Jerry’s mom, Bridget, died suddenly and unexpectedly this past December 14th, the day before her 69th birthday. Like with any loss, there has been a myriad of emotions with each family member. Jerry’s dad has been having the most difficult time which after spending 42 years together, you would except that to be the case.
He came to see us recently and it was a really good weekend visit. I immediately saw in him, how grieving is like living two lives; one where you pretend everything is alright and the other where one’s heart silently screams in pain. The best we can do for loved ones in this situation is to give them permission and the space to allow them to experience both sides and to be present with them whenever they need you.
While Jerry Sr. was here, we took him on two different hikes which he later said he really enjoyed. Jerry and I strongly believe that time in nature can help everyone in any situation (and while we know it’s not going to magically cure him of the difficulty he’s having), positive self care outlets are crucial to healing while grieving.
After our day hikes, in the late afternoon and evenings, I would cook for us all and clean up while Jerry and his dad had many heart to hearts about how they’re feeling and coping now without her here.
I grieve because Bridget was always so welcoming, loving and supportive (she always had been from the first time she met me almost 12 years ago). Also, she herself had a strong willed child (Jerry) and I felt like she was the only person who truly understood how Connor was as an infant and little kid because his father was very similar to him. It was comforting to hear her stories about Jerry growing up; I knew I wasn’t alone and that it will pass and he’ll be just as wonderful as his father.
I always thanked Bridget for raising Jerry to be the husband and father he is today because of the values she instilled in him at a young age. I am so grateful I was able to tell her that when I had the chances. A couple weeks before she died, we had spoken on the phone and talked about helping them as they got older if they needed it (which always surprised her when we said that). She would say, “Thank you, Heather, you don’t see too many daughter in laws who would do that!” We are just so heartbroken that we won’t get to spend more time with her but we will hold onto the memories we do have. And we will always share stories and photos with Connor so that he can remember her, too.