Coping With The Misty-Colored Memories Of The Way We Were

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For the past few months I have received an email of my “daily memory updates” on Facebook. Every time the email came in I would quickly delete it because there would be a picture of Peter and me traveling, or with the family. Suddenly I realized I could stop the daily pictures and reminders, which were way too painful. I have lost my partner with whom I shared memories. I want to laugh about funny memories. I want to bring back some old times but I hate to remember. Basically I am trying not to miss Peter so much. I have to make my own memories with my family, especially those amazing grandkids.

I have talked to widows and widowers who all have different views on this subject. Some like to keep the pictures and look at them daily. Some, like myself, put the pictures away until we can face them in a better frame of mind (stop with the puns, Laurie!). I don’t know when that will be but I hope it will be soon because he was the most handsome man and what a head of hair! Men, in their 20s, were jealous of Peter’s mane.

In my grief group we talk about whether to wear a wedding ring or not. Some people keep their rings on forever. I took my ring off a month or so after Peter died. It just felt right somehow. But I kept his memory alive by putting the ring on a chain with some other rings I had, including his wedding ring. Peter was big on giving rings to me. He would find a ring that he liked and just surprise me with it. I put all the rings on the chain and now when I need him, I put my fingers through the rings and I feel comforted.

Right after Peter died I suddenly realized that I had to change my ICE (In case of emergency) contact. I entered in all the information for my son. I love my son dearly but the wave of emotion that overcame me when I had to delete Peter’s contact information was devastating. I still measure time by BPD (before Peter died) and APD (after Peter died). I know that one day all the pictures and memories will be touching and soothing but right now I am still in intense grief and it all hurts so much.

The other thing I discuss with my therapist, and in my group, is what to do with the ashes? The ashes were shipped by priority mail to me from Colorado where he died. Who knew that you are not allowed to ship ashes by FedEx or UPS? I put him in our gym, but not on the treadmill because Peter hated to work out. I put him in a cabinet under the television where he would be content. We had talked about being scattered together perhaps on our favorite spot on the beach in Montecito. But, Peter had always requested that he wanted his ashes to be scattered on the 14th green at Cypress Point Golf Club because “there has never been a Jew who is a member.” A friend took a small scoop of Peter’s ashes up to Monterey and scattered them across the road from the hole. In a second, a gust of wind came by and scattered the ashes right on the 14th green! I am so glad that I got to grant him his wish.

“Memories may be beautiful and yet
What’s too painful to remember we simply choose to forget
So it’s the laughter we will remember
Whenever we remember the way we were.” — Marilyn and Alan Bergman

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