Grief and My Own Journey

by Janet Sellars
(Dallas, Tx USA)

Jim at Jam Rocks in Corozal, Belize Central Ameria

Jim at Jam Rocks in Corozal, Belize Central Ameria


Grief comes in several different ways and times during a person’s life. It can be in the loss of a spouse, child, pet, job and many other different ways. Losing a spouse very suddenly can be one of the most dramatic and terrifying events in a person’s life. We are never prepared for the loss and learning to deal with it is not only difficult but can also be very complicated.
There are no books written, classes taught or other ways to prepare one for the different types of losses we encounter during our lifetime. Most of us just kind of work through the process as we feel we are able to. Trying to figure out what you need to take care of first after the funeral or cremation can be very confusing.

Mine is different from most people who reside in the United States. After 25 years of marriage to a wonderful man, Jim passed away suddenly in Corozal Town, Belize Central American on the 1st of November 2011. There are so many things that need to be done when you are out of the country and the laws and regulations are different than they are here in the United States. If it had not been for the friends and the funeral home I would have been completely lost as to what needed to be done. Thankfully a very dear friend of my, PeggyJo, was very helpful in contacting the funeral home to make arrangements to have his body cremated per his wish. Ms. Delphenia from the funeral home was very helpful in handling all of the necessary paperwork. The first thing you need to do is to file a report with the Police if the hospital has not contacted them. This is required of anyone who passes away in Belize. If you are an American citizen, the U.S. Embassy becomes involved because they need to provide you with copies of the “Report of Death of a U. S. Citizen Abroad”. They will also request a copy of your marriage license, the original passport of the deceased person and a copy of your passport. They cancel the deceased person’s passport and return it back to you. Permission has to be granted by the Department of Health in Corozal Town to have the body cremated. The Department of Health in Belize City has to grant permission and approval to bring the remains back to the United States. This process can take anywhere from a week or two or even longer. I was lucky in that mine took just under two weeks to get everything done for me return to the United States with my husband’s remains.
I knew that if made a list of whom I needed to contact prior to returning to the States that it would be much easier for me and to help me keep myself organized. The first thing on my list was to contact the Social Security Administration to stop his disability payments and to check on the Survivor Benefits for Widows. The next thing on my list was to contact the State to cancel his Voter Registration card and then the County Jury Service to let them know he was deceased since he was due to report for jury duty the 9th of January 2012. Other things on my list are to contact the mobile phone service to have the service put in my name and have his phone number cancelled; contacting the insurance company to have him removed from the automobile insurance policy; sell his vehicle and contacting friends that knew him and us to let them know of his passing; I have accomplished some of these things but not all of them. I will admit that I am still procrastinating on contacting the mobile phone company and the insurance company.
I have been looking into joining a Widowed Persons Support Group but still have my hesitations as it has only been two months, 2 days and 23 hours and 45 minutes since his passing. Sometimes I feel like I am not being true to him and it does make me cry when I think out it. I know that it will help me to cope with his passing and to have people to talk with that have been in the same place that I am know.
I have also looked into joining a church group to give me something to do and meet new people. This is another thing that I am still having a problem with because of the feeling of not be true to his memory and to him. I do know and understand that in time I will be in a place to finish handling the rest of the affairs that need to be taken care of and that there will come a time when I will be in a place to join one or both of the above groups.
I have found that by keeping busy does help. The hardest things I have found were the most difficult were dealing with the holidays and going to places that we went together as a couple. I know that there are going to be other difficult times ahead such as my birthday, Valentine’s Day, what would have been our 26th anniversary in May and then again in October (we were married twice: eloped the first time and the second one was for family and friends), his birthday, and Halloween as that was his favorite holiday of the whole year. This year will be the most difficult Halloween for me because we had gone to a Halloween party the night before his passing. We had gotten up as normal around 6 AM and did our usual thing of having coffee together and checking our e-mails on the computer. All he talked about the whole morning was the fun he and I both had at the Halloween party, what the different people had worn and how some of the costumes fit some of the people there so well. We went to eat breakfast at June’s Kitchen, better known in Corozal as Miss June’s by both locals and expats then on to cash a check to have money for the next two weeks. We were going to go look at a small two bedroom house that was coming up for rent the end of December. We had come to the conclusion that Corozal was the place we wanted to retire to and spend the rest of our lives together.
We had spent three months in Corozal, Belize C.A. for three months during the summer and fell in love with it. We did finally get involved in playing darts on Saturday afternoons at Scotty’s. We met and made friends with everyone we played darts with. I was totally amazed at the friends you make in another country are the friendships that last for a lifetime. I am constantly in contact with several of the people there and am looking forward to returning for a short visit of two weeks to a month this summer. I look forward to seeing everyone one again and in playing darts again with them. I have also come to the conclusion that yes I will return at some point within the next two years to Corozal Town, Belize C.A. to live as a retiree and work on getting my Belize Residency.
Today is January 16, 2012 and it is not really a good day for me. I have managed to keep myself busy doing things around the house, but today is not one of them. I have a list of things that I need to do but I do not have the motivation today to do them. Every time I look at the Urn/Box I start to cry. I hope that as time goes on I can look at the Urn/Box and not cry. I know that he is in a better place but that does not do much to comfort me much today. Jim always opened the car door for me even after 25 plus years of marriage. We were inseparable, for when you saw one you saw both of us or knew the other was close by.
I miss you so much sweetheart and wish I could just talk with you again. I want to hold you tightly and never let you go. I packed your clothes and they are in the storage area upstairs. I cannot bring myself to part with them so I have put them away where I can easily get to them. You are never far from my thoughts. I love you so much. I did find Dawna Lee on Facebook but I have not tried to contact her. I placed her picture beside you. I am slowly getting some things done around here and have rearranged some of the furniture. I need to start cleaning the living/dining room floor so I can fill in the cracks, but that is not a task I am looking forward to right now. The kitchen faucet died. I bought a new one and Oscar replaced it. The dishwasher has decided it does not want to wash dishes, no water. Oscar is supposed to be checking to see if he can find a used one. Marlene has been such a big help getting things done around here that should have been done before we left for Belize. Figured the taxes and we should be getting about $3,000 back and maybe a little more. Bud’s is getting just over $400 back this year. He is still unemployed and his unemployment is set to run out at some point within the next several months. I think we might go up to Step Up this afternoon, just to get out of the house. Bud and I are both trying to conserve money. We are both trying to cut down on cigarettes and hopefully eventually quit smoking altogether. He is doing laundry right now and I will do mine tomorrow. There is no set routine yet as to when the laundry gets done. It is mostly when either of us feels like doing our laundry. The kitchen is clean. I bought some clear sealer/caulk to go around the counter tops and the backsplash to seal them. The roach population has decreased tremendously here of late. Bud finally took up the carpet in his room and I think that we are going to put down either linoleum or the peel and stick tile. I am not sure which one he wants for sure. I love you babe.
I keeping adding to this as it is also my own personal journal and helps me when I am having the hardest time dealing with Jim’s passing.

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