Step-by-Step we grow through grief
Merriam-Webster defines “step” as
n. 1 – an action planned or taken to achieve a desired result
2 – an individual part of a process…
adj. 1 – proceeding or changing by steps or degrees
On April 9, 2023 (6 days prior to the second anniversary of my husband’s death) I took another step in my journey of grief.
A step toward healing.
The dress in the photo is what I wore to my husband’s funeral.
A cute black dress with buttons down the front and a zipper down the back.
A practical dress that was not only cute, but is comfortable and fits well.
The dress that I thought would be forever in my closet, never to be worn again.
Dan loved it when I wore something cute. He was so complimentary and was at one with my own feelings that come from dressing up and going out on the town. He’d be the first to say, “Don’t leave that dress forever in a closet!”
In a blog post entitled The Dress, I wrote how I spoke with Death about this dress and decided on Easter 2023 that I would wear the dress to church.
“Call it a private protest.
Call it a secret message to the Universe.
Call it whatever you like.
I wore the dress from my husband’s funeral to say to Death—you do not win.”
I told Death
“You do not win!”
On October 5th, I doubled-down on my earlier decision. I dared to wear my cute-funeral-dress to a night out with my girlfriend in Redlands.
Per its usual gift to me, the dress felt perfect. It even fit me better than on the day of the funeral.
Funeral . . .
This “kind-funeral-dress” gave me courage to go to the cemetery where we would bury my beloved of 52 years.
In it’s own way, it gave me courage to publicly thank those who took time out of their lives to honor Dan’s life…to stand up bravely to thank and welcome them.
It gave me courage to take in the overwhelming love from family and friends as we said a formal goodbye to my beloved, their papa, grandpa, brother, uncle, and friend.
This kind dress has served me well.
So why not take her to a night on the town with my girlfriend?
We ate dinner at an adorable restaurant with delicious food. Late into the evening we ran into my daughter, Debi, and her girlfriend at a street-facing table where they were celebrating Katie’s 40th year of life.
On Deb’s recommendation we headed to the Oyster Bar where I gave a precious family friend a big hug before we headed home.
By the end of the night (dress still fresh & smart, btw!) we were planning our next trip there and planting seeds for THAT adventure.
I had a sense that Dan was enjoying watching me from some far-away place—smiling and knowing, Love Wins!
I do feel proud of the steps big and small I have taken since April 15, 2021…and before….in the year during illness and what felt like unrelenting pain day after day.
Eventually, relief comes to the process that seems never-ending..
Bit by bit, things do get better.
And now….well….for now,
I wonder where I might wear this “dress-now-a-friend” in the future?