I returned to my Blog a few weeks ago after an absence of two years. As I have said, I was consumed with taking care of my wife, Linda, who had been diagnosed with ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease, in 2021. She died on 11/12/2023.

Most books on loss carry Grief in the title. I prefer Loss as a term for the emotional landscape and will address my own definition of grief in a later post.

At the suggestion of the wife of Linda’s nephew, Alex, who is a therapist herself, I scheduled one on one meetings for therapy sessions. This was not a new exercise for me, as we lost our daughter, Katie, at the age of seven months to a birth accident. Her death inspired me to write the fantasy series, The Ur Legend, as well as set up this website and start Blogging.

It is my feeling that each person experiences loss differently and each individual loss can evoke different emotional responses. I will focus here on the loss of my wife and my response to it.

In speaking with my therapist, he said sadness and depression are emotions that often accompany loss and that many people would rather feel depressed than sad. I feel quite the opposite, though I have been no stranger to depression, with a small ‘d’, and will talk about that at a later time. But I have found that sadness can be a balm for me. So let me tell a story. I should also be clear that I am not a qualified therapist and that my experience is not meant to be prescriptive but rather is just my own attempt to find strategies for dealing with the death of my wife. There is no right way to experience loss, no right way to grieve.

Anyway, about a year ago Linda had to go up to UCSF hospital at Parnassus in San Francisco, for a procedure and stayed for a couple of days. One night I said, “honey, I just can’t eat one more hospital dinner.” She smiled and told me, as best she could, as she was non-verbal at that point, to go out and have a meal. I kissed her and left.

After dinner I was walking the few blocks back to the B&B where I was staying and got unbelievably sad. My chest tightened and tears welled up. I can’t recall exactly what memory triggered that response, probably fly fishing or skiing in Idaho. Then I stopped. I told myself that it had been a wonderful experience, so I turned sadness on its head and tried to focus on the positive. That was a turning point for me. There are some memories that have no positive or redeeming aspect. I will address those in a later post.

I have come to view sadness as something helpful to me in the healing process. I can no longer hold Linda or hug her or kiss her. But sadness, for me, is now the only way I can tell her I love her.

For those of you that are grappling with a devastating loss, maybe this will resonate with some. Others not so much. But that’s okay. As I or any therapist will tell you, there is no ‘right way’.