

I especially appreciated this: "Remember, grief is like a fingerprint...It is unique. No two people will experience it in the same way. Be patient and give yourself time."

Tomorrow morning, rather than mourning the loss of Easter bunnies, and depending on whether those predicted flakes of snow actually descend, I might take Natty for a long walk around the Loop...or maybe even drive to town. A young pastor I've worked with in our anti-poverty Horizons group, will be preaching.

Easter blessings, bunnies or no.


  1. Hi Terri,
    Your Easter post eas so timely for me. I lost my dad suddenly on March 7 so I've been thinking a lot about you integrate it into your it's different for every person who grieves...and how you grieve differently for each person you lose...anyway, thanks for the post and the "reconciliation" idea. Best, Justine

  2. "we don't really recover from loss. We incorporate the loss and eventually move on...but the loss remains with us." - how true that has been for me-- my late husband passed away almost a year ago and the loss does remain with me and will forever. and how true- that no one grieves in the same way, just like no tow fingerprints nor snowflakes... my daughter and I grief very differently but both very valid. thanks for sharing your story