Help for Healing

Bitter & Sweet, living daily with grief


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Enduring truths

Kathy, Oscar; photo courtesy of author

There are studies that show that sometimes even our strongest memories are inaccurate. We could swear such and such but if we had an actual recording, we would be surprised that things aren’t as we recall.

For years, whenever I was asked how I decided to become a therapist, I would tell them the way my story went in my head. I was going to be a missionary. Then I got married and my marriage went south. We started counseling. I was fascinated by the process I went through and what I learned about myself.

Plus, the missionary boards I had researched and chosen no longer wanted me because I was “divorced.” The big D. Also stands for “damaged goods.” Psychology made sense.

Then one day when I was scanning photo albums, I came across a newspaper article that was written about me when I was chosen to be “student of the month” in high school. In that article, I said that I intended to become a counselor.

Huh.

I could swear that went differently.

Now, remembering my story inaccurately is part of my story.

When I was recently watching home movies, I started with 1988 and my first marriage. Most of us girls dream about our wedding day from birth on. And choosing a lifelong mate is certainly an event of paramount importance. We all expect it to be our one and only wedding.

That’s why it cracked me up when I was shocked to find the video. I thought it had gotten lost, through no fault of my own. The minister who performed the ceremony asked to see our only copy of it and he finally came forward, embarrassed, to say he lost it.

Guess I remembered that story wrong because here I was watching it.

After the reception video was done, the wedding video started over again from another view. Oh yeah! We had two videos of the wedding, not one!

Then I had the “correct” memory.

It was my SECOND marriage video that got lost, not my first one.

Had to laugh at my own aging brain. It’s hard to keep all those marriages straight!

Some truths do last a lifetime.

For instance, truth be told, John (husband #1) was handsome back in the day. I had the chance to see him last year and he is still handsome 30 years later. He aged well.

John’s best friend Oscar gave the toast at our reception, just like tradition goes. Oscar was a close friend of mine as well and was the husband of my best friend Kathy.

I couldn’t believe how his toast nailed it. The enduring truths.

“John, you have a love for truth.” This was in the context mostly of faith and Christianity, which he later abandoned because it no longer seemed truthful to him. But Oscar was right. He searched for understanding. And he rubbed off on me. I take some of that passion with me to this day.

The other half of that toast was about me.

“Darcy, you have a love for people.”

Yep, still 100% true 30 years later. I would add that the next logical step is you love being able to help people and make a difference in their lives. It’s just natural when you love them.

Excellent job on the toast, Oscar.

And by the way, another enduring truth. Kathy and Oscar are still two of my favorite people in the world. They still get me in ways most people don’t. I treasure your continued presence in my life, you two!

(Not that they ever read my blogs…LMAO!)


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Home Videos

On a weekend away, I spent several hours looking at home videos. It started with my first wedding in 1988. I was pleasantly surprised that it was mostly a warm experience rather than the mournful one I was expecting.

Mom, Randy

I got a laugh out of my brother. He had very little hair back then. He has had new hair for so long now, I forgot why he got the implants to begin with.

Just a couple of months ago, my former mother-in-law found me on Facebook. We started messenging and she sent several that brought tears to my eyes. She wanted to read my books (which I was honored by) so I mailed her copies (this is why I never make money) and included a photo of us from the wedding.

me, John’s mom; photo courtesy of author

Seeing the actual wedding footage now, I was reminded of how serendipitous life can be. I just reconnected with her. Mom has been gone for 13 years now. I find any mother figure in my life to be so comforting. Glad she is back in my life, even though geographically distant. (Although, isn’t everyone distant, compliments of the pandemic?)

A sad moment was remembering that Mom and I were a bit icy during the event. I can’t even remember why. Was it because at the time I was adopting “another” mom? Was I busy getting to know her and ignoring the one who had birthed and raised me?

I didn’t let it bog me down with guilt, though. I know some mother-daughter conflict is “normal”. Mostly I think, it was because, at the end of her life, we were very close. She was my best friend. Whenever I expressed it, she would lovingly say, “Stop saying that. I’m not your friend. I’m your mother.”

LOL.

I’ve always felt like I’ve got an exceptional support system. It didn’t escape me as I looked at the bridal party and guests that so many people traveled across the country to attend. Even parents of friends. To me, that’s an honor.

As I watched on, the unexpected (and cruel) deaths hit me. First and foremost my beautiful niece, who was still darling despite missing a front tooth. She died in an automobile accident at age 10.

One of our groomsmen died just in the last couple of years. He had a motorcycle accident and then his wife went through several grueling weeks in the hospital, only to lose him.

The life cycle. Who would have thought looking back 32 years would have such a powerful message now.


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Looking Back

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Photo Courtesy of Author

Today is the ten year marker of my husband Tim’s death. I feel warmly in many ways, but when I see the picture of the last time we were all together, that is when I break up. Our kids didn’t need to grow up with a father. Especially David. He was only eight. He looks so very, very young.

Last weekend I went away with my friends for a night as has become the custom on this anniversary. This year, I added a day and night alone. I expected it to be a struggle, but it went down a completely unexpected path.

The weather was beautiful but I ended up never leaving the cottage. I hooked up our home videos and sat there for hours and hours. My depressed brain managed to process this without tears and allowed a very warm and grateful experience.

I decided to go as far back as I had videos for which brought me to 1988, my first wedding to John.

We planned every second of it. (Ok, it was me. No surprise there.) So many of the details were unique at the time. I loved watching it and thinking about how clever I was – LOL. We had our groomsman walk halfway down the aisle and escort the bridesmaids.

The kicker? We sang to each other. I still can’t beleive we did that.

The focus was definitely God. Every song, every reading carefully chosen. John even said the prayer at the end to bless our marriage. I chuckled because he went on and on. I remember his buddies giving him a hard time after.

We then brought our moms a bouquet of roses after the ceremony was over and escorted each guest out. That way we got to say hello to everyone. I was so surprised at the people who were there. And deeply grateful. So many of them had such an effect on my life and the direction it took. Family, people from high school, college and church.

And of course there was the obvious loss. It felt strangely like Mom and Dad were in the room watching with me. That didn’t bring sadness. So many of my relatives are now gone because it was over 30 years ago! There were other losses besides death. Lost friendships and relationships. Some faces I recognized but could not remember their lives for the life of me. Yet at the time, they were important in my life.

Those couples that got divorced. There were three in particular that were outright shocking when they happened. (Oh yeah, the fourth was my own!)

Speaking of that, I was surprised – and glad that I wasn’t sarcastic as I listened to the ceremony. There was no, “Oh yeah, right. Like you meant any of that.” The words and atmosphere reflected where we truly were at that point of our lives.

A little over a year ago, I was able to have lunch with John and his wife. There was no bitterness on either party, just the warmth of seeing someone we hadn’t seen in decades. Perhaps that contributed to the vibe I had as I watched the video.

More thoughts to come on this. I’m not sure if it is simply my own catharsis, but I do hope maybe someone reading this will find hope that our past pains don’t have to haunt us forever. There is meaning in loss when we look for it.