During the past weeks many roads in Sandy Springs have been closed, forcing me to take different routes to church. I know what’s open and what’s not, and which way I need to take. But invariably, a few times a week I find myself driving down the old, familiar path that now ends in a “Road Closed” sign. The habits of almost 20 years are deeply ingrained.
Grief is a lot like those closed roads. I know that Joe is gone, but invariably I still find myself picking up the phone to call or text him, wondering what to get him for Christmas, or what he’d like for dinner. The habits of 26 years of marriage are also deeply engrained.
It has been almost eight months since Joe’s death and I know that many of you are wondering how I’m doing. That’s a fair question. The short answer is I’m better.
I had not planned to take vacation this year since I was away for so long surrounding Joe’s illness and death. But the vestry was adamant that I needed the break, so I took vacation in August.
The vestry was right. I am in a much better place now than I was those first weeks and months, when the grief was fresh and raw. I was physically back at work then, but mentally and emotionally I was just going through the motions.
Now I am really back. The last few weeks I have felt fully engaged and have gone home on Sundays energized and excited.
That does not mean grieving is over. I still have plenty of teary moments, and still am heartbroken. I confess that I’m dreading the holidays and all the first anniversaries that are looming in the coming months. I know it will be hard, but I also know I have the support I need to get through what I suspect will be difficult days ahead.
Once again, I thank all of you for all your prayers, love, and care. I can’t imagine how much more difficult this year would have been without this wonderful community surrounding us. Every day I give thanks for the blessing of being your priest.