The concept of loss

I’ve recently taken a hiatus from writing here.  It wasn’t intentional, and there were many times that I wished I had the inspiration to write when I didn’t.

I imagine that this second phase of grieving (post-numbness) is to blame for much of the reason I haven’t written.

During this hiatus, I’ve come to learn another truth about grieving – grief isn’t linear.  In the two and a half months since Francis passed away, I honestly can say that I have experienced each of the five stages of grief.

But, experiencing each of them does not mean my grief journey is even close to being complete.  I have jumped from stage to stage, circled back, tried a few over, then moved on, only to find myself right back where I started.

Just a week ago I was sitting on the couch, after the children had gone to bed for the night, wondering if my life was what it seemed.  Was Francis really gone?  Has this new normal truly become my normal?  Was I really back to denial again?

My thoughts tumbled around in my head until I found myself grappling with the concept of loss.  I have told many, many people, “I recently lost my husband.”  Lost?  Really?

I began to get angry.  I didn’t lose my husband.  I haven’t misplaced him.  He’s not missing.  He isn’t coming home.  My children won’t really know their father.

My husband died.  He is dead.

This looks so stark (it sounds that way too), and remains painful.  Perhaps I wasn’t able to say those words – died and dead – shortly after Francis passed away because it was just too painful on top of all the other things I was feeling at the time.  But now, I need to begin to deal with that painful reality even when I can’t say it out loud.

I need to recognize that sometimes it will be hard for me to face exactly what happened in this grief process, and I’ll need to resort to the safe territory of “loss.”  I can candy coat my existence just the same way I can candy coat the language.  That’s ok, but I can’t allow myself to get too comfortable there.

By continuing to think of this as a loss, I feel as though I’m minimizing the situation and failing to realize the permanence of death and the void that has been left in my life because Francis is now gone.

Only if I willingly admit my painful reality will I be able to face it and move forward on my own without being crippled by the pain of Francis’s illness and death.  After all, I have no choice but to take up the responsibilities of leading my family forward from this horrible valley.

My children and I will be better off if I am willing to face those things that are painful and work through them.  It is hard work, and I’m not saying that everyone is ready to chuck the word “loss” from their grief process, but it’s the work that I have to do right now.  Work I must face as willingly as possible in the days, weeks, and months ahead.

I know we’ll be alright.  I’ve learned a lot about myself over the last 16 months, and I am confident that I can and will fight for what is most important in my world.  This helps me know that I will emerge from this year and this intense pain.

I may emerge with many a battle scar, but one day I will look at those scars as beautiful reminders of the love that filled my life.  Love that dreamed and hoped for the future.  Love that created two amazing little children.  A legacy of love that will live on in me and our children.

I had every intention to write weekly.  I promise I won’t stop writing, but I may take a break here or there while I wait for something to inspire me or for my thoughts to come together into a coherent post.

Again, I thank you for continuing to read these posts and for your continued support and prayers.

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17 responses

  1. I feel for you. I knew Francis in high school. My own mom recently died from what turned out to be similar type cancer. After reading your blog, I don’t know whether to regret that she waited so long before going to the doctor (she died within a month of going in) or if I should be thankful that she lived life so strong up until the end.

  2. You are such an amazing, strong young lady. I am sure Francis would be very proud of you. No one expects you to forge forward without any retreats backwards. If you feel like crying or screaming, go ahead and do it. It’s your right. Just know that many of us will continue to hold you and the children in our prayers. God is good and he will give you strength. You have two very lucky children , because you are their mother.
    Love to you and the little ones, Beth

  3. Thanks for your post, you are an inspiration to us and thanks too for the wonderful visit and sharing your children with us, they are special.

  4. Still thinking of you and holding you in my heart with love and light every single day. Keeping taking your baby steps and know that you are exactly where you need to be in your own journey. There is no rule book for your experience with grief. <3

  5. Dolores Strickland | Reply

    I read the comments above and see that I agree with them all. Lost and gone is the way it is and you are knowing this and have the courage to speak of it. Yes you are brave, LeAnne and an inspiration to us all. Many feelings of love are being sent to you. Dolores

  6. LeAnne, i think about you and the kids all the time. i say a prayer for you and try to send positive/uplifting vibes your way.You are always in my thoughts and you can call me anytime!

    -Sean

  7. TO GRIEVE MUCH IS TO HAVE LOVED MUCH – AND REMEMBERING THAT MUST BE PAINFUL AS WELL AS WONDERFUL. ONE DAY THE PAINFUL IS A WEE BIT LESS, ALLOWING THE WONDERFUL MORE ROOM.
    DO NICE THINGS FOR YOURSELF – EVEN IF SMALL THINGS!
    AUDREY

  8. Your courage is off the scale, LeAnne. I have often admired your father, and the traits he and your mother shared with you are an incredible source of strength. I have no idea how I would react if to a similar tragedy, but I could only hope to be as brave as you. I think it helps you to write, and I know it inspires your readers. Thank you for sharing all of this with us.

  9. Debbie Bradley | Reply

    You are so strong, beautiful and so amazing, LeAnne! I know it will be tough with two little ones on your own but God will guide you and give you the help you need if you will allow him to. He will not leave you to do it on your own. It was so good to see you all! Prayers for the days, months, and year ahead.

  10. Welcome back! I don’t even know you and I missed you. Sending love from west to east and hope today, something makes you smile, and maybe even laugh.

  11. Psalm 23:4
    “Even when the way goes through
    Death Valley,
    I’m not afraid
    when you walk at my side.
    Your trusty shepherd’s crook
    makes me feel secure.”

    My interjection- I think the not afraid piece should read- I am totally lost and afraid and you are still with me, even when I don’t see you.

    Steps at a time, looking for God…. Yelling at Him when your mad, looking for Him when you are scared. I may not be the most respectful when I am scares and yelling at God, but at least I am turning to Him and not turning away.

  12. Kathleen maurer | Reply

    It was good to read how you are doing now. We often think of you and your family. You are amazing, and “yes” you will emerge from this and those scars “will become loving memories!” In my memory I can still see Francis as a young boy here almost thirty years ago having a good time; and that’s what I’m holding onto to myself.

  13. Diane Scaccetti | Reply

    I was happy to see your post. While I cannot walk in your shoes, I can pray for you and the children every day.

  14. Andrea Leigh piercey | Reply

    I can only imagine that when the day is done; when all is quiet and the babies are asleep; the absence of Francis must be deafening. Always thinking of you and love to your little ones…

  15. Kari Grace Adams | Reply

    Love you LeAnne!

  16. LeAnne I think of you so often and do pray for you and those beautiful children. You have been absolutely amazing through this entire journey.

  17. Thought of you today and praying for you and the kids!

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