Not many know how to grieve their loved ones. While some engage in questioning and the blame game, others abstain from the subject, living life as "normal" as possible.
Popular opinion suggests that out of sight does not necessarily mean out of mind. In fact, absence makes the heart grow fonder. However, it can be challenging to deal with the loss of a loved one.
People react differently to grief; sometimes, those mourning never fully recover from the loneliness and sadness engulfing their souls.
[Left] Picture of Chris and his son; [Right] Picture of Chris and Renee | Source: facebook.com/i.am.justadad
While others try to get on with their lives, as their dead would have wanted it, fortunately, they also cherish memories made and ride on the euphoria of the past.
It is noteworthy that love, as often defined by lovers, is a beautiful thing, encompassing many features that make it the only essential recipe for a healthy marriage.
But what happens when a partner is not around anymore? Are they quickly forgotten or replaced? This is a story of how a widower handled his grief.
Chris, a father with two kids, is so engrossed in taking care of his family that he neglects reminiscing about the old times with his deceased wife. He, however, mistakenly revisited his past after stumbling upon emails written by his deceased wife five years after the tragedy.
HOW CHRIS AND RENEE MET
The former flames were in their twenties when they met. Their first meeting was orchestrated by Renee's cousin, who was Chris's buddy. However, their romance did not start immediately.
It took a while for them to build a relationship. But once Chris and Renee recognized their affection for each other, the lovebirds were good to go. They married and started a family. All went well for almost eight years until Renee's unsuccessful battle with cancer.
THE JOURNEY WITHOUT RENEE
Renee died at 39, leaving Chris to nurture and care for their two kids. The widower seemed to be doing fine; he even started a blog site to share his experiences as a single dad.
Despite Renee's absence, Chris coped with the girls and thought he had handled his grief until he stumbled upon a chain of emails written by his wife.
Via his blog "Just A Dad," Chris shared refreshingly honest details about his emotions when he ran through Renee's words. She had conspired with a relative on hosting a great 40th birthday party for her husband in 2014. He wrote:
"I haven't cried in quite some time. I don't know if that's a good thing or bad thing…But out of nowhere, tonight, I did. I was simply skimming the contents when I found some humbling and beautiful words she had written about me and what I meant to her."
Apart from crying, Chris started to think deeply about the sweet memories he shared with his wife and became more aware of her absence. He was overwhelmed with sadness and blamed himself for not saving her and not mourning her enough. In his words:
"Guilt that I had seemingly forgone these feelings in the pursuit of normality and, dare I say it, happiness. Guilt that I wasn't upset until I read the words. Guilt that I’m here and not her. Guilt that I couldn't fix her."
The photos shared over the years by Chris showed that he was already enjoying an everyday life with his kids and did not want to confront his grief.
However, after reading the emails, the father of two explained that people who lose their loved ones could never manipulate grief, as it is a process they must go through, even though it happens at a snail's pace.
ANOTHER WIDOWER FOUND SOLACE IN HIS DECEASED WIFE'S PENNED DOWN WORDS
As explained earlier, grieving is a critical stage and can last as long as possible, but when a person finds peace in living just as their dead would have wanted, it is priceless.
This included doing a few things to help him structure the kids' lives. Millthorpe would often ensure that the girls had their hair done, observe their curfew, never bite their nails or go out without sunscreens, and regularly visit Thornwick Bay with the family.
Over the years, the list has provided guidance, making Millthorpe an excellent parent to his kids. Not only does he follow the list (although he sometimes neglects the no-sweet rule), he has taught the kids to idolize the memory of their mother through their annual remembrance and obedience to the rules.
These stories show that the most healthy way to grieve a deceased and find peace is by living life like they are very much around while keeping their memories ingrained in the heart forever.