Grieving is Tough, I Was Becoming Stronger

M told me she could see me becoming stronger each day. She asked me to write four letters to Babe. I was to write each letter in the present tense as if Babe were still alive. I frequently paused while I wrote these letters to compose myself. It was a very emotional experience, but, it was a liberating experience that strengthened my will to go on. Here is an excerpt from my love letter to Babe in Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again:

“Dear Babe,

You’re my first thought when I awaken and the last thought before I fall asleep. When I awaken in the middle of the night and I whisper, “Babe, I love you. I’ll love you forever.” Did you know, I trace the sign of the cross on your shoulder while you are sleeping? I do it every time I wake up in the night. When I trace it, I ask God to bless you and watch over you. The first words you utter after you open your eyes are, “I love you, Bun.” I touch you and say, “I love you, too.”

Each day, your joy of life lights a fire within me. When you open your eyes and turn to me in bed, I see the sparks of joy, life, and love. I know in that moment all is right, all is good, and it will be a great day. You ignite the flames of love, hope, and joy within me. You teach me to lighten up, have fun, and enjoy life’s gifts. “It’s not all serious and it’s not all work,” you tell me.”

Ordering information for the paperback or ebook version of Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again may be found at https://dancingalone530.com/dancing-alone/

Excerpt From: Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again by Ray Calabrese. This material is protected by copyright

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Gratitude Became my Grieving Turning Point

Gratitude Became my Turning Point

M continued to encourage me to be grateful for Babe. Being grateful was difficult because I fixed my focus on what I lost, not what I had. It was only later when I realized being grateful was the grieving breakthrough I sought. It was only later when I realized I couldn’t be grateful and sad at the same time. Here is a journal excerpt