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September 15, 2005

So much for tearful goodbyes.

Well, I guess I'll try to keep this thing going and see what happens. You'll have to forgive me if I don't post something every day and be patient while I figure out how to do cool stuff. I did get that picture of Roxy on, though.

So, does anybody have any advice for me? Specifically, should I go to Old Navy or Target to buy new blogging outfits? What? "Both", you say?! Well, the customer is always right. I'll add it to my list of things to do.

Since Dan's funeral services, etc. a lot has happened. Some things have been uninteresting, but maybe it'd be good for you to know what life as a widow is like. Well, it's not so good. Through this whole process, I've experienced that people really don't know how to respond to these kinds of things. Here are some examples.

1. When Dan was taken off the ventilator, I was told that he could hang on for a while, so I should make sure to get some rest, a shower, a hot meal, etc. You know, take care of myself. I'm not sure what Dr. Phil would have to say about this, but I think it's ridiculous. I wasn't going to leave my husband (conscious or not) knowing that he might be about to take his last breath.

2. Dan wouldn't want me to be sad, cry, etc. Thankfully, I didn't get this one too much. First of all, you don't know what he wants. Second of all, Dan understood that these would be natural responses and would be all for them. Third of all, when I die, I want everyone I know to pile up in a big heap and wail and gnash their teeth for days. If any of them is happy or has a smile on their face for more than five minutes, I'm coming back to haunt them.

3. It will get better with time. I guess this is partly true. However, I checked out a website today about grieving (you are SO jealous!) and it made a good point about this. Time alone does not heal. Grieving is an active process. If I just sat around all day eating Marshmallow Fluff and not thinking about my husband, I probably wouldn't be OK as soon as I would be talking to people about my loss, looking at pictures, AND eating Marshmallow Fluff. Here's the web address in case you're interested in having a look. (Sorry I don't know how to link yet.) http://www.mtech.edu/counseling/healthy_grieving.htm

Those are the big ones I can think of right now. Anybody else got others?

I'll be back tomorrow with more fascinating widow-related events and tips.

Go get some sleep and maybe a hot meal. Also, a shower.

Posted by Dan at September 15, 2005 12:40 AM

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The process of grieving and accepting is a very personal thing. Up until I went into that funeral home, a huge part of my brain was absolutely certain that this whole thing, the cancer and Dan's passing, was some stupendous error of perception that I had managed to make.

I had myself convinced that I was going to walk in there to find that this person who had died was the wrong Dan Champion. I had myself convinced that this would be some other guy with the same name and that somehow I had managed to confuse him with the real Dan.

Funny how your own mind can trick you and shy away from things that you know are going to hurt. When Dan and I had visited earlier in the year I had known how bad it was the second I saw him yet I was convinced that he couldn't possibly have died. Damnit, we still hadn't gotten into a knock-down drag-out fight over the state of government in America (well at least not recently), and how could he possibly have died before that happened?

Hmmm, where did all of that come from? I just sat down to tell you how glad I was that you're keeping Popping Culture going and all of that came bubbling out. I have the flu, and I get weepy very easily when I'm sick. So, Stephanie, I'm glad you're keeping the site going!

Posted by: Killer Kitten [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 15, 2005 10:07 AM

Bubble away. It's good comment filler. Seriously, I know how you feel. Even at the funeral, I expected him to sit up and tell me to take it easy and get him a sandwich.

Posted by: Mrs. Popping Culture [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 15, 2005 11:40 AM

I've never experienced the death of someone really close to me. I came close with my mother, but she didn't actually die.

That said, however, your first point is a good one. My grandfather recently died and I was over at his place shortly after he started his death rattle (which is very strange when you hear it for the first time). Anyway, I sat with him for awhile while other people were out in the living room talking. It seemed strange to me that people wouldn't be next to him when he could, literally at any moment, be taking his last breath. Eventually, I stopped sitting next to him, as well--though I did pretty much stay in the room--and he hung around for hours. But if it was a spouse, I can't imagine leaving their side, even if he or she might supposedly live for awhile longer. I just couldn't imagine not being there at that final moment.

I'm also very much with you on the second point. I always found that a bizarre reaction and I think it goes back to this . . . well, a discomfort with death, particularly in this country. It's natural to be sad, but people always want you not to be. I think for some they just don't want to be reminded of death, for others it's just that common natural instinct to want to avoid or deny painful situations. But pain is natural and necessary and people forget that all the time.

Anyway, Stephanie, I'm glad to see you're going to continue on the blog. Email me if you need help with posting and figuring out the more advanced stuff. I'd be happy to help, and I believe I still have my account with the blog here so I can get in, poke around and help you out if need be.

Posted by: Joel Caris [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 16, 2005 05:56 AM

The sandwich comment made me chuckle.

The very last thing Dan ever said to me: "I'm going to go home and ask Stephanie to make me some soup."

Posted by: Killer Kitten [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 16, 2005 10:52 AM

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