Jump to content
Grief Healing Discussion Groups

The Work Goes On--And The Dream Will Never Die

Recommended Posts


I started this as a reply to Phil, but it took on a life of its own once I got going. I left what follows there, but then decided to post it as a separate entity as it is much more about me than it is a reply to his last post. The writing took me further out of the low-grade--to high grade--depression I have been feeling all week. Two decent night's sleep have not hurt the cause either.

I am somewhat better than I have been, though still more down than I have been. I went to see someone's new baby with some friends after work this afternoon. I was feeling ok until I started for home and felt overwhelmed by the emptiness again.

But Jane and I have been having a bit of a conversation tonight--and somehow that has lifted me back up a bit. We both viewed our lives in a peculiar way--that we had work to do here--which sounds strange as I write it but does not change the reality. She reminded me that everything happens for reasons we are not always privy to--and that the work still needs to get done. I can mope, but it does nothing to help others. I can weep and feel sorry for myself--or I can get off my butt and cure this disease, educate our students, educate the teachers that come after us, and educate the general public about what kids need so they can have better lives than we did. All but the first were the work we had before us--and that we had done for years. Adding that first one to the list just makes one more job to do.

The emptiness will be filled as I get back out into the world and do the work again. Our lives were full because we lived them in the service of others. I've been so caught up in my own agony that I have neglected a chunk of what made us us--and that made me me and her her before Jane and I met. So I have started building a team to do the Relay for Life next month, started to gear my mind up for the next writing assignment I have on my plate, and started to put out the feelers I need to to put together a new network to take on the other things left on both our joint and individual to-do lists.

You can tell she wasn't pulling many punches tonight. But we both believed in tough love when it was necessary. I know the pain is not going to go away. But I can choose whether or not I wallow in it. I won't stop grieving, but I can choose to start living again. As she reminded me again tonight, she is the one who now lacks a body on this earth. I still have one and I need to use it appropriately. I need to stop looking at what might have been and start dealing with what is. There is still so much to do--but it is the work we both felt we were born for. And when I finally go home, I want to be able to say I did all I could to make this world better for those who come after us.

Ted Kennedy said it very well: “The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream will never die." As soldiers in that fight, Jane and I sacrificed a great deal. Her body died because of her dedication to the ideal that every child deserved a quality education that was about more than discrete facts --that was also about a method of thinking and solving problems based on logic and evidence rather than wishful thinking and selective--often incorrect--information. Her death does not change the need for people to do that--it does not change the need for me to continue to teach people to do that.

Do not misunderstand me: I will continue to mourn this loss. It hurts more than I can say--but then you all know what that feels like. I will not, however, let this paralyze me any more than I have to. There are dreams that will have to go unexplored and unrealized because they required us both to undertake. But, to quote Tennyson in Ulysses:

Though much is taken, much abides; and though

We are not now that strength which in old days

Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;

One equal temper of heroic hearts,

Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will

To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you Harry.

I have read many of your posts and your kind words have been very helpful.

I knew I was starting to heal when I realized that yes I missed my husband but I am not ready to die and I am thankful I am still here on earth.I have found many things to be thankful for. Good luck in your journey.

Take care.

Mary Lou

Link to comment
Share on other sites


It's great that you're healing, that you're working hard to get through the grief and that you want to continue your work here on earth.

I wish I had your motivation. I want to heal too and I want to get in there and participate in life again - I just can't seem to get motivated.


Link to comment
Share on other sites


I applaud your attitude and wish you well with the carrying it out. I'm not there at the moment, having a bit of a rough time, but I've had my ups and downs, I guess it's all part of it.

Your posts are always inspirational.


Link to comment
Share on other sites


It's good to see positive energy and thoughts, I also feel there is much to be done and shared before I am ready to "Go Home" with Ruth, she also guides me each day and her spirit lives so strong, while I still grieve I am also comforted by her presence, what many of us fail to understand is most of our grief is from our own selfish ways of thinking and feeling sorry for ourselves, I'm pretty sure none of our spouses would have wanted us sitting around drowning in our sorrow, not when we were all so full of life together as "one", now we must move on still as "one" just with the others help from heaven.....What motivates me is Ruth, still after 15 months of grief in my daily routines I remember her fight, positive attitude, beautiful smile, her laugh, her tears, the funny saying's she'd come up with, the little way she walked, the blown kisses as I was leaving for work, the passion we shared, the holding of each other as we discussed her cancer, the lying in bed with her head on my shoulder and me weeping because I knew some day she would not lay her head there anymore, not as I know it, and the unconditional Love that woman expressed for me, so is she really "Gone" ?, I think not, just in another place or dimension, I say this and live this because if she were truely gone I'd have none of the above, so she is indeed very much "alive" and with me daily....it took me many months before this came to my attention but it is part of the master's plan for us to continue as our job on earth is not complete yet....so with that being shared and my outlook I leave you with this.....

God Bless All....


How We Survive

If we are fortunate,

we are given a warning.

If not,

there is only the sudden horror,

the wrench of being torn apart;

of being reminded

that nothing is permanent,

not even the ones we love,

the ones our lives revolve around.

Life is a fragile affair.

We are all dancing

on the edge of a precipice,

a dizzying cliff so high

we can't see the bottom.

One by one,

we lose those we love most

into the dark ravine.

So we must cherish them

without reservation.



This minute.

We will lose them

or they will lose us


This is certain.

There is no time for bickering.

And their loss

will leave a great pit in our hearts;

a pit we struggle to avoid

during the day

and fall into at night.


unable to accept this loss,

unable to determine

the worth of life without them,

jump into that black pit

spiritually or physically,

hoping to find them there.

And some survive

the shock,

the denial,

the horror,

the bargaining,

the barren, empty aching,

the unanswered prayers,

the sleepless nights

when their breath is crushed

under the weight of silence

and all that it means.

Somehow, some survive all that and,

like a flower opening after a storm,

they slowly begin to remember

the one they lost

in a different way...

The laughter,

the irrepressible spirit,

the generous heart,

the way their smile made them feel,

the encouragement they gave

even as their own dreams were dying.

And in time, they fill the pit

with other memories

the only memories that really matter.

We will still cry.

We will always cry.

But with loving reflection

more than hopeless longing.

And that is how we survive.

That is how the story should end.

That is how they would want it to be.

Copyright © 2009 by Mark Rickerby

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Harry, what a wonderful, inspirational post. We are all in such different stages on our journey, but I agree with Mary Lou. I miss my husband, and always will do so, but I am alive, and I plan to move forward. Today is my first day of retirement. Wonderful party at work last Friday (gift of 42" flat screen TV) and then busy weekend with three grandchildren graduating from High School. My husband and I were involved in community theater for years, over 30 for me, and I still am very involved. We have provided an opportunity for many children and young people in our area to overcome shyness, and built self confidence. My late husband was mentor to many of these young people, and adults as well. I am in the process of directing a play for the community theater which will be performed in June. Life is moving forward for me, and while I will never ever forget Michael, and will always forever miss him, I am again finding the joy in being alive.

Nats, what a wonderful poem, I will share it with my friends this friday night at our monthly mini support group. Harry, I have two friends that lost their spouses during last two years. All were involved in our community theater in some way. We get together once a month, fix a meal, watch a movie, and most importantly "TALK". We "get" each other, and how we feel, and it is good to share with each other.

Thanks to all of you for brightening my day.

Mary (Queeniemary) in Arkansas

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...