My Grief Challenges

Gram’s Pressure Cooker July 26, 2014

 

   !!! This is not meant to cast fear regarding the use of pressure cookers !!! 

I think a lot of us grew up in families that canned their food.  Many, including myself, have used the water bath method on an electric stove.  My favorite canning moments were when I was using a cook stove.   Gram’s Pressure Cooker was my Gram Million’s preferred method for canning, at least, for a period of time.                                                                                     One day Gram Million was intending on canning beets with her pressure cooker. She had done due diligence by having the pressure cooker checked by professionals, before using it.   Beets in jars. Jars sealed and ready for the cook. The stove was on, everything clear to go. Time to wait.  Gram decided to pass the time out on the back porch.   Her peace was disrupted when suddenly a loud bang came from the kitchen area. Gram went to investigate.    The kitchen looked like a bomb had exploded. Glass shards everywhere. Beet juice splashed, over the whole kitchen. Upon further investigation, Gram figured out that the pressure cooker lid had blown up through the ceiling into the attic. The container part, of the pressure cooker, had gone down through the stove.       Gram did not tell anyone of this event until the insurance people had gotten everything taken care of.   Not sure why.?.   It did take some time. The beet juice had stained all the cupboards, which had to be stripped and repainted.  Gram used other methods for canning, after that.  I know I am not the only family member who chose to can with the water bath method.       Again, this is not meant to cast fear regarding the use of pressure cookers.                                                                                                                                                   

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On my summer drive, while visiting my  Great Aunt, in Spokane, she told me how she had participated in “second guessing” her actions or lack of, when her husband, my Great Uncle, died.   Many times, through the years, she wondered, why she hadn’t been more persistent in dealing with the medical staff. It seems that they had suggested a treatment plan that wasn’t going to deal with the issue her husband was suffering from.  My Aunt is not the only one to tell me of the guilt / “second guessing”  from not being more persistent, regarding the events that led up to a persons death.  They have wondered why they didn’t ask more questions. Did they really do enough at their loved one’s end ?   Several  have shared how they have relived every moment before their loved one died,  “second guessing”  their actions–they were-sure it was their lack that brought the death of their loved one.  “Second guessing”-is  just another way of saying they have had their own moments of guilt.   Do you know how relieved I  have been to learn that others have had moments of “second guessing” or guilt-even after many years of their loved one’s goneness ?  Apparently, guilt does play a role in grief.                                                                                                                                         3d1c0664bf8891c08798ac2e00ad1ee0   I am tired of hearing: ” that it is the past-you can’t change it.”            It makes me wonder how many folks think back on their  (hurtful) actions, towards others, have they done due diligence to address issues before it is too late ?                                                                             Folks have been telling me it is time to move on.   I have been praying that God will help me not to get upset. I am just so frustrated.  I have a vacancy in my heart that cannot be filled. I am experiencing healing from death pains, AND I am a slow healer.                                                              While on my summer drive, I was around a lot of folks-that made it very difficult to keep choked down the emotions that were trying to burst forth-every moment. I have found that this practice is not good. It is hard to explain the pressure that builds when triggers hit and missing Shawn is all I can think of.   All in all, I give myself a nod of approval, though there are others who see my actions in the negative.                                                             When my Aunt told me about Gram’s pressure cooker story, it made me think of myself. God made me so that when too many trigger happenings occur, tears start flowing, groans escape and I get sick to my stomach-those are my release values-working as God intended.                                                       I am going to share a happening on July 22, 2014.         I had been gone for about 3 weeks, on my summer drive. Every summer I drive to Moscow, ID to visit my parents, relatives, and hopefully friends.  Then to Spokane, WA. to visit my daughter, grandchildren, relatives and friends.  I usually end my summer drive with a stop in Yakima, WA to visit my Aunt, Uncle and cousins. My drive was lengthened by a jaunt down to Eureka, CA.                                                               Upon my return home, I noticed that our barking companions needed their nails clipped. While in the Vet waiting room a gentleman came in.   He asked for an appointment for his dog—“a quality of life” checkup. His voice was quivering as he proceeded to share with us about the difficulties his dog was having.   His dog was having hip problems and other issues. The gentleman wanted a second opinion before deciding what to do. Tears ran down his face as he told us the details about his dog that died a few months earlier. He had been looking at me-while most of the time I had been looking out a window.    Again, I was thankful my glasses were hiding my tears. The gentleman told me that  making the life ending decisions was harder than I might realize. I told him I was so sorry for his sadness. He told me that he takes the death of his animals very hard. He explained that his family said they do not want to be around him once the decision is made because he doesn’t handle emotional things well. He left in tears, I think we all were in tears.                                           Our conversation had many triggers for me. I kept myself in check-but let me tell you what, the emotional pressure in myself was building-so much so that I did not think I was going to be able to finish my many tasks for that day.             I told no one how I understood (in my way) the pain the man was dealing with. Our differences were: for him deciding his dog’s life ending, for me the painful memory of the decision for Shawn’s life being ended. To this day, I still have many moments where I feel like the emotional pressure is going to explode from me and I wonder how it is possible to ever really have guiltless joy filled moments.                                                                                                         This is a side note.  This  could come across as a pat on my own back-but sometimes I think it is appropriate.         Here goes:  Several posts ago—LOOK UP___I wrote about the rock that hit my van window on an early morning, rainy drive to visit Shawn in Seattle.      Since Shawn died that crack reminded me of the tough journey I was on, BUT before my summer drive-knowing I would be transporting precious cargo-I had the window replaced.  Would that mean my memories would be replaced ?       In my June 7, 2014 post I mentioned having to change to a new laptop and phone. I have been using the new ones  so, see, I have been moving forward.   I am still involved in life. Although, I am still hoping to get the same bus and route for this next school year!

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