Hiatus for Grieving

It’s been almost three months since I have made a post; to be honest, it’s been at least that long since I felt like writing at all. Our trip to New Hampshire in August was the last time we’ve really gone anywhere, but while we were there, I lost my aunt Laurie. We were very close; we’ve always been close with that side of the family. Her children, our cousins, are more like siblings, and she and my uncle are like our second parents. I got to visit her in northern Vermont the day before our planned departure, and then she passed away during that same night.

We extended our stay long enough to attend her funeral, and then started driving home to Texas the very next morning. I think I left tears all across upstate New York! It was difficult to leave so soon while I was still so incredibly sad, but we had to get TC back to Texas in time to start school.

We stopped and spent a couple of nights with some friends in Steubenville, OH, because I needed the break to get my head back on straight. Then we pushed on towards southern Indiana, arriving late that night, crashing in a friend’s basement, and rising early to get a good start toward our next stopping point.

Our friends in Jefferson City, MO are ones from our home church in New Hampshire. We love them dearly, and make a point of visiting whenever we possibly can! We got there early and were able to get some laundry done and cook them dinner. It was a great time.

Next day we set out for Oklahoma City, which is near some of Matt’s relatives. They took us out for Thai food, God bless ’em, and sparked a new food obsession in him. Be on the lookout for new Thai recipes on mattfood.com in the near future!

It was a longer trip home than it was to go up there. I made it in 5 days on the way up, but coming home I just didn’t have the energy to drive for as many long days. I think the grieving really exhausted me. We made one more overnight stop after that, in Hobbs, NM, and stayed at a lovely little hotel that I’m going to make a point to go back to. And I’m going to review it in a separate post, as well.

Finally got home, TC started school, and everything was getting back to normal… and then I heard from my parents that Nellie had died. Nellie had been a close friend of my parents since they were 13 and 14 years old (they’re in their 80s now). We always felt like she was family as well, so that was a blow–and I discovered that grieving is much harder when there’s no one else around who knew the deceased. When we were in NH for Aunt Laurie’s death, we gathered together with other family members whom we loved, and mourned her together. When we lost Nellie, I was the only one here in Texas who really knew her. So that was hard. Nellie had been the one to proofread my Phantom novel before publishing, so I always think of her when I’m working on a story.

After we’d had a few weeks to get back into the swing of things, I was texting with my friend Amelia. She asked us to stop by and visit the next time we were in Dell City. We don’t get a chance to get out there much, so we stopped in a week later and had a nice, long visit. She was having some indigestion, but started to feel a lot better as the visit went on. It was nice to see her and catch up after so long… and as it happens, it was our last chance. Once we got home to El Paso, we learned that she had passed away less than an hour after we left. Her indigestion had apparently been a heart attack.

Amelia and I both make jewelry, and had often traded beads and materials. We had planned to do craft fairs together, go to gem shows, and possibly even start a jewelry business together. We had all manner of plans. Her family is the most important thing to her aside from Jesus, and Amelia had unofficially adopted me into her family. She was warm, friendly, and hospitable, and we had become very good friends over the last three years. Once I found out that she did texting (because we both hate talking on the phone), she and I started texting back and forth several times a week. I loved her, and her loss hit me hard. One of my other friends, who lost her husband a couple of years ago, explained to me that there are 2 separate things you have to mourn when you lose someone: you have to mourn the loss of the person himself, and you also have to mourn the loss of all the plans that you had made together. Amelia and I had become good friends and had many plans for things we were going to do together. I miss her a lot.

Her son, who is a good friend of mine, and her daughter, whom I met for the first time at the funeral, decided to give me all of Amelia’s jewelry-making supplies and tools. It was so generous of them that I’ve decided to honor Amelia by carrying out several of the plans I’d made with her even though she’s not here to share them. I’m going to sell jewelry, and a lot of it will be made with supplies that I got from her.

I am hoping to make another trip next month, so I have something more upbeat to write about. But in the meantime I am getting over my losses: making some of Aunt Laurie’s classic recipes, editing one of my novels like Nellie did, and making jewelry with Amelia’s materials.

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