The 4th of July past and present

by Hope
(Tappahannock VA)

The 4th of July has many memories for me of both past and present. Many moons ago before grief made itself known it was a joyful time. Get together's with family and friends at "the river" My fathers and mothers simple beach house on the Rappahannock river.

My father died Jan 2009. Paul my husband Dec 2009. So much has changed and I have changed with it, with time. Hubby having had a stroke following brain surgery was very sensitive to loud sounds. I did not understand this until grief made loud sounds and commotion unbearable for me as well. I was able to understand how he felt even if slightly.

Therefor the 4th of July made him uncomfortable with the loud bangs. The neighbor at the river insisted on setting off M-80's. If you recall as most of us do it is much like a large firecracker, very loud. My sister asked this unthoughtful neighbor to stop setting them off as it upset my husband. He continued to do so anyway :(

When My now 14 year old son was young he too could not stand the sound of loud fireworks. We left many a celebration because of this.

I prefer to think of the times that we all sat on the beach after a long day of sunning and swimming, perhaps having Maryland blue crabs steamed with plenty of old bay. Later to sit and oooh and ahhh at the fireworks that everyone had brought as well as the fireworks set off all along the river by others.

I must admit that I have avoided the traditional 4th of July since my Love passed. It is too painful to recall the good or the bad. This year I am taking my son to a baseball game on the 4th.

The only way that I can survive grief and begin to take on this new life as it was meant to be is to shake things up, not do as I have done but to do new things. Such as going to visit my sons in CA for Christmas. Doing the exact opposite as I have done in the past.

Am I cheating my son of things that were? Am I running from my own past or simply trying to make my/our own traditions our own future? I do not know....I simply know that I am taking on the "New Normal" as best as I can.

I Hope that all of you on this roller coaster of grief can do the same and continue to take things one breath one day and one step at a time...

Comments for The 4th of July past and present

Click here to add your own comments

Jul 07, 2012
Holding on
by: Elizabeth

It has been 7 1/2 months since I lost my sweetheart and I decided I could not face the 4th at home. My older son (age 21) and I flew to Kansas from Maryland just get away and spend time with loved ones that can accept our grief and we can enjoy spending time with. I was very sad my 19 yr old could not come too, but we decided last minute to do the trip and he had to work. Anyway. I don't think of it as running away, I think of it as surviving.
It is horrible having my heart ripped in half, my old life completely ended and my best friend, love and husband gone.i have no control over that, and what I choose to do next I do to make it through to the next hour, day, week or month.
You are ok. You are not alone. I am right there beside you.

Jul 03, 2012
Congratulations! Drumroll on my 2 cent worth
by: Marilyn

I think the 4th of July shoUld be more about freedom and not pouring salt into our deep, deep wounds. I congratulate you on being able to venture out and move forward. It will be your own forward, for you and your son, as this IS what it IS. I envy you and look forward to doing this myself. September will mark 2 years for my loss and I need to start focusing on what IS and not what WAS. God knows we'll never forget them. They've etched themselves permanently in our hearts, brains, souls and entire beings.
Your son still has, within him, things that WERE.
You don't want to cheat him of things that ARE.
As far as running from our past, we don't have to run. It has been snatched from us and we have to accept that it no longer IS.
Wow, that was easy to write. Now comes the part of believing it and accepting it and living it.
This is coming from a 61 year old widow that is still wearing her wedding rings. Well, you go first and let me know how the landing goes.
Wishing you all the best,

Jul 03, 2012
Use it or lose it sister (your mind)
by: Anonymous

Trish, July 3rd

I know how hard it is to go and do new things. At first it is almost paralyzing causing your stomach to do cartwheels. But as you face this new fear, going life alone you begin to gain confidence. Doing things alone or alone in groups does not make a cheese stands alone aloneness.

Just think of it as people watching. Surely we have all done that in a mall or while waiting in line seeing shall we say unusual people. You will also see couples holding hands and at first it will make you angry. But as time passes you will see that old couple as having the love you did too and you will smile believe it or not.

It take courage to survive grief and take on this new life. No doubt about it. I even wonder if I am trying to run through grief traveling as much as my budget will allow. Being gone as much as possible, catching that sunset, taking a picnic lunch to that patch of shade under a tree, seeing concerts locally at the job pavilion in Fredericksburg.

I am not running, I am LIVING and if the housework does not get done as it should there is always tommorrow. That is unless something tasty comes up that I want to do. I have done my time with grief now it is time to slowly put my life back together and decide what I want to do.

