Help for Healing

Bitter & Sweet, living daily with grief



I love the sun.  I love to feel the warmth of baking myself, even though its supposedly bad for me.  So around here, there is only a few months to enjoy this.  I have discovered though that the sun and heat are really not that enjoyable if there is not a pool nearby to cool off in whenever you feel like it  🙂

Over the years, I have really grown to love autumn.  I love the crisp air.  Isn’t that a great word?  It’s perfect. CRISP air.  I love wearing sweatshirts too so I think that has something to do with it.  I love orange and pumpkins and scarecrows.  I don’t love winterizing my yard, but that’s ok.

But now, (just like the title of my book), autumn is bitter and sweet.  This Sunday, October 14, will be the two year anniversary of Tim’s death.  Dave decided he wanted to have a few friends over for a small party.  We remembered last year, we came up with the term “REBIRTH-DAY”,  ‘cuz Dad was reborn into heaven on this day.

On a conscious level, I don’t stress about the “anniversary”.  My friend even asked me a couple of weeks ago what my plans were for the day and I didn’t even remember why the day was significant.  But my soul and body remember.  The crisp autumn air reminds my senses of what a difficult time of year this was in 2010.   And on a conscious level, I am reminded of the details of those days as I write the book.

I feel like I’m heading in the wrong direction sometimes.  This year feels worse than last when I wake up some days and want to bite everyone’s heads off, for no reason in particular.  Or it feels worse when I find myself in the middle of a crying jag I can’t control.

But I’ve had a couple of reliable sources tell me that I am significantly “better” than last year.  While I don’t really remember, apparently last year I was complaining of sitting on the couch and staring into space for hours at a time, feeling unable to even get up.  So I’m glad to know that.  I’m glad to know that in actuality, I am doing “better”.

I am writing a book, taking care of my property, running a business, trying to be a mom with some sort of competence, being a daughter who tries to take care of her dad, and even attempting to be a decent significant other.  And I only bite the heads off of people who love me deeply and give me a pass …  because its October.  And my heart and soul know, that along side the beautiful, crisp air, is a deep and profound sadness.  But strength.  And hope.

Ah, the bitter and sweet.

Author: Help for Healing

My name is Darcy Thiel. What people say they appreciate most about me is my genuine nature. I utilize my professional and personal experiences to increase my understanding and compassion to help others. My career has many faces, so let me tell you about a few. I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in NY State and am a couple and family therapist. As an Adult Planning Specialist and End of Life Doula, I take my experiences with my parents’ and husband's illnesses and passing to help others navigate the crazy, complicated medical world we live in. This dovetails with the books I have written. Bitter and Sweet: A Family’s Journey with Cancer, the prequel to Life After Death, on This Side of Heaven is an honest and raw perspective on coping with the diagnosis and subsequent loss of Tim, my spouse. I have done extensive speaking on the above topics through live audiences, radio shows, and an occasional TV spot. For more information, see my websites at,, or Copyright Help for Healing by Darcy Thiel © 2012-2019. All rights reserved.

2 thoughts on “October

  1. As I read your blog today, I instantly thought about my favorite season – Winter. Well, maybe not the blizzards, freezing temperatures, and chilly winds but the Christmas holiday. As a child I remember the smell of baking cookies, hot chocolate, sitting around the Christmas tree with all the lights off in the room except the tree lights, Elvis Presley’s Blue Christmas playing in the background, watching the snow falling slowly outside with those huge beautiful snowflakes and of course the family gatherings. I use to love the holiday season. Then 16 years ago this coming Christmas my mom got sick. She had to stay in bed and I was going to buy a tree and put it outside her bedroom sliding glass door. I was going to decorate it with lights so even though she couldn’t enjoy our family tree in the family room she would still be able to enjoy her own. But I never did. A day or two before Christmas we had to take her to the hospital. Four days later she passed away. The Christmas season has never been the same. I have tried to bring the joy back to the holidays now that I have two boys of my own but there is always that feeling as you say of the “bitter and sweet.” The hardest part is balancing the memories of those wonderful times in our past with our loved ones who are no longer with us. And creating new memories with those in our lives who love and care about us. So I hope that you can enjoy your favorite season of Autumn this year and the CRISP air that comes with that time of year while celebrating the rebirth of your loved one.

    • Thanks for sharing your story. There are so many cliches when it comes to grief, but they are so true so I don’t mind using them. As I read about how you try to bring the joy back, I know that things never truly are the same. You really do learn how to walk with grief along side of you. The intensity changes with time, but its not something you ever fully recover from, or “get over”. You really do develop a “new normal”.

      Its not like you are never happy again. Or that you never laugh or have new memories. You do. You must. But it is different. Some people impact us for life, so their loss is felt for life. You also made me think about how weird it is to have people in your current life that never knew your loved one. My husband never met my niece that died when she was ten. The circle of life is an odd thing. Beautiful at times, but odd never-the-less.

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