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How To Go Back To A Place Closely Associated With The Loss?


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Have any of you had this? I have to return to a place that I closely associate with the person I lost (so many places that person loved, so many memories!). I don't know how to handle it. The anticipation is really difficult. I've been mentally preparing for months and months, but I still feel extreme fear about it. Any tips? Thanks.

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Em, I have been wondering how you are, especially over Christmas.

I can share with you that when I have gone to places that are so strongly associated with Cliff, that the anticipation has always been worse than the actual reality of going there. Sometimes it has felt bittersweet, occasionally bringing a feeling of peace to me, even a smile ... other times there has been a tug on the heartstrings, also a feeling of accomplishment that I have managed to do it ... but there are some places I cannot go ... like the place we married in Jamaica for I know that would break me, or actually walk into our old apartment on the coast, for example (that would be self-torture).

Sometimes when I drive down to the coast, the beauty of the sea - when I first catch a glimpse of it - takes my breath away, and I cry, but they are not bad tears, rather they are sacred tears, healing me ...

I tend to think of it like this: nothing can really remind me more of Cliff, for I remember him all the time. And I carry him in my heart all the time. I take him everywhere with me. The old familiar places stand as evidence that it all really happened and that he loved me so much.

BUT, if you are referring to a place that you associate with the loss rather than your Dad ... i.e. where he passed away, I think that's a different thing altogether. I found myself standing in the ward of the hospital where Cliff died (because my neighbour was ill and happened to be put in the same ward) - that effect was not positive at all. It was only 4 or 5 months after I lost him .... I started shaking so much one of the nurses came over to see if I was OK. I don't know how I would react today - but I don't particularly want to visit there. I'd rather remember him as he was, not as he died. But I may find myself there again one day, and it would not stop me providing someone else with support or comfort if they need it.

Everyone is different ... as you know. But that's my personal experience.

I don't know if you'd like to take a flower or something to place in this special place - is it in the great outdoors? Or, perhaps some rose petals to scatter? Or take a photo of the scene, and pick a flower (so you can press it ... then frame the photo and put the dried flower in the frame beside it...)

Another idea is a little different, so bear with me ... how about taking a home printed photo of your Dad or one of your Dad with you and place it somewhere ... (leave it in a spot that you stood together on to appreciate a view, or by a tree, under a rock) ... so that you have not only taken him in your heart, but also literally left his mark, almost like he did upon this world and your very being). I read a blog where a widow travels quite a lot, and she does this, everywhere she goes ... and she photographs it. It brings her comfort ... and it's her way of taking him and her love for him into the future (or the past if you are going to a place that brings so many memories).

You might find that too quirky, but I wanted to share it with you, just in case :-)

Love to you

Boo xxxx

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Dear Em,

I think one of the things that has actually helped my recovery is that we moved a few years before Bob died, so my day to day surroundings don't have the many years of memories behind them. I have had times when I have had to return to places we spent a lot of time at and each one is met with a great deal of trepedation and anxiety. Do I cry at the memories, oh yeah, but like Boo said, they are places of a happier time and I cherish those. It has been healing in that they remind me of what our life together was instead of staying stuck in the last few weeks and years of Bob's illness.

None of this is easy, Hon, but I believe we are given small doses to help ease the burden. It is difficult, but necessary. We can't shut out the hurt, as much as we would like to. But our strength comes in facing what was and holding onto the good that came from it. That said, I was not able to return to the hospital where he died. He was there only a few days and I have only negative memories of it.

Let us know how you did.


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