My latest blog, “Go Out Kicking Ass” has generated a lot of comments and private messages, ranging from “You go, girl” to “I wish I knew how to get through this myself”.
Here are some additional thoughts:
I’ve been trying to honor John with my writing (on this blog) and by keeping his name on every post for the antiques shop & used book store we started before he died, by tagging him in Facebook posts, and in any number of other ways.
But through a totally unexpected set of circumstances I finally realized that I had become a shadow of the person he loved, and that becoming that shadow did not honor him or his feelings for me. He loved the real Linda, not the silhouette. John could not bear it when I was unhappy while he was alive; he certainly would not have wanted his death to destroy me.
There is a part of this kind of grief that is terrified of letting go of the grief, in some kind of ill-conceived reasoning that if you aren’t crying every day, if you aren’t living the pain every moment, if you aren’t giving up your life for the person who is gone from this world, that you will forget that person, and they will disappear into oblivion.
It’s so not true.
My mom died 51 years ago, and I still love and miss and remember her… John’s mom died when he was just a toddler, but he still loved and missed and remembered her. In fact, it’s part of what we understood about each other, that love for our mothers who died far too young. Our moms were even written into our wedding ceremony, decades after they had died.
Our hearts, our very cells do not forget, even if our minds have to create a way to contain those memories, to keep us from becoming totally lost in the pain and grief.
But it’s hard to come to a place where one can see that, and it’s taken me a very long 18 months to do so.
Because I’ve chosen to live again does not mean I’ve chosen not to grieve my husband. I will always grieve him, just as I will always grieve my parents, and family members and friends, and the cats and dogs and other creatures who died before me. (I am in tears as I write this, which will likely be a reality for the rest of my life. Any family member, friend or acquaintance who wants to be in my life will have to remember that, and to realize it does not reflect on them.)
However my grieving will be different now… I will honor John by remembering – by being – the person he fell in love with.
I’m gonna go out kicking ass. That’s what he expected. And that’s what I’m gonna do.
In memory of my beloved husband John Kelly Snyder… 20 Sept 1956 – 21 Oct 2016.
He told me, “You are the first girl I ever loved, and you will be the last.” He kept that promise.
My Johnny was a true warrior, fighting demons no one else could see. I thought he was the strongest man in the world, and perhaps he was, but tragically, the demons got the better of him.
The name of this project is in no way intended to be reflective of, or piggy back off, Wounded Warriors which serves those military personnel wounded after September 11, 20o1. Like too many others, John was a warrior long before then.
Fair winds and following seas, Husband.
We now have a group on Facebook to help find resources, support and ideas for getting The Warrior Project off the ground. You can find us there at https://www.facebook.com/groups/thewarriorproject/
Follow us on Twitter! @WarriorProjME.
We’re also on MeetUp; search Lewiston Grief Support MeetUp.
Help support The Grief Warrior Project by making purchases from Heritage Collectibles, Books & Maps. All profits (after expenses) go to helping keep our doors open. You can find Heritage Collectibles at https://heritagecollectiblesmaine.com, on Facebook (both a group and a page) and on Twitter (HeritageGifts).