I Should Have Known

I should have known.  I should have been ready.  I wasn’t.

It’s been over two years since Kramer passed away.  Monday the 26th was my second wedding anniversary without him here.

I’ve been doing so good lately.  Really, really good, so I didn’t think much about it.  I planned about going about my business like any old other day.  He was gone…there was no anniversary to celebrate.

I seriously have been doing so well.  I haven’t had a bout of tears sneak up on me.  I haven’t randomly started crying when I was alone for a long time.  I hadn’t had the talks with myself telling myself that I was going to be okay.  I just was okay and didn’t need the self-talks.

I didn’t build any buffers.  I didn’t visit the cemetery days before my anniversary.  I didn’t talk about it in advance with the kids.   I didn’t write a blog post to work through it all.  I didn’t do any of the things I usually do in advance to help get past the bigger days. It was going to be just another day.  I’ve been doing this grief thing for a while.  This was just going to be another day.

It was a good plan…or at least I thought it was.

It turns out, it wasn’t.  It was a bad plan.

Somehow, without me knowing, grief snuck up on me and caught me.

All I could think to say was…Hello, big-time grief.  It’s been a while since you were here.  I was hoping you were gone for good.  You weren’t.  You really fooled me, but here you are.

I thought I wasn’t a rookie anymore.  I thought I was getting to be an old pro at grief.  I thought I had it in control.  I thought I had tamped it all down.  This time around, I was reminded I am still a rookie.  It is not all tamped down.  It is not all under control.

I have no idea what did it to me.  I have no idea where it came from.

Some of you might remember Kalissa’s blog post about the ball and the box and how grief works.  If you missed it.  You can find it HERE.  It’s an excellent post.  It accurately describes how grief works.

Monday my ball was BIG.


People who crossed my path that day didn’t know or remember it was our anniversary.  It was sad.  No one said anything.  I didn’t want to say anything as I knew it was one of those days I was on the edge.  Those are days when I just know if someone says the right or wrong thing, I might just lose it.

I was working so I didn’t want to lose it in the middle of work.

Then the why’s flooded in.  Why him?  Why me?  Why us?  UGH.  There is no answer to that.  I know that.  Why did I let my mind go there.  It’s never good when it does.

I knew I had to pull myself out of that.  Then came the…why not me?  Why not him?  Why not us?  Also, not good.

I knew I had to pull myself out of that too.

So I planned a little intervention with myself.  I’d go to the cemetery. I’d water the flowers there.  I’d stitch on a cross-stitch sampler to commemorate our anniversary.  Once everyone was gone, I’d allow myself to grieve.

But life happened.  It didn’t work out like I hoped…like I wanted…like I needed.

It would be so easy to slide down a slippery slope and get stuck there.   It would be so easy to curl up and cry for a day, a week, maybe more.  But I know that’s not me.  That’s not what I do.  I can’t let myself slide.  It would be too hard to get out.

There are people here to love.  There are things here that need to get done.  I still have work to do.

So…a good cry in the shower.
Some stitches into the sampler.
A few looks at our wedding pictures…

This is a favorite of mine.


A few words with Kalissa…a few with Kelli.
A little extra sleep and I’m back on the path.

A little self-talk reminder that for 32 years I was loved and cared for by one of the best…yes, our time was cut short, but I had 32 great years.  That is many more than some people get so I’m going to embrace what I had and not get lost in what I don’t have.

My ball is still a little bigger than I’d like.  (Read Kalissa’s blog to understand that), but I’m back in motion.  I’m moving forward.  I’m not letting myself get stuck where I was.

Thankfully I’m not a newbie.  I know bad times come.  I know grief can sneak in.  I know I can deal with this and shrink that ball in the box.  I also know it takes a little time and I know to give myself the grace I need.

I’m okay.  Don’t worry about me.  If you’ve dealt with this yourself, you know this is completely normal…and if you haven’t dealt with grief like this before, when it’s your turn, know grief has an ebb and flow.  Know you’ll have a good year and then a bad day or two can slip in.

