Help for Healing

Bitter & Sweet, living daily with grief

Still Finding Things Out

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So I was at Christmas this year with my family as usual. I brought a copy of the book cover to show everyone. Whenever I look at the cover, it renews my enthusiasm. Having that cover to look at makes the project seem real. It’s really happening! There truly is a book!

Everyone responded favorably but I was sitting on the couch later feeling a little let down. A few of my family were near me so I asked them about the cover. I told them I didn’t really know what I was expecting, but I thought they would be a little more excited. Did they have some constructive criticism they were afraid to say? I wanted to hear it if that was the case. They all immediately responded. They all loved it. But seeing the cover reminded them again that Tim is gone. And Christmas won’t ever be the same again. Duh. I work on the book and think about it every day. I look at it like I’m trying to make lemonade from a big ‘ol batch of lemons. And that’s true. But of course, it is still a sad story. I swallowed hard and told them I was relieved they liked it.

Later in the afternoon, we got chatting about some of the events that occurred during Tim’s sickness. Some stories were funny, some made us mad as we remembered people who didn’t behave so well during that time. Then, my niece Sara brought something up and I was puzzled. Everyone else in the room knew exactly what she talking about. I had no idea.

Sara is single and owns a house that used to be a schoolhouse. She is extremely artistic and has decorated her house in a most unique, clever way. Every once in a while she would ask Tim to come help her with some projects. He built her a set of book shelves at one point that went to the ceiling. When he was in Hospice, she brought in one of the shelves and had Tim sign it. I had no idea that happened. Sara said she even had a picture of it. She looked through her phone and sure enough, there was Tim’s hand, signing a board on a hospital bed.

It’s not that it’s a big deal. But it’s been two years he’s been gone already. It still amazes me when I find things out that happened that I was oblivious to. I felt like I was at his side almost every minute. I tried to pay attention to everything. Yet, I missed so much. There have been so many things that other people witnessed and experienced that I hear about later. And the stories obviously aren’t over. So glad Sara thought to do that. And so glad it came up in Christmas chatter.

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.

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