“My cell phone died.”
“My laptop died.”
“The fridge died.”
“That doggone car battery died.”
Things around us die every day. Think about how many times a day we say something died. It’s a regular word—a verb—we use when something is inactive or no longer has life.
However, when loved ones die, it becomes a four-letter word.
I couldn’t say the word for several weeks after Den died without bursting into tears. I say, “He’s gone.”
But, I noticed most folks who reached out to me couldn’t say it either.
They’d say Den, “passed away,” “passed on,” “was in a better place,” “was in heaven,” “sleeping,” and believe or not… “checked out.” Seriously?
I believe for me it was hard to say until I accepted the fact Den was NOT coming back. No matter how many times I looked out the window for him or “heard” his keys in the front door, it changed nothing.
Our three adult children were all very close to their dad, each with their own unique relationship. Lindsey, the youngest, has no problem saying the word. And she talks more about Den than her brothers, Drew and David. They still have a problem using the word died, and I never said anything about it, knowing they would in their own time.
However, when David spoke of “Dad’s departure” just two weeks ago, I knew it was time.
I told him his dad didn’t catch a flight to San Diego or a train to Dallas. He DIED. End of story.
Dave said he never used the word around ME for fear of upsetting ME.
We talked and straightened it out—with Lin and Drew laughing on the sidelines—and I reminded them all we promised not to tread lightly around each other.
Though the word still stings at times, I got through this post without crying, so I know I’m making progress.
On May 30, 2019, I lost Dennis, my husband of over thirty-five years. Ten short weeks later on August 18, 2019, I lost my eighty-four-year-old mother. My grief journey has not been an easy one. While we know grief has five stages, there are many situations and feelings some bereaved never get to express, and I’m using my first AtoZ Challenge to say things I’ve never been able to give voice to. I hope you’ll follow my journey.