Grief

Has grief ever taken you by surprise?

It caught me over something I never expected to grieve: my husband’s retirement. His retirement!

I’m asking myself, Why?

The pluses are immense: he’s doing more of the cooking, cleaning, washing and dog-walking. Even scooping the cat’s litter box! He’s done home repairs, raked leaves, grocery shopped, taken financial records to be shredded, studied our phone plan, and joined the Rec Center. He was at home when the HVAC guy came to service our units, so I didn’t have to take time from work to be there. He’s staying up later, reading a lot and watching silly movies.

He’s more relaxed than he’s been in years.

Years.

I’m no longer worried about him keeling over from stroke or heart attack.

Which is good. Everything I’ve mentioned is good, so why on earth am I grieving?

George and I met through work, in careers that consumed us. At one point while we were dating, we lived in different cities, each of us managing an office of the same organization. When we met on weekends, we typically spent at least half our time at one of our offices working, as romantically involved with our jobs as we were with each other. In truth, we both threw ourselves fully into work, striving to move forward with our careers, work with integrity and make a difference. That was who we were.

My career goals changed over the years, motherhood taking precedence, but George’s goals remained strong, as did the pressure to provide for his family. We moved a number of times as he tackled new challenges and advanced within the organization. He traveled a lot, enough to give me an unwelcome taste of single parenting, but we didn’t question the necessity of it. It was simply what we did.

The career was a huge part of our lives.

Now, after nearly forty years, it’s gone.

I still work full-time as an accountant but at home, my list of things to do has grown shorter, giving me more time to relax and enjoy life. I celebrated my sixtieth birthday last year by jumping out of an airplane, perhaps my way of staving off oldness–or refusing to accept it. But it seems George’s retirement is one more indication of a new stage of life, of time ticking away. Maybe I’m not so much grieving his retirement as I’m grieving the loss of our youth.

Sore knees keep me from jogging and my hair is more gray than brown. The lenses of my eyes are growing cloudy and accounting stresses me in ways it never did before. I’m no longer cheering on my children at soccer and basketball games, helping with school work or college applications, or speculating about their futures because they’re grown now, with children of their own.

Grief is very real, even if unexpected. I acknowledge it and accept it.

Might as well. I have no control.

I’m thankful for the life God has given me, for the experiences that have molded me into who I am today. Thankful for the good and the bad and, yes, even the grief. God created us as living, feeling creatures. All for His purposes and for His glory.

I grieve.

I give it to Him.

And it’s good.

4 Comments

  1. Miranda
    Jan 29, 2015

    I love this. I love you. Proud of you. Such a great read. Xo

    • Karen Curran
      Jan 30, 2015

      Thanks, dear Miranda! I love you, too!!!

  2. Susie
    Jan 31, 2015

    Been there, doing that… God is open 27/7 Another fine piece.

    • Karen Curran
      Feb 6, 2015

      Thanks, Susie:)

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