Help for Healing

Bitter & Sweet, living daily with grief



Saturday I called my friend Summer. She answered and immediately said “Do you have allergies or are you sniffling?” “Definitely sniffling,” I choked out. SHe is surprised and says I haven’t called her crying for months and months!

Tim and I bought a pop-up camper several years ago. The first summer after he died, my ever-practical father asked me if I was going to sell it. I told him that “they” recommend you don’t make any big decisions for at least a year after a death. I considered selling the camper a big decision.

The second summer came around and my dad was the first to ask again if I was going to sell it. Apparently you shouldn’t sell campers the second year either. I just couldn’t do it.

Now it is summer three. Here’s the thing. I no longer have a hitch on my vehicle. If I did have a hitch, I couldn’t drive the camper anyhow. If i could drive the camper, I couldn’t put it up or take it down. So every summer, good ‘ol dad or someone else puts it up in our driveway.

I love it. I nap out there all the time. My favorite time is when it’s raining. Sometimes Frankie has his buddies over. It comes in handy when we have company. Last summer my college roommate came with her very-allergic-to-dogs son and they slept happily out there while they were here.

This year, dad couldn’t remember how to put it up so we got out the DVD Tim made for us while he was sick. I watch it every year but I still haven’t got a clue how to do it. It helped dad though and he got it up.

Now I know that I could keep asking for help every year. I know there is nothing wrong with loving to sleep in it and having it out there to do so all summer. But I’m also a pretty practical girl myself. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree I guess.

So when a dear, dear couple came to me and said they were interested in buying a used camper and wanted advice, I sat there with a knot in my stomach. This was probably the situation I was waiting for. I would love to see it go to someone who would use it. I know they will enjoy it and it will be used the way it is meant to be. No advertising, no bartering. They just dropped the opportunity in my lap. I knew it was the “right” thing.

But sometimes the “right” thing doesn’t feel good. I kept it together until they left so they wouldn’t feel bad, then I walked directly into the house and went to my bedroom and cried my eyes out. I’m so damn sad about it!

People ask me if I feel close to Tim when I’m out there. It’s not so much that as I am aware of his presence everywhere. But it is a very cold, hard cup of cold water in my face. If Tim were alive, we would so NOT be selling it. We found it together and had many memories together. I was telling the couple that are buying it about how we used to zip Frankie up in the windows when he was an itty bitty thing. He would wear his warm, footy pajamas when he camped and he would giggle when we’d put him there. (Don’t worry. I am aware that is a little twisted to do as parents but we thought it was funny!)

And truth be told, I also worry if selling it is a symbol of things to come. What if one day it’s no longer practical to keep the house? I have to rely on a lot of people to help me keep up with everything. I hope it never comes to that.

The good part is, they don’t have a hitch on their vehicle yet. So I don’t know how much longer I have my little camper, but I’ve been sleeping in it every night and every chance I can until they take it. I’m slowly cleaning out the cupboards and reminiscing as I do it.

Moral of the story… It can be the “right” thing and still be sad. Sniff.

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.

4 thoughts on “Campers

  1. Darcy, I sure can relate. So sorry. Wish I could say more.

  2. Aww, sweetie! As I have said before, just think of all of the good memories that little trailer has held and the many more that are to come! (((Hugs)))

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s