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June 23: A Date to Celebrate

Each year as the birthday of my dearly departed husband, Alan, draws near on June 23, I begin to cocoon. Thankfully, I have my crochet for comfort!

Shortly after he died, I began to crochet shawls for Threads of Compassion, the charity of the Indiana Donor Network. I can feel great pride in doing this work; because with utmost courage, Alan donated his brain to research on his incurable disease at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida. Both locally and nationally from the Mayo Clinic, I experienced compassion for what he was going through.

It is almost two years until the day of his death; and it doesn't get easier. I draw happiness for the creativity I put into my crochet. It's colorful and can be a bright spot in my day; it is soothing as the smooth or rough fibers flow through my hands. I'm taken away to a place from the rhythm of crochet that is both nostalgic and distracting.

Just like the vibrant colors of yarn fade after years and much usefulness; so too did my husband. He was vibrant, energetic and always interested in learning something new, especially about other cultures. My loss will never change. I must make the most of it by remembering the good times we had during our long marriage of almost 49 years. I must also continue to move forward making happiness for myself in this new chapter of life wherever I can.

I recently shared an "Alan Album" with my grandchildren who are just 6 and 8 years old. I know it is important for them to express their sadness at losing him. It is also good for us to talk positively about what he was in life; the fun times we had with him; and the many adventures he enjoyed. There were no tears this time and lots of conversation.

2013 Retirement Party
I'll be celebrating his birthday with my daughters on June 23 and by then, I will have assembled an "Alan Album" for both of them. Reminiscing about their dad is both healing and fun. The memories bring some laughs and for now that is the "best medicine."

Cocooning can be both good and bad. While comforting, it can also tend to be isolating. Alan was unable to speak the last 3 years of his life, so maybe I got used to living a quiet life. I don't need to be surrounded by a lot of talkers; but it is a gift to find those who understand about loss of a loved one and about the art of listening as well.


I know you are resting in peace, Alan D. Kinsler (6/23/1943-7/1/2016)!

Comments

Eliza said…
Gwen, I love your words for Alan. I just passed 13 years without Scott. Sharing memories keeps them real for those around us. Surrounding you with good thoughts during this time.

Susan

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