Friday, February 18, 2011

Vacation from Grief

This great article was featured on Bereaved Parents of the USA Newsletter, A Journey Together volume XVI winter 2011.

Vacation From Grief

     After Brad died his girlfriend returned his high school ring to me. I put it on and did not remove it for a very long time. By wearing it I felt like I was taking Brad with me wherever I went. Actually, it was the grief I was carrying around with me; and I wasn’t ready to let it go. About two years later my wife said she was tired of the constant gloominess that had infiltrated our lives and insisted we take a vacation. “And we’re not taking our grief with us,” she pleaded. Easier said than done.

     On the day of departure I slid Brad’s ring off my finger and placed it in my jewelry box. Just like when he was little and we’d leave him with his grandparents, I spoke to the ring. “We’re only going for a few days. Me and mom need some alone time. I know you’ll be here waiting for me. I’ll pick you up as soon as I get back.”

     Somehow that seemed to work. The symbolic act of taking off the ring allowed me to have a nice time.
Not surprising, the grief was waiting for me right where I left it. The grief, after eight years, has softened,
but I still wear Brad’s ring every day and I still take it off before going on vacation. And yes, I still say,
“I’ll see you when we get back.”

Richard Berman, Baltimore


Holly said...

I def identified with this. Just a few days after we received Carleigh's fatal diagnosis we left for a family vacation that we had been planning for 3 yrs. I left grief and everything else behind for that time we were away and it did me a world of good and I think it helped me so much.

Monica said...

Thanks for sharing that! I know that I had a hard time the first time I decided to set my grief aside to enjoy a vacation/adventure. I felt guilty, but I think this story represents how needful it is to do this from time to time. It in no way means you have "forgotten" your child!

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