Tag Archives: grieving

Blogging as Therapy

do for others

The last five weeks have made me fall off track a bit on the original intention of this blog; yet, the amount of readers has grown immensely.  Perhaps it is the personal twist I have put into my writing.  I have written about my mom and Francine over and over again, and used my writing as my own “therapy” to get through this sad time.   It has been my way of dealing with it and through my writing; I have been able to let others know how we all are doing.   It has amazed me to see how my blog has been shared.  People are telling me over and over how grateful they were for it because it helped them understand what we were going through and it gave them some peace of their own.

So today, as I sat down to write, I really felt stumped.  Not that my grieving is over, just that I am not sure what else I can write about it.  I am sure there will be difficult days…Mother’s Day is going to be rough this year for all of us.  On those difficult days I will write about them.  When I find myself missing them immensely, I will write about them.  I don’t want to wallow in grief. I want to get back to the original idea of my blog and continue to look for the goodness around us.  I have said numerous times that my mother embodied goodness and kindness. There was nothing that she would not do for someone else.  In Francine’s obituary, we asked that instead of flowers, that donations be made to two animal foundations.  She had a special way with animals and did so much to help them.   The two of them did kind things all of the time.

During this time, of grieving, it is important for all of us who have been touched by these two women, to try to live our lives as they did.  Do as they did.  Find what is important to you and then find a way to help or contribute.  As you go about your daily routines, be grateful for what you have and inspire others to do the same.  There are so many ways to do good and at a time where we are seeing so much tragedy, it seems that it is even more reason to do so.

A Roller Coaster Ride

 roller coaster

There are so many things that can happen in our lives, sometimes it seems like it is hard to have a positive outlook in life.  With all of the ups and downs and sharp turns that life brings our way, sometimes it seems like I am on an emotional roller coaster.   One month of sadness, preceded by three months of a crazy headache that just would not go away, has made this year the wildest ride ever.  I am now managing the headache and I am finding ways to manage the sadness but still, I am worried.

I worry for my brother Tim, a young widow now.  I worry for my dad, who is trying to be strong for Tim, yet hasn’t had time to grieve for himself.  I worry for my kids, who were so close to both my mom and Francine.  I worry for Francine’s mom and for her two best friends who loved her so much and seem so sad without her.  I imagine this is the steep hill of the ride – the one that climbs up and up and up, until it reaches its peak before falling at full speed down the other side. The promising part of falling, is knowing that eventually you will reach the bottom and plateau.

Going back to work has been the plateau on my ride.  The flat, level, balanced part of the ride that comes after the big hill with loops, twists and turns.  There is so much love at my school.  I am getting it from the families, from my staff, from my students.  I know that my father and brother are finding the same thing as they have gotten back to work.  The love is genuine and confirms that fact that we are not alone on this wild ride. 

Another Eulogy


Today, I gave a short eulogy for my sister-in-law at the cemetery.  I am sharing it here.

 We have gathered here together to offer our support to Francine’s family and friends who cannot believe she is gone. We gather for Tim and her parents, and for all of our family members.

 For those of you who do not know me, I am Timmy’s sister Claire.  Our families want to extend their gratitude to all of you who came here today and have supported us through this extremely difficult time.

 There is never a convenient time for any of us to die.  Sadly, our lives have been touched by death twice this month and how do we make sense of it?  How do we deal with it when a person’s life cut short?  We are all grieving and trying to figure out why Francine had to leave us so soon.

 Francine was not afraid of death.  She dealt with it on a daily basis while working part time in the funeral home while she finished her schooling to become a mortician.  This was her dream.  Perhaps when you regularly deal with death, there is not much about it that will faze you.   She talked openly about it to her family and friends and I can only hope that this will bring them all comfort.

 If you live in this area, you probably noticed the wicked thunderstorm that we had on Wednesday night.  The storm began with an enormous black cloud rolling in.  We did not see in the hospital, but many people saw it and it was so ominous, they remarked about it.  An enormous thunderclap shook the windows of the hospital right at the time Francine died.  There was no way to not have noticed it.  We remarked that it was a sign from Francine, letting us know that she had arrived.  Francine liked to make an entrance and perhaps this was her way of letting us know that she was crashing  through the gates of heaven.  The storm went on for quite awhile and several hours later, as we all left the hospital, the rain and thunder were over but the most beautiful lightening was filling the sky.  Every single one of us thought of Francine.

Francine and Tim had just found out that she was pregnant- it was very early into the pregnancy. They knew that it was much too early to tell anyone yet, so they had not shared the news yet.  They were waiting to get results of their first ultrasound before announcing it.

Only my mom and Francine’s mom knew that they had been going for fertility treatments.  Although my mom died before they got pregnant, I know that Tim found comfort in the fact that she knew how hard they were trying.

Sunday would have been their 6-year anniversary. They should be celebrating what should have been the happiest time in their lives with this new addition to their family.  Tim should not be spending it burying his wife.

I realize that death will leaves behind scars that don’t seem to fade, but when a death is unexpected, it just seems so much more painful.  For our family, two deaths so close together also seems unfathomable.   It will take a long time to recover, especially for Tim.  It seems so very cruel.  We can only hope that there truly is a reason for everything and that God has bigger plans for all of us.


winnie the pooh

My mom loved throwing parties.  Holidays were always celebrated and they were celebrated in a BIG way.  St. Patrick’s Day was always one of her favorites.  We like to refer to our extended family as “The United Nations”, because there is a little bit of everything intertwined.  Catholics, Jews, Mormons.  Irish, Italian, English, Scottish, German…the list goes on and on but on St. Patrick’s Day, to my mom, everyone was Irish.  That was her rule.  She would cook pounds and pounds of corned beef, cabbage and potatoes and we’d all gather at my parents house to eat.  This year, we decided, would be no different.  What better way to celebrate her.  So today, I went to their house early and started cooking.  Since we were preparing nearly 30 POUNDS of corned beef, my cousin Lisa came over with her crock pot so that we could cook it all at once.  It was much easier than I expected it to be.  Other than needing to be there to make sure the pots didn’t spill over, there was very little to do.

Drew wanted to be a part of the preparation so much.  He helped peel and cut the potatoes.  He carried chairs up from the basement so there would be places for everyone to sit.  He opened the blinds in the family room that have not been opened in awhile.  He said it was “so that grandma could look in while we were celebrating”.

Around four o’clock people started arriving.  There were 26 for dinner.  It was a typical St. Patrick’s Day at mom’s.  Neighbors were dropping by all evening to pay their respects  and I think they were surprised to see the festivities and laughter and joy that was going on.  We told them it was just what she would have wanted.  She would want us to go on as normal.  We were celebrating her.  It was a welcome release from the previous days that were spent dwelling on sadness.  We have a lot of emotional days ahead of us.  The normalcy of today was a good break for all of us.

We are all going to grieve, and we will do it in our own way, but I know that my mom would have wanted us to be together tonight.  It was good for all of us.  There is no time line for when we will stop grieving for her.   The pain will lessen eventually and for all of us it will be different.  Holidays have never been small in our family.  Those days are going to be bittersweet from now on.  She might not be there physically anymore, but her spirit will live on for all of us.  It wouldn’t be a party without her!