Selfishness the only benefit of grief. I can do as I please answering to no one. This has caused some problems as far as becoming accustomed to comfort foods. The ahhh feel good of desert and chips and dip have become a habit. I know it is a subtitute for what I miss. It is the oooh ahh that shopping gives the endorphines that are short lived.

But I will find my way past this, I did promise myself not to start drinking to kill the pain not having ever been a drinker that was an easy task.

We all find our way to use the time given us. It does not need to be empty. Work with kids, drive to an amazing sunset, use some physical energy to feel better about getting something done.
Even if it is sitting on a crate with tar and bug remover trying to get the paint or mud off the car that has been there for 6 months or better. (my job at dusk last night)

We lost what we loved but we are given time, not to waste but to make count and to make us find a way toward the new life we now possess.

Use the courage that lies deep within. Do things that you have never done and remember hold you head up high regardless of what comes you way. Be proud you have done so much and you will continue to do so...
Hmm the word below is feeble...We are strong!

Jul 02, 2012
Old and new traditions
by: Judy

For what it's worth, I think you should do whatever on holidays, the 4th of July and otherwise, that makes you feel the best and happiest. That is what your son will remmeber that you made the holidays fun for him and that you yourself shared in that happiness.

I'm saying this from the perspective of having all my kids grown and off in lives of their own. They don't seem to rememebr exactly what we did on the happy times, only that the times were good and we shared them. This from kids ages 32 and 31.

Having said that I totally understand the need you feel to keep old traditions alive. But things are not the way they used to be and you cannot recreate the same times because a key player is missing.

For myself personally I just could not keep doing the same things I did with Barry and make any forward progress. It made my heart ache to take the lighted deer out to the front lawn to dispaly so I just didn't do it . Ditto the elaborate tree he loved. This year was one of my best holdays since he left me. I went to CA also to my daughter and son-in-law who is Jewish. All my kids and I spent Christmas eve in a Chinese Resaurant filled with laughing Oriental families. It was great and the essence of the season, love and family, was there.

Your instincts are good. Trust them and your son will be just fine.


Jul 01, 2012
The 4th of July past and present
by: Doreen U.K.

Dear Hope
sorry for your loss. Of course you are not dishonouring the memory of your loved one by doing things differently, or for yourself. You are taking responsibility for your life and trying to live it the best way you can in grief. I applaud you for making the effort to reach out and be supportive to your family. It is good to be able to write a new history. A history that will be respected and honoured for years to come. it should be something that you all as a family can enjoy together and help you all in your grief journey in recovery.

Jul 01, 2012
Grief~Made In The USA!!
by: TrishJ

(So good to hear from you) When Joe first passed I read a book on grieving. The book stated over and over again how I should tuck he past away ~ only to be brought out at special times when I needed to reflect and remember. I thought ~ what a whack job this lady is!! She has a degree in what? She recommended that I put all pictures of Joe away, get rid of all personal items and go out and try new things.
For the past 19 months (July 3 will be 19 months) I have been clinging to my old life with both hands and all the strength I could muster. I want Joe back, I want my old life back, I want Joe here to be the mediator when my two adult children argue with each other. NOT GONNA HAPPEN.
Still.....I am afraid to venture out and try new things. I got an email last week from and old boyfriend (from 40 years ago) asking me to go to Summerfest in Milwaukee for the 4th. Terror gripped me like I couldn't even believe. I thought ~ I can't do that ~ can I?
At Joe's funeral a very good friend of my daughter's sang LeAnne Womack's song I Hope You Dance. That's what Joe would want us to do ~ dance and dance. I still don't feel much like dancing. If I were to dance, I would want it to be to all of our favorite songs.
What are we supposed to do with our lives? Just when I feel like I'm making progress I realize, I'M NOT. How do we move on without forgetting the past? It's twice as hard for you Hope, with a young son still to raise. Your son should be taught all the things Paul used to love but should it be at your expense? It's hard to go back and relive things. Although I try so hard to hold on I realize it's also heartbreaking to be at those places I used to go with Joe.
Oh...if we only had all the answers......
Que Sera Sera ~ the future IS NOT ours to see.
Celebrate the 4th the way you want to. Tell your son about the things Paul used to love.
I pray for peace for both of us. I think you're alot like me Hope, do we analyze things to much instead of going with our gut? Anyway.....Happy 4th. We're proud to be Americans!!

Click here to add your own comments

Return to Lost Spouse/ True Love.

[?]Subscribe To This Site
  • follow us in feedly
  • Add to My Yahoo!
  • Add to My MSN
  • Subscribe with Bloglines

RSS Feed Widget


Tap into the compassion, support and wisdom of the


Essential Healing Guide

Grief Relief

Free Griefwork

Free Stress

SBI Video Tour!