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Grief and Gratitude

grief, widowhood, life after loss

I've been sort of quiet here because as I've had thoughts/feelings over the last few months, I've been trying to express them in my coming book....


I can't believe I can actually say that: MY book, *MY* BOOK!


My book is coming Spring 2024 and shares my journey through unconditional love, terminal illness and widowhood.


I share the dark, vulnerable parts of caregiving and loss so that others dealing with a similar situation can feel seen and I share how I prevailed and reclaimed joy in my life so that others dealing with a similar situation can feel hope.


I am entering into my self-publishing journey this week and can't wait to start revealing more about it - my title, cover design... all of it! subscribe here to get those updates.


a letter to myself to open on my book's birthday.

***


There are a lot of other really big things happening in our lives, too.


I'm two and a half years into this grief thing and I sat with my therapist a couple days ago and said "I feel like everyone thinks this is over."


She asked me what I meant.


I said, it seems like everyone has moved on. Everyone thinks I'm better now....like everything is back to normal. I thought, maybe it's because its been fourteen months or maybe its because I'm in a happy relationship again. Either way, life doesn't ever go "back" to normal.


Because, well, there is no going back.


Turns out these are very common feelings.


6-12 months after a loss, outside support essentially stops. People stop sending gifts and stop checking in. It's not that any resources or gifts are actually needed, but that outside support signifies solidarity. It means that other people recognize that you're grieving. Your pain is witnessed.


When the outside support stops, you're still grieving the same, but now you're grieving alone. At least it feels that way.


People see happy or they see sad. The complexities of feeling both emotions isn't well understood to people who haven't had such an impactful loss.


I am better and I am healing. I am happy and I am loving again. I laugh more than I cry and I have many more good days than bad ones. But the fight isn't "over".


The truth is that I've had some of the deepest parts of my grief resurface over the last month, right alongside some of my happiest days.


For example, we recently moved!


I left the last house that I shared with Mike. I said goodbye to the neighborhood that knew me and my story, and that showered me with support in my darkest days to settle in a place that doesn't know anything about me. I did this in an effort to start fresh, grow my relationship and be closer to my side of our family. A fresh start can simultaneously be refreshing and isolating - even when it's for the best. Around all the excitement and happiness, still came feelings of grief more intense than I anticipated.


That being said, after 2.5 years in complete survival mode, I can finally breath again.


I love my boys more than anything on this planet but I can't tell you how nice it is to have another adult to come home to each day to hug and kiss and ask about my day. I can't tell you how much it means to have someone say "you seem off today" and then support me through a good cry.


I used to run downstairs to check that my doors are locked 30 times and then take a picture of said locked door so that I can look at it when I wake up at night and question if I locked in the first place.


Do you know how freaking nice it is to have someone else checking locked doors?!


I feel a sense of love and security that I haven't felt in a long time. I'm not sure I even knew how much it was missing.


I'm also freshly engaged!


Maybe that sounds crazy. To me, it doesn't. It feels very.....right. I saw this quoted on instagram recently:


"You really don't need to be completely healed to be worthy of a healthy relationship. There's no such thing as 'completely healed' anyway. As long as you're aware, willing to grow together and communicate, then a calm connection can really be a healing experience in itself." (Pammy DS - Synchronistic)


I made it abundantly clear early on that I didn't need saving but this relationship has aided in my healing journey in a way nothing else has. An engagement doesn't mean we're all fixed from our trauma and it doesn't mean I've overcome grief. Newsflash: you never overcome grief.


Instead, it's a commitment to loving the best and worst parts of each other on both the happy days and the "you seem off" days.


We can grieve the past and feel grateful for our present. Long for what we lost but feel excited about what we've gained.


Practicing gratitude is powerful.


This season, I am grateful for a warm home, for the two boys who saved my life, for the chaos, for coming home to a blow up Santa and Christmas lights hung on my front porch in November, for the help with laundry and errands, for the friends that continue to show up, for the rare and beautiful love story I once had and for the opportunity in to write a second one....


Dante Joseph


I remember writing last year that Christmas shopping and holiday preparations felt like a burden. I don't feel that so much this year. I'm back in the Christmas spirit full swing. Thank goodness for the innocence and excitement of these kiddos. Plus...them in these Christmas Jammies...I just can't... :)


So, happy Thanksgiving friends! I'm excited to make my mom's Italian Wedding Soup and I'm hoping to get the boys involved in preparing it this year. Holidays are bittersweet, but I find peace in doing things to honor the people we love.


Dominic Michael


How could I stare at this peaceful little face and not feel incredibly thankful for this life?


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6 Comments


Guest
Dec 06, 2023

So happy for your continued healing. Thank you for your bravery to be vulnerable. By telling your story you are helping so many.

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Rebecca DiTore
Rebecca DiTore
Dec 07, 2023
Replying to

I hope so! Thank you so much!

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Guest
Dec 06, 2023

Felt this! Healing is a continuous journey. It must be done from the inside through gratitude, self-care, and being intentional. Thank you for sharing as these past 3 years have been rough for many of us trying to find ourselves after loss. Congratulations on the move and engagement. You’re doing an amazing job; keep pushing forward. Sending love and light.

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Rebecca DiTore
Rebecca DiTore
Dec 07, 2023
Replying to

Absolutely. I am sorry you are also familiar with loss. Sending love and appreciate your kind words! <3

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Guest
Dec 04, 2023

So happy that you are continuing to move forward while you heal. Healing isn't linear and people shouldn't expect you to get over your loss. You can grieve while making space for new experiences. Congratulations on your coming book!

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Rebecca DiTore
Rebecca DiTore
Dec 04, 2023
Replying to

So very true. I appreciate that - thank you!!

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