Thursday, March 29, 2012

Letters for Domani

For the past month and a half I have been attending a grief support group which I have found to be very helpful in dealing with the many emotions associated with the loss of Joe. There is something to be said for sharing with others who are walking a similar path and being able to be honest and open with them, even when I am not always able to be that way with my own friends and family.

Tonight I shared about how the coming week will be a very difficult one for me. This Saturday, there will be an Easter service at the cemetery. This coming Wednesday would have been Joe's 37th birthday. The following day will be four months since he passed and the season home opener for our beloved Mets. And then, of course, it will soon be Easter. Lots of emotion packed into one week. I've been wondering how I will ever make it through without withdrawing into my house with the blinds drawn and my phone turned off.

I found an idea tonight in the DVD we watched at group that immediately gave me comfort. It suggested having people who knew your loved one write letters to his child as a way to help the child cope with the loss in the years to come. I thought, now that would be a lovely way to remember Joe's birthday this year. What a tribute to him for the people who knew him and loved him to take the time to write letters about him to his son. It's not that Domani will read them for awhile (he's smart, but not quite reading yet), but I know that having them tucked safely away will make me feel better about being able to fully teach him about his Dad once he is really old enough to understand.

So, here is the call. (And don't be surprised if over the next few days I approach you individually to consider remembering Joe's birthday in this way.) It can be a few sentences or a book chapter. It can be funny or sweet. A story or simply a reflection on Joe as a person. You can include a photo or not. Your letter can be sent by email or snail mail or delivered in person if you prefer. Most importantly, there's no deadline so feel free to complete it at your own pace.

I have come to believe that community is so important to the grieving process, so I can think of no better way to muddle through this coming week than the support of those who knew and loved Joe. And to have that community support come in the form of a project that will give Domani something to remember his Dad by for many years to come - well, that's a birthday gift Joe would have loved.

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