How do you thank your 500 closest friends for all the help and support they provided at the time of your husband's death? The basket of cards, notebook of who brought what, registry from the funeral home, phone calls, volunteers who have been working on my new accommodations, people who stop me on the street and want to help has been overwhelming. And then there's the social networking crowd. I'm been really committed to MOOCs (massive online courses) since 2008 and all of them have been about forming personal learning networks in cyberspace.
There really is only 2 ways to handle this. I'm creating a mid-Lenten newsletter for those friends with known real world addresses. Included in the things my husband left me are over 600 sheets of Easter letterhead paper in a half dozen different styles and lots and lots of boxes of cards. Stephen was known for being excited about Christmas 365 days of the year but so far I've only found 100 sheets of Christmas letterhead and fewer boxes of Christmas cards than Easter cards so I guess spring was his season for looking at liturgical clothing and coming home instead with a package of paper. I guess that's the priestly equivalent of studying the latest styles and contenting oneself with some small item in the currently hot color.
On a larger scale, I've decided to return to blogging and talk about the little discussed topic of grief. It's really important to do so because the next big money maker for the pharmaceutical companies is convincing the medical establishment to include grief extending beyond 2 months in the compendium of psychiatric disorders that require a prescription. This is foolhardy because grief is one of those times when neuro-plasticity kicks in and the brain forms all kinds of new connections the leave one more than a bit wiser. It's really a lot like coming home with a new baby - a totally new world view requiring an amazingly large number of new skills. Mostly you wonder how you could have spent your entire life surrounded by widows and have no idea that you were entering a life phase which would give you a new perspective on everything.
In addition to widowhood, I've also had a total hysterectomy, turned 60, am receiving forms about my retirement when I haven't had a job since 1984, am moving from parish housing to my childhood community and am expecting to have an empty nest soon so I'm not even going to pretend to be able to sort out which change is related to which life event.
So click the link to Martha Beck's blog article about what she has learned from skiing - an activity I could learn nothing about without bloggers as I had a serious knee injury when I was in elementary school. http://marthabeck.com/2012/03/choosing-a-line-insight-from-martha/
What I need at the moment is the line of insight that will show me how to get from the rectory to my own house. Stephen was always the one excited about the new possibilities that would open up with a change of parish. He would go into overdrive and do all the moving stuff. My stuff would get purged; his stuff would get moved. He'd work like a whirling, twirling Dervish and I'd get into the car on moving day. I wasn't one to throw out anyone's stuff but my own. So this whole sorting through Stephen's things and organizing a move is totally new and as exciting as baby throw-up and stinking diapers. If he'd had any warning whatsoever that he was about to die, he would have been excited about the journey he was about to embark on and have down his whirling, twirling Dervish tossing, cleaning, moving thing and I could just have dealt with what he hadn't tossed of my stuff.