Tuesday, 11 October 2011

In search of a mood-lift: where I'm at

Hello you gorgeous souls! Hobart's spring weather is still very changeable, a bit like my mood at the moment. Tomorrow it will be 8 weeks since my Dad died. I know, counting the weeks really leads me nowhere but as I mentioned here, it seems natural to mark the time passing like this, for the moment. I know I'll stop soon, a bit like when the newborn pixies finally hit the magic 12-14 week mark and settled into some sort of routine. Then I stopped counting the weeks.

Today was a down day. I tried to brighten my mood by prettying up a $2 vase (from Chickenfeed for the locals!) with some washi tape and a handful of my Mum's glorious camellias. 
Here they are, resplendent on my desk, next to Charlotte and a photo of Dad and me in our bridal car before we headed off for my wedding. Dad held my hand the whole way to the Cathedral.

Here's a close-up of us.
Here's what else lay on my desk today.
Here's the pile of condolence cards, lovingly sent to me from all over the world and my waiting thankyou cards, envelopes  and favourite Lamy fountain pen.

Yes, today I started writing them and have almost finished. Many tears were shed along the way (in between changing nappies, wiping runny noses, vacuuming up Rice Bubbles and sorting out disputes). 

Some were tears of deep grief as the enormity of my new reality hit home. Again.

But some were tears of happiness as I read something comforting a friend had written, a little long-forgotten anecdote they shared about Dad. They knew me. These old friends realised how desolate I now feel, notwithstanding the many happy and precious memories I have of our life together. They just *got it*.

So, whilst it was a hard and painful task, at the same time, it was comforting - a ritual I had to go through, maybe. It felt right to properly acknowledge the compassion people have shown me recently.

Not that long ago, writing such notes would have wrapped up that little chapter neatly. Now, however, with so many different forms of social media used, I need (and want) to do a little more.

I've posted a thankyou message on my Facebook page. Tick.

I've responded to all the SMS messages sent. Tick.

Tomorrow, I'll tackle the issue of how to respond to all the condolence emails sent. Some of my dearest friends chose email as their form of communicating their feelings to me. I think I'll print those ones and respond to them as if they had sent a card. That feels like the right thing to do.

I'm going to pace myself, though. I'm trying to 'go gently'. Really - I am. I just know that once I've finished this task, I'll feel ready to get on with the rest of my life. Whatever that means.

Tell me, how have you handled the 'etiquette' of responding to condolence notes lately? I feel like technology has created so many conundrums, the last thing you feel like pondering when you're grieving. Or maybe I'm just a Luddite! Do share - I'd be fascinated to hear your responses.


  1. That is a task to be done little by little as it is so emotionally draining. Even though people don't tend to do this type of thing now very much I think it is these kinds of gestures that make relationships stronger over the years. I know that you will respond in your kind and thoughtful manner and make every card and email sender feel like they have said something very special to you. All the best with your task this week.

  2. Dearest Jane, this just shows how special you are - making sure that you thank all the people who have been thinking of you, in such a personal way. I wouldn't expect a thank-you, but I know I would expect to send them. Carol is right though, its an emotionally draining thing, and you have tackled so much already. My thoughts are with you this week, xxoo

  3. Dear Jane, I think you are doing so incredibly well responding the way you are. I believe there is no wrong or right way in which to respond, people understand, probably much more than you realise. I think it's truly indicative of your caring nature, that you are so concerned about everyone else at this time. No one would mind in the slightest if you took months to respond or even at all. You've been so honest and true to yourself and the memory of your lovely Dad. Just keep allowing yourself that time to cry and grieve and just be. You take as long as you need with all of it sweet girl xo

  4. You are doing so well and I admire you. xoxox

  5. my trick yesterday worked of removing your blog and adding it again on bloglovin. how strange.
    Im so impressed you have been so strong, I did read your blog post and it made me very emotional for you I wanted to give you a hug. I haven't had to deal with grief often but when I felt my most serious form of grief was when I lost my aunty to ovarian cancer at aged 32, and as she was youngest I was quite close to her and i was 18 at the time and just totally lost my mind. The grief made me do crazy things.. I ended up leaving my entire family that christmas and i went to france because I thought somewhere else would help me deal with it and of course it didn't.
    I know how painful it is and I cannot imagine what you were going through but you have so many beautiful memories and so much love surrounding all of right now.

    My heart is with you Jane
    Lots of love xo

  6. Gosh,

    I've literally cried with you.

    I just can't imagine your grief, & I'm so sorry you've had to grieve the loss of such a beautiful man.

    My dad is my best friend, & I just never want to think of that grief.

    Looking at those cards, I'm happy that people all over the world want to take little pieces of your grief away through their kind words.

    Only time will heal, & I hope you're loved & supported along the way xxxxxx

  7. Jane, take one day at a time. People understand if you don't respond to them straight away. I actually spoke to most people, I guess for me speaking aloud helped my grieving. Today I awoke thinking of Mum, it was my Sammy boy's birthday yesterday and I really missed having Mum with me. Writing this to you I am crying! I hope today is a better day for you. Take care and lots of love. Mimi xx

  8. Jane, it sounds as if you're handling things really well. You are allowed to have days that are "down" days. You're human, and a great love begets a great grief. My father passed away ten years ago and I still have moments now and then when it hits me afresh that he's no longer here.

    Good girl, getting on top of all that correspondence. Be gentle, be realistic, be yourself...you're beautiful. Meredy xo

  9. Oh Jane darling I am thinking of you. It was so good to speak to you the other day.... and to your darling Mr PB. Hang in there. Our thoughts are with you.... willing you through your grief. A-M xx

  10. OH I can not help you Jane with your query, be kind to yourself xx

  11. Going gently.
    I couldn't have
    said it better.
    Love that picture
    of you and your
    dad on your wedding
    day; you both look
    happy and gorgeous!
    xx Suzanne

  12. Jane, I am not quite up to reading the posts about your Dad - I am not great with grief. But I wanted to just reach out with some hugs.

    And in terms of the 'etiquette' of responding to condolence notes - I would go old fashioned hand written. It is very theraputic.


  13. Hello Jane...I don't know that there is etiquette when it comes to grief.

    I always write by hand when I can and even if it takes you longer I think you will feel better for that physical engagement.

    I never really understood how important it is to tell someone how sorry you are for their loss until I was in that situation myself, but written, emails, phone calls or visits in person...it's important to recognise and register those feelings...The responding made me feel much better...

    Take care and let time do it's healing.....xv

  14. You are handling it all so so well Jane. Keep brave x

  15. I lost my dad when I was a teenager. The best way to handle it? I think it is so individual that you do whatever feels right for you. Listen to your gut. Lovely photo of you and your father :) That photo, I never had - you are lucky :) XOL

  16. Jane, you honour your father so beautifully.

    Respond in a way that allows you to be kind to yourself.

  17. Jane, you will do it right in your own lovely way.
    I hadn't read this before I wrote my post today about writing letters, but even so, when I was writing it you crossed my mind. Even though it seems that you have a number of cards to response to and it will take time I think that writing might help you in the process. I don't think there is any etiquette here, do just what feels right to you.
    Take care, grief takes it toll, so look after yourself.

  18. Oh my. You are all such caring souls with these thoughtful and heartfelt responses. Thanks so much for the support and encouragement. I really think it is another ritual of grieving which is important to go through. Even if it hurts. J x

  19. Hi Jane,

    I can't even imagine what you are going through but wanted to let you know that I'm thinking of you and your wonderful Dad today.

    Kel x

  20. Thanks so much, Kellie. I just discovered your kind comment. J x


Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, you gorgeous soul. You've just made my day! J x

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