I have a lot of people to thank for getting me started on this blog.
First, my blogging role models: Sean Kelley – who is part of my family of choice – and who I love, respect and admire deeply. He is a son to me – and a brother to my other guys…; Cynthia Elaine Rockwell, who I don’t know well at all, but who has shared a bit of her personal journey with grief with me on Facebook and by private message – and whose blog I admired and emulated.
Also, my new found sisterhood of women whose beloved husbands died suddenly – traumatically – and who have shared parts of their journeys generously – and who have listened patiently to mine. Also, others who have shared their very personal and profound losses and journeys. To understand who’s who in this group will illustrate a bit about how George lived and loved, how I live and love, and how we lived and loved together…
I am going to leave out last names until I have permission…and this will be in no means all inclusive – but here’s a start:
Thanks Colleen, who George met at a Bruce Springsteen concert right after 9/11 (George’s brother John was a firefighter killed in 9/11). Colleen’s husband was also a firefighter killed in 9/11 – leaving Colleen and 4 very young children. George and Colleen connected immediately and stayed in touch by text, phone, Facebook. I never met Colleen. George spoke about her often. I had to let Colleen know that George died. I forget the exact way this happened. I will never forget how Colleen shared briefly, deeply and generously with me. Her very personal words have gotten me through some of the toughest minutes, hours and days since George died.
One of my most dreaded calls after George died was with Tamara, with whom George lived for a long time many years ago, and with whom George kept in touch. George shared so many happy memories of his time with Tamara with me – but I had never met her. Tamara’s husband died suddenly a few years ago – and Tamara appeared like an angel at George’s memorial (I will write about that some other day). She has shared her pain, remedies and readings with uncommon generosity, as George would have expected her to do. Again, there is not a day that I am not grateful to you Tamara.
Then there is Sarah, the wife of a client of George’s, who I had met a couple of times. Sarah is deep, smart and talented. She was kind enough to not only support me in words, but to connect me with her friend Mary Rose, whose amazing husband Derek died in his sleep shortly after George died. Mary Rose is my text buddy and we finally got to meet and drink and share the last time I was in NY. She feels like my new found sister on this journey. We both wish we never had to #@%!’ing meet.
My friend, mentor, partner, guru, and life sister, SLF, showed up and felt my pain – sometimes too much. When her boys were very young, the love of her then life died suddenly – rocking her world for a very long time. SLF, you connected me with healers, walked with me, listened to my rants, and somehow became the repository for the very worst of what I was feeling. You quietly tolerated my panic – and my inability to take great advice. I love you – and you know that. We have traveled some interesting roads together.
G. was also a client of George’s. George and I were both clinical social workers. George was a much better therapist than I ever was (also for another time), but we both believed in real connection and home visits. When G had her first baby three plus years ago, she was actually our neighbor in Manhattan. She was having a difficult time settling in at home with her beautiful new baby. George postponed our Sunday dinner out to stop by at G’s and see if he could be helpful. Soon I had a text from George directing me to meet him at G’s apartment. At your client’s I asked? Questions like this irritated George and his curt text came back “Yes that’s what I said”. It turned out G was having a breastfeeding issue and George felt I would be better suited to manage this one. I had the deep privilege of meeting G, her husband and beautiful new baby at a time when they were all vulnerable. George and I continued on to dinner – at which he couldn’t let go of me – telling me how much he loved me and loved us having this experience together. It was a falling in love more night. George and I saw G and her family regularly for a year until George moved to Boston with me two years before he died. G. adored George and immediately after he died she recommended a book on grief for me that George had recommended for her. It is with the book Tamara recommended and the book my great friend M gave me. Thanks G – your outreach has meant the world to me.
M is as much a sister to me as anyone in my life. We were freshman hallmates in college and know each other well. M has had her own profound experiences with loss. She is one of the most private people I know so that’s all I will say. She was with us when George died – when we had to disconnect him from life support – she knew to show up and stay – despite my trying to send her away. She took care of George’s grandson, D., while we we all were with George. She counseled my son Tim. As a mother of 4, she was certainly trustworthy! I love you, M.
George’s sister in law – whose husband died in 9/11 – is also very private – but always willing to listen and talk. Thank you!
More thanks later – especially to my guys – but that’s for another post. Hopefully this is it for today. Feels a bit like opening a floodgate…