Today is 239 days since I lost my soulmate, my best friend, my children’s dad, my grandchildren’s Poppy, Bobby’s brother, and to be honest a true friend to everyone he met. Rick was a vibrant personality, he was the guy who lit up the room. His sense of humor was probably one of my favorite qualities, although he would often use it to lighten heavy situations and I would get annoyed. We had a certain language developed over 46 years of marriage, often using certain “eye contact” or as the children called it the “eyebrow”. It was a language developed over 51 years of being friends and sharing the ups and downs of this crazy world we live in.

This year was an unexpected turn for us as a couple and for my family. Many have mentioned all the “firsts” I would go through, but honestly I’ve been doing that for ten years now. This life I am leading is not like the other. I know all the obvious things and expect the grief bursts on holidays and special occasions, but what I didn’t expect was the feelings of helplessness and loneliness. Oh I knew it would be different, but it is more than different, it is painful. Life goes on for everyone else, but for you, life came to a standstill. It is as if you are standing outside a snow globe looking in. You place your arms around it in order to get the very best view, as close as you can get, pressing your face against the glass. Inside there are houses, decorated with wreaths and lights, children playing, families putting up the tree, and snow falling. It is a peaceful scene. It used to be your family doing all those things, it used to be you putting up all the decorations. Now, you are the outsider. You are looking in and there is a glass partition between you and the scene before you. That glass is your grief.

Going through the motions and getting to the other side becomes your goal. Merely surviving it all is you really wish for. The other goal becomes hiding it, as best you can, from the rest of the world. Grabbing that mask as you walk out the door, smiling as you greet people, lending a hand when you can be of help, that becomes your everyday life. Now there are times you can be yourself, expressing what you really feel and allowing your emotions to show, but they are few and far between. Even with those closest to you, you are cautious, trying not to burden them with your problems. It is like a delicate dance, sometimes steps are slow and methodical and seem to go with the flow of the music, but sometimes they are deliberate and awkward and you feel like the rhythm is off. You scramble to regain your composure and gently return to stepping carefully, trying to return to the order of the dance.

All of these things take energy and time and above all, patience. You need patience with yourself and patience with others. No one understands your pain and you can’t understand theirs. Even if a situation is similar, you can’t understand. You can only understand how you felt in your situation and know it to be difficult. Empathy can be a wonderful gift at this time of year and it costs nothing. The greatest gift you can give a grieving person is a memory because memories we can keep forever. As time goes on, we are so fearful of forgetting.

Many who read this blog are doing so because, they too, have a broken heart. It helps to have companions on the journey, not to fix it, but to just be there. So today, after you read this can you leave a memory for me about someone you love and miss everyday. It can be a word or a sentence or anything you would like to share. That will help me continue my journey through the maze knowing we are not alone and hopefully help you too.

Hope is to walk toward the light, not shielding your eyes, but maybe temporarily wearing sunglasses. That allows you to continue forward at your own pace in your own time.

14 thoughts on “OUTSIDE LOOKING IN…”

  1. Carolyn, that first Christmas without my son was unbearable and then the first Christmas after my husband died was excruciating pain. The reality of half my family gone was a pain that can’t be described. Do what you need to do- run, hide, scream, cry, punch….
    Be kind to yourself and don’t let anyone tell you should get through it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I lost my husband, my best friend as well, 10 months ago. Everything you are saying is so true. Love the snow globe analogy. That so accurately describes how we are experiencing the world right now. I am helping another navigate this journey. She is several months behind me. It really does help to unite with others in the situation.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I lost my only sibling in February(sister Lou). She was only 68. Never a day goes by without thoughts/memories of her. I know everyone grieves in their own way, but there is no easy way to handle it. Sharing with close friends helps but still the heart aches. Thanks for posting your thoughts and u r such an inspiration to so many.
    God bless u and your family this Christmas.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My cherished memory of my precious husband, Jim, was his total love and devotion to me which he demonstrated as my constant companion, confidant and soulmate. I am a blessed woman to have had him in my life! He is greatly missed, but his memory gives me strength as I move forward. Carolyn, you continue to bless me with your words of what’s important on this journey of life. May God bless you as you continue to serve Him and give hope to others!


  5. The loss of a loved one is hard to bare especially during the holidays. My mom and I were never close during my childhood. I was definitely a Daddy’s girl. It wasn’t until later in life that my mom moved in with us, that our relationship became close. She became my best friend and confidant. After 10yrs she moved to Indiana to be with my Aunt whom was now alone. She became ill and I would go spend weeks at a time to be with her and care for over the next 3yrs. She passed 2 yrs ago and will celebrate her 95th birthday in heaven tomorrow. I was devastated by her passing and not a moment passes that I wish she was still here. My joy comes from knowing that someday I will see her and my dad again. Ricky was a dear friend, more like a brother. He taught us the ins and outside of BBQ. My husband uses his smoker every weekend and people love what comes off that pit! We tell them about Perrins BBQand our dear friend that showed his talents. We will see him again someday! Love and prayers for you sweet Caroline…. Merry Christmas!


    1. Thank you for sharing. I’m so glad you got time with your mom and became close. Moms are so special. I am sure we all came into each other’s lives for a reason. We had wonderful times helping Rick pursue his crazy dream. As hard as it was at times, I am glad he got to do it. People still talk about Perrin’s BBQ.


  6. This is the third Christmas without my precious husband, Jimmy.
    I have always loved seeing snow fall
    and the beauty it creates. Jimmy loved warm weather.
    It seemed that snow followed us during our last few years together.
    To Shepherdstown, surprising us during lunch at our favorite restaurant; again in West Virginia one morning and during the night in Vermont…….in May.
    He would anxiously await my reaction when we would wake up to a winter wonderland.
    He rejoiced with me and treasured my happiness. I will never forget.
    Thank you for sharing and allowing me to share.
    I miss him beyond words.
    May your Christmas be a blessed one.


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