The Grief Timeline

June 25, 2017

I’m sitting on my deck this morning, staring at the garden and thinking about the whirlwind that has been the last few weeks. The kids are home for summer and we’ve been struggling to find our new groove. There’s been lots of button pushing (they are fighting like two barn cats!) but I think we’re finally on the right course.

Last weekend we moved one vanload of B’s belongings to her new apartment in Chicago and are now on the final countdown until she officially moves. It will be a new change for our family, in a year that’s already been a lifetime worth of changes, but the time has come. It’s important that we miss each other now, no matter how difficult that may be.

And in my personal life, the summer has brought about new challenges as well. I continue to work on the roof situation with insurance. Is it damaged? Is it not damaged? Why have over 15 houses near me qualified for new roofs, including the house 10 feet from me but mine is just fine and dandy? I just need the truth, the WHOLE truth and nothing but the truth. So, I continue to fight for that. It’s exhausting. I want to give up but I haven’t been satisfied at all with how I’ve been treated. I want Mark to handle this. But it falls on me, and so I push forward.

My house is a disaster, yet this week I’ve decided to clean and organize all of the areas no visitor to our home would ever even see. Makes sense? (not). I tackled the pantry, the “clutter counter,” the junk drawer(s), spice cabinet, and a couple other cabinets. It feels great to be organized, if only for a little bit. So if you stop by ever and all of my cupboards are open, just focus on those areas and not the dust on my blinds or the dirt on the floor, ok? Here are some pictures, since no one I live with really cares or appreciates the effort. I don’t have before pics for all of these areas, but you’ll just have to trust me that it was BAD.

Clutter Counter – BEFORE (Seriously HOW did I let it get THIS BAD?!)

Clutter Counter – AFTER

Upper pantry – BEFORE (so embarrassing)

Upper pantry – AFTER

Pantry – AFTER. No before pic, but by now, you can imagine

Under the sink – AFTER. For a before image, just imagine 8,000 plastic bags blocking whatever else might’ve been in here

In addition to a strange organization fixation right now, the house is being painted this week (weather permitting) and I am so excited and anxious! It’s a big investment – what if the colors I’ve chosen are hideous? If that happens, please just lie to me and tell me how amazing it looks, ok?

With all of these changes, comes a reminder of the grief timeline. All of the milestones, events and memories that happened when Mark was here (BD – before-death), and all of the new things that have happened and are happening after Mark died (AD – After death). It’s so strange to me to be recalling memories now that didn’t involve him. Things he wasn’t here to experience with us, especially the joyful moments. I recollect fun times or big events and then stop in my tracks to realize they were AD. There will be more and more things with each passing day that are AD, and the BD moments move farther and farther away. It’s just how it is, although it still leaves a pit in my stomach, an ache in my heart.

Although I carry him with me wherever I go and honestly feel him close to me, I don’t like how time separates us more. I want him to know what color the house is going to be. I want him to see B’s new apartment, cheer on Gman at bat, teach Lolo how to use the telescope he got her for Christmas a couple years ago. I want him to fight with the insurance company and change my burned out brake light. But most of all I want him to sit by my side in the garden, holding my hand and talking through the day’s happenings. I miss him more than any words can convey.

BD…. AD.

We continue to move down the AD timeline and find new and comforting ways to bring the BD stuff along with us as we travel forward. It isn’t easy, it isn’t what we wanted, but it’s where we are and we’re doing the best we can.

What are some of the ways YOU bring the BD with you into the AD? Have you also found yourself realizing a memory you’re recalling was one made without your person and not one you shared with them? I’d love to hear your stories. Please share them with me.

Wherever you are on YOUR grief timeline, I’m thinking about you. Praying today is a good day.

Extra Grace,




Cover photo:


photo credit: hernanpba It is always now via photopin (license)

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