The difference in grief

Eight years ago today, my dear friend Joe passed away. And next Sunday will mark the sixth anniversary of my beloved husband, Paul’s, death. And I am very aware of how different my emotions are for each death; for each set of memories.

Six years ago today, I came home and cried to my husband about how sad I was that my friend had been gone for two years. I was sad that I wasn’t more upset, as I felt I should be crying. But I was pleased that my memories of Joe brought me so much laughter. (Well, after the first six months anyhow, which were filled with mostly tears and restless sleep.)

I also cried to Paul about Joe’s partner who was surely missing him more than words could ever express. And that then led to a conversation about “moving forward” should tragedy strike our own happy home.

Little was I to know that a week later I would be experiencing the same devastating blow that Joe’s partner experienced two years prior.

And little did I know that the tears and restless nights would stretch far, far beyond six months.

I find it strange (yet oddly understandable) that I rarely cry when thinking about Joe these days; and mostly laugh on his birthday and the anniversary of his death when my experiences with thoughts of Paul are so different.

When I think of Paul, I often find myself misty-eyed (not always, not even most of the time, but often). And on Paul’s birthday and even more so on the anniversary of his death, I am beside myself with grief and even find myself crying quite a bit in the lead-up to these upsetting dates.

I no longer actively grieve for Joe, despite thinking of him often and missing him very much. Sure, I wish that Joe was here, playing an active role in my life, but his absence doesn’t impact my day-to-day life.

But I grieve for Paul. And I miss Paul desperately. And I’m lonely without him. Paul’s absence does impact my life, and it impacts it nearly every day.

Joe was a part of my life. Paul was my life.

Joe touched my heart. Paul opened my heart.

Joe made my soul happy. Paul made my soul sing with joy.

I loved Joe. I was in love with Paul. (And love him still.)

The simple fact is that my relationship with Paul – although much shorter than my friendship with Joe – was deeper and more meaningful than any relationship I’ve ever had.

Because marital love is different from friendship. Losing a spouse is different from losing a friend. For me, at least.

I miss Joe. And I am very aware that if Paul were here, I’d have an easier time missing my friend. And I also know that if Joe was here, he would have helped me cope with the loss of Paul.

I could really use one of them in my life right now. Although I’d rather have both!

I don’t really know what the point of this post is, other than to say that I’ve really been noticing the difference between how I grieve for different people in my life.

And, of course, to say that I miss Joe. I really do. He was a good friend, despite him and the rest of “the guys” tormenting the heck out of me! I was very blessed to have him in my life.

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