'Dear Dennis.I love you; A widow's journey through the seasons of grief' is a compilation of letters written to my husband shortly after he died. My grief work consisted of doing many things to try to lessen the pain. One of the things I did that actually intensified the pain, yet at the same time softened the blow, was write letters to Dennis. He had been my best friend for over 30 years. I didn't know how I was going to handle the horrible devastation of my loss without having my best friend here to help me through it. I needed him more than I ever needed him before. I desperately wanted to talk to him and I thought it might help to write to him. I wrote 332 letters over the next 3 years. I think there may have been a part of me that thought he might answer my letters but all have gone unanswered. It was extremely hard to share a pain with him that words really can't describe - but I kept writing and he was always there for me to pour my heart out to.
The following are excerpts from the letters in the book:
August 9, 2002
Today I got a letter from the Organ Donation Company. They let me know that your corneas have been transplanted into two local elderly women. And somebody else got your skin. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I couldn't stop crying. I wish they hadn't told me. I hate when the reality of your death hits me. I need to pretend you'll be back. I can't stand knowing that you've really died - and now I know someone else has a piece of you. I suppose that should provide some comfort. But it doesn't. It makes it too real. All your things are still where you left them. I'm just waiting for you to come home. I wait and I wait because if I stop waiting then you won't return. I can't say goodbye Dennis. I keep doing things as though you'll be back. I make sure every decision I make is one that you will approve. I don't want you to be upset when you come home. I know I sound crazy but I need to think this way for now. Reality is too painful and I can't function with all that pain. I love you.
August 18, 2002
I woke up this morning already crying and I haven't been able to stop. I've cried non-stop for twelve hours. I can hardly see out of my swollen eyes. I try to stop thinking about it but I can't get you off my mind. I called you on your work phone. Your voice message was still there. You said "please leave a message and I'll get back to you as soon as I can." I doubled over in pain. I thought I was coping but I'm not. I hurt so badly! I was alone all day. I literally started screaming at the top of my lungs. I no longer have control of my emotions. Will the pain ever go away? I love you .
September 16, 2002
Life is not funny anymore and I find myself getting annoyed by happy, funny people. I want people to just let me cry on their shoulder. I don't want anyone to try to cheer me up. That's too stressful for me. I'd rather be around people that have been through this. There's comfort being around others who understand but there's sadness too. I don't really know what I need. Except for brief moments of 'okayness', nothing seems to satisfy me. I wish those moments of 'okayness' would increase. Most of the time, I'm pretty miserable. Time is supposed to heal all wounds but it's been almost three months and there's no relief. The only thing that would stop this pain would be you coming home. I still can't believe you're gone for good. I hate that expression! 'Gone for Good?' It's not good you're gone. It's horrible and oftentimes so unbearable I can't stand it. I hate this so much! I'm trying so hard to be brave and it takes everything out of me. I wish so badly that you'd come home. I need you so much! I love you
October 1, 2002
I've now been without you for July, August and September. I'm constantly feeling like I'm forgetting to do something or I'm supposed to be somewhere. Before you died, I used to always have you on my mind - thinking I need
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