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Dealing With Loss

By Edward A. Rinderle
Posted: 09/30/2023

On the morning of Sunday, July 30, 2023, my dear wife, Jean, died suddenly.    

Six weeks have gone by since that tragic event.  During those days, I have struggled to cope, to survive, in the hope that some day I will be able to move on.  Through my efforts, and with the support of my family, friends I have known for many years, and new friends at Pasadena Village, I have identified a few ideas that have helped.  I offer them in the hope that you, too, will find them helpful should you ever be confronted with a similar tragedy.  

Don't rush into trying to do too much too soon.  Slow down.  Give yourself time.  And try to be patient.

Lean into your grief.  By that I mean let it come, feel it fully.  How?  Try talking to your deceased loved one out loud.   I give Jean a running account of my day as it happens.   It makes me feel like I am sharing the day with her.  I look at her pictures, the wall hangings she purchased, her stuffed animals, all of the reminders of who she was, and I feel her presence.  And sometimes I cry.  It's OK to cry.  Crying is part of the healing process. 

Talking out loud also helps me to focus.  As I navigate through my usual routines, I sometimes find myself forgetting something along the way.  Or I forget whether I've done something or not.  Talking to myself aloud helps me remember.  And I often end up laughing at myself.  Yes, it is OK to laugh.  Just as crying can help you heal, so can laughing.

Talking to myself is particularly important to me when I've driving.  If I feel my mind wandering, I blurt out “Focus, Ed.  Focus!”  And I snap back to attention.

Balance your time to grieve with time to do the things you love.  For me, the things I love include reading, fiddling with my fantasy baseball team, taking walks.  And even though Jean is no longer with me, I continue to go to Peet's for coffee about three times a week.  

Socialize as much as you can without violating your time to grieve.  See family and friends, in person or via the phone.  Dare to seek new friends via activities within the community.  Pasadena Village is a excellent source of such activities.      

Even simple interactions help.  When running an errand, visiting a doctor, or  taking a walk, try saying more than just “good  morning” to whoever you meet.  When I do so, I almost always get a friendly response.  Practicing these kinds of interactions gives me a lift and makes me feel more like a part of the community of humanity.  

Ask for help.  Seek help from both family and friends, and within the community.  The opportunities are there.  Make use of them.   And if someone invites you to “call anytime”, by all means do it.  

Engage with nature.  On your walks, take in your surroundings.  Look and see, listen and hear, sniff and smell, touch and feel.  The world in your neighborhood is full of wonders.  

Listen to music.  Soothing music helps me relax.  Triumphant music gives me the strength to work through my grief.  I prefer classical music, but the music world offers many choices.  Listen to your favorites.  But listen.  Even the sad numbers can help you grieve.  

As you read my list above, please remember that I am a novice at this grieving process. I am barely beginning.  But perhaps some of my thoughts will help you as they have helped me. 



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