Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Caring Place -- The Memory Quilt

The Memory Quilt

We had Caring Place tonight and in all honesty, I was really dreading it. I knew it was going to be a tough night...this was the first time that the memory quilts would be hanging on the wall. For those of you that don't know - the Caring Place asks each family to make a square that will be sewn together into a big memory quilt. It's a great idea and there are many quilts hanging on the wall throughout the Caring Place facility.

Tonight was the first night that our quilt would be hanging and I have very conflicted feelings about it. Please don't misinterpret what I'm trying to say here. It's a great honor and the quilt came out great (see the image below)

But it's just makes me feel a little strange to walk around the Caring Place and see all the reminders of the people that have passed. It's a great way to honor someone, but at the same time it makes me very sad for all the families as well...it's just hard to capture in words.

The Session

The group session was also a little hard to digest. For those who have been following the blog, remember that I wasn't totally bought into the CP the first time around. The first few sessions anyway, but then something just clicked and it turned into a very good overall experience for ALL of us. It just doesn't seem to be having the same impact this time around. I go because the girls like to go and if it makes them happy, I will suck it up and go. But, and this will sound a little harsh and I don't intend for it to come across that way, I am attempting to go on with my life and every time I go to the CP now it seems to drag me back to a place where I am trying to move away from.

The first time around at CP, it did wonders for me. It felt good to go and talk to others who were experiencing the pain, frustration, anger, the void that I felt. We would talk about it; I would leave there and genuinely feel better. Many of the people in this session are still very sad and have NOT gotten on with their lives, again, I'm not trying to sound harsh or mean, but some of the comments made make me...well somewhat angry. I want to say something like, what would your husband or wife think about what you're doing or not doing. I know that Jen would be totally pissed at me if I were sitting around feeling sorry for myself and not attempting to move on.

Grieving sucks...it does...it's so uncontrollable and unpredictable. If I have taken away anything from this "experience", it's this. Life is short people...to short. Don't sit around waiting for things to happen...if you want something then it's up to YOU to make it happen. Me...I am determined to go on...for my girls sake...for MY sake...I am determined to live a productive life...to live a fulfilling life...to live a happy life. I owe that my girls...to Jen...and to myself.


  1. It sounds like to me that you are moving forward, which is great. I don't think you should worry about sounding mean or harsh. Maybe when you first went to the caring place you were in a different stage of grief and not being in that state of mind anymore is proof that there has been growth and healing. I found your blog after reading Callapitter for a while and am continually amazed by your insights and strength to move on. I liked your analogy about grief when you compared it to a spiral. Grief does suck and it can't be controlled or measured in time or weight. Keep writing! You inspire people like me to make the most out of every single day since we can't guarantee tomorrow will come.

  2. Can you drop the girls off? I am glad that you stuck with TCP, which seemed to really help you. In fact, just recently I was telling someone about you and how you did not like TCP at first, but you stuck with it, and then it worked for you. But now it seems as if you are past that, which is a testament to TCP and to you.

    Even though I don't really know you, I am glad to be part of your journey as a bystander. You give a lot of people hope and you are setting a great example for your girls. I don't know Jen either, but I am sure she would be happy.

  3. Bill,

    I met a woman at the airport the other day that runs marathons. We got to talking about it and she described the marathon she ran in honor of her brother who had passed away that same year. She said that while her run truly did help her to grieve, grief still hits her unexpectedly “like confetti bits fluttering down.” That struck me and it reminded me of how you have also described the unpredictability of the grieving process. The Caring Place (along with your caring friends and family :) will be there when you need them. Only you can know when it’s time to leave the TCP and when you need to be there. You shouldn’t feel any guilt about moving on or compare your process to that of others – everyone is on their own journey. People tend to live either in the past (dwelling on things) or in the future (running away from pain, dismissing realities and not facing truths), but where we truly need to live is in the present – recognizing and appreciating the moment and staying as open to its possibilities as we can be. Like you said – life is too short not to.


Inside Bill's Head -- Previously Known as (Inside the Head of a Grieving Single Dad)

In August of 2009 my wife Jennifer passed away from an Anaplastic Astrocytoma Brain Tumor. She was only 38 years old. She left me and our two little girls Abbie and Allie to continue life’s journey.

I promised her that I would NOT become angry and bitter about what happened...in order to do that I am attempting to write to express my thoughts and feelings.

This site is a place where I can express my thoughts, feelings and rants...