Life’s storms: The loss of a husband…one year later

One year after her husband’s death, Polly Flug still flies the American flag on holidays. “Ron was a veteran of the Vietnam war, and I think of him a lot,” Polly says.

Picturing him in concrete ways is one way Polly has allowed herself to grieve. “I try to remember how much joy and happiness we had and be grateful for the time we had together,” Polly says, “but I was (am) very sad. Nearly every day of this year of firsts I have had tears.”

Polly describes with gratitude all the ways people have helped her. “Our couple friends still include me, although I’m not part of a couple anymore. Friends prayed for me, sent me cards throughout the year of firsts, called me and said encouraging things to me on Facebook.

“Although I try not to burden others with my grief, my family and friends always listen and care for me,” she says. “My grown children have been wonderful, although they’re mourning the loss of their dad. When I have moments with tears or sadness, people don’t try to talk me out of my grief, they just listen.”

Yet Polly acknowledges that it’s not easy to experience loss fully in today’s world. “When corporate America allows five days’ bereavement leave for the loss of a spouse, child or parent, that means business as usual after five days. Unfortunately for the person who is grieving, it will never be business as usual, at least not in the same way,” she says.

What counsel does she have for people in similar situations? “A person who has suffered a loss MUST allow himself/herself to grieve, even if he/she must ‘carry on’ at work. The grieving person should take the time to think about the loss, to remember the good times, and never, ever be ashamed or apologize for tears.”

As you journal this week, consider how Polly’s story resonates with you. Do you have losses you have not fully allowed yourself to grieve? Are there ways to recall and celebrate the good times associated with the person or life you lost? How can you be a compassionate listener for others experiencing loss?





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