Also know that like me…you can do this too.

33 thoughts on “I Should Have Known

  1. Janet

    Thank you so much for sharing. It helps to keep one’s perspective, and you have also,provided some tools to do just that!

    Reply
  2. Brenda

    Thanks for trusting us enough to let us share your challenge. And that photo has to bathe you in love,grand memories and fun times too.

    Reply
  3. Kate

    Jo, you have such a good attitude of gratitude. I have not gone through what you have, so I can only imagine. If I do, you have given me a good example to look to when needed.

    Reply
  4. Sherrill

    Frank has been gone almost NINE years!! (on 8/11) And I’m now older than he was when he died. I still miss him like crazy and think of the things we’d still be doing if he were here. You are lucky in that you have lots of kids and grandkids that you see or communicate with on a regular basis. My family fell apart after Frank’s death and they’ve chosen not to communicate with me so I live with that. I only have 1 DGD and she’s chosen not to communicate with me either. It’s a difficult life to deal with but whaddaya do? I think you are doing great coping with your loss.

    Reply
  5. Ellie

    Thanks for being so honest with us and trusting us enough to know even if we haven’t been there we will support you. You are so strong and a great role model for all of us.

    Reply
  6. Elle

    The photo you shared is the BEST!!!!! You both shine through with joy.

    Grief is good and I encourage you to embrace it when it comes-as I think you did this week. Yes, folks tend to either forget or not want bring it up. My BIL died suddenly 14y ago. Every year on their anniversary, I send my sister a brief text. I’m usually the only person she hears from. The marriage was real. She is still married to him. You are still married to Kramer. I hope moving forward, someone will acknowledge the day your family legacy began.

    Hugs to you Jo. And thank you for the bravery to share with the world.

    Reply
  7. Penny Guglielmoni

    Sounds like grief presented itself to allow you to face it and show it you value the good over the pain. Hope the tears in the shower washed away the loss of control without lessening the love in your heart. There will be bad days but please let them awaken good memories.

    Reply
  8. Shirley

    I was 60 when my husband passed away. My Mom also was 60. She lived until 95 and was my rock when I had a bad. day. She mourned my Dad’s death and looked forward to seeing him at the end. She said those moments of grief just sneak in. She said we all have days and we need a pity party, remember the moments, and then put your big girl panties on. and pull yourself together and continue on, in a way, as you know how he would want. You are doing great. You do get through it. You are a strong person.

    Reply
  9. Karin A Callander

    Big hugs! Your strength shines through your tears and you courageously lead the way for others. Blessings!

    Reply
  10. Evie H

    Jo, it never goes away! My honey’s been gone for 20 years and I sometimes still get overcome by grief. Let it happen; that’s all we can do. (Hugs)

    Reply
  11. Nance in Reno

    “When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.” Kahlil Gibran
    It because of your deep love, your grief is profound.

    Reply
  12. Judith Fairchild

    Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to remember the good times. You did and it helped you. BTW At 1st I thought that was a picture of Karl. Wow. You both looked great. Loving someone who gave you 32 years of mostly joy and contentment. Is so precious. You can do this girl.

    Reply
  13. Karrin Hurd

    I know exactly what you are going through. My husband died exactly three months ago today. I have spent the entire day crying. We were together 49 years, married 45, and I can’t imagine what our anniversary November 16 will be like. All my best to you, you are in my thoughts and prayers.

    Reply
  14. Jazz

    I have been there. I know. And, I know that any new loss, even an insignificant loss, can bring back The Loss.
    I’m sorry, Jo.

    Reply
  15. Judy Laquidara

    I can’t even imagine how hard it is. I cannot give advice. I’ve never been in your shoes but your feelings all sound very reasonable and normal to me. I’ve only lost a couple of people really close to me and it seems like when the grief comes out of nowhere, unexpectedly and consumes me, that’s when I struggled the most. Life can be tough and surely doesn’t seem fair sometimes. Many people love you and care about you. Even though Kramer isn’t here with you physically, the life you built together goes on and I hope you find comfort in the family you two created together. BTW, I do love that wedding picture. 32 years was way too short but that’s 32 years to cherish.

    Reply
  16. Susan the Farm Quilter

    I’m glad you got through Monday…and the rest of the week as your ball shrinks. Thank God for the wonderful years you had together and for the reunion when you join him (decades from now) in heaven. Now those of us who haven’t lost our spouse know to be prepared for these tsunamis of grief on special days.

    Reply
  17. Christi

    People just never know what to say to someone not sure if it will cause more tears and more pain. It’s not that they don’t care. Grief is so personal but you are loved by many. Kramer was loved by so many so his memory will live on. Cry when you need to, lean on the ones you love, and hug the babies. They will give you the courage to move forward.

    Reply
  18. Christina Coats

    God Bless you Jo and the family. My heart goes out to you as do many others. It’s 14 yrs since I lost my adorable full of life niece at 27 yrs. Being the sounding board for her mum is hard , we talk about her a lot with laughter and smiles, pity parties come and go, though her love and memories stay in our hearts now and forever. What a lovely photo, your happiness shines through, thanks for sharing. Xx

    Reply
  19. Linda Lewis

    Jo, you are so in my thoughts and prayers. I am a widow too and was married 32 years. As you have figured out, all you can do is experience those feelings and memories to help you carry that grief. I ask for Gods help when it gets to e too much.

    Reply
  20. Christine Burch

    Oh my goodness, I saw that picture and had to do a double take, I felt like I was looking at Kalissa! I think when we love someone so deeply no amount of time is ever enough. My husband had a pulmonary embolism and heart attack last September at the age of 48. Even the thought of losing him brought me to my knees. So glad you know to give yourself grace in this journey with grief. Sometimes you just have to “keep swimming.”

    Reply
  21. Jane Lamborn

    Jo, thank you for this heartfelt post. Just got home from a wonderful week with my son’s family and it really hit the red button! Almost 4 months losing my husband and the hole in my life is so huge. Your words help us all deal with our grief and thankful for the blessings of family and memories. Hugs and love to you, Jane

    Reply
  22. Stearns Carol

    My sister just lost her husband of 53 years to Cancer. It breaks my heart what she is going through. Things change so abruptly. We went for pedicures yesterday and lunch. All of their friends were couples and now she is alone. I’m trying to keep her busy.

    Reply
  23. Deb

    Hugs to you from me. I’m sorry you are hurting. Looking at that picture, gosh made me smile. You radiate joy. No wonder he loved you so. You two made a beautiful, beautiful couple. And no doubt, you made those 32 years joyful for him and I’m sure he is right there with you still. Just keep your eyes open for his presence.

    Reply
  24. Susan Gray

    My husband passed away May 29, 2021 just 7 days after my birthday. It was a shock and I wasn’t ready. Thank you for always saying just the right things to get me through life.

    Reply
  25. Kelli

    Thank you for sharing Jo – by opening up yourself to us, you help so many who have walked your path or are just beginning to walk it. The picture is beautiful and so glad you have so many memories. Blessings to you

    Reply
  26. Sue Ellis

    You are a very strong person! So many more words can describe you-giving, thoughtful, loving, and so family oriented. You’re going to get thru this! I became a widow at 43 years old – over 23 years of marriage. It has been 26 years ago. I have remarried and my family has grown considerably. The one thing I don’t see you write about is opening yourself to dating. You are a gorgeous woman!

    Reply
  27. Shelia

    Tomorrow, August 2nd, is our 39th wedding anniversary. He will be gone 5 years September 25th. I’ve known it’s coming. On the way to church this morning the grief hit me. I was so sad. It’s gotten better through out the day. But I don’t know what will happen tomorrow.
    We were both 17 when we got married. We have 3 grown kids. We got 34 years together. But I’m still and always will be married.
    I completely understand all your feelings. I don’t know if I will ever be a pro at handling special days, but I know I’m not there yet.
    Hoping it gets easier for you.

    Reply

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