Help for Healing

Bitter & Sweet, living daily with grief

Fourth of July


So this is something that I am not sure I should go back and add to the book or not. My dilemma is, that it was a significant event in our lives. Yet I don’t want to anger anyone by including it either. Any opinions?

July 4, 2010

The last holiday we celebrated was Father’s Day and boy, it would be impossible to beat that. Holidays are already loaded most of the time, but now there is even more added pressure. What if this is the last (fill in the blank) that Tim has where he is feeling well? That was the inspiration behind flying Emily here for Father’s Day. Now it is the 4th of July.

We decided to go to spend the day with one of Tim’s family members at their cottage. It’s a lovely place about a mile from the lake. We usually walk down to the beach to watch the fireworks because there is little or no parking there. Tim and I discussed it at length and decided that in spite of the annoyance, we should not walk the mile there and back. His strength comes and goes and is often unpredictable. We knew his family would not want to drive, so we made our pact before we got there.

The weather was lovely. Things were great until it was time to go to the beach. Tim caved to the pressure to walk rather than drive. I got the clear impression that my concern was not welcomed by Tim’s family. It was like I was once again just trying to boss Tim around. It ticked me off because they had spent comparatively little time with us and didn’t understand Tim’s physical limitations. Of course, Tim wanted to save face with everyone and not admit that his abilities were compromised. Things were extremely tense between Tim and I. I went to the lakeside so Frankie could swim and just cried while I stood there alone. What if we don’t ever get a do-over? What if we have spent our last 4th of July together fighting?

On the way home, one of Tim’s family had too much to drink and was fighting with his wife and daughter. By the time the mile walk home was completed, there were a couple of people crying. We tried to interrupt the fighting to say goodbye but we couldn’t even break in. We got in the car and Frankie asked what the heck was going on? Tim fumbled an answer about how sometimes people get upset and don’t behave very well.

We ended up spending an entire counseling session processing this event. Tim and Scott concluded that Tim kind of gets out of sorts sometimes when he’s around his family. The fighting brings back tough memories and also reminds him of where his own temper can take him if he doesn’t work hard at controlling it. We were sad, but are hoping that we get a chance next year to have a more positive and happy 4th of July celebration together. Maybe we can even rival Father’s Day!

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 “Fourth of July

  1. Complicating your life again? 😉 This really SHOULD be included, it’s a very pointed story that illustrates the bitter very clearly. Your readership deserves to know this happened, it may help them process similar situations they are faced with.

    Alternatively, you also have to consider the long term effects of including it. If you think it would create a divide that will never go away, then maybe it’s best to avoid telling the story. Think about the future. But wouldn’t these family members be best served by seeing how their actions affect others? Maybe it will help them to heal too.

    I’ve always been one to address problems head on and speak my mind. At times this backfires, so I have backed off from this approach recently. I feel weak and void of emotion, often, because of this changed personaliity. This is your opportunity to do the same, if you think it will serve a good purpose. Expect backlash, but if in your heart you believe some good will come from including the story, then do not hesistate. It’s ultimately your decision because it will most directly affect your life, possibly for a long time. You have to ask yourself though; if not including this story avoids drama, won’t there always be something new regarding this family that does? You have to determine if NOW is a good time to confront it head on.

    Oh, hi by the way 🙂

    • Excellent thoughts to consider. I guess most things in life have many sides to reflect on. Not much is simple. Perhaps my book is the one way to tackle things directly once and for all and be done with it. But i have tried to write gracefully even though its truthful. I’m sure Tim’s family wasn’t happy with the way their holiday turned out either so I think i will add something like that.

      By the way, I hope that you find a way to fill that void. As cliche as it sounds, love does conquer all most of the time 🙂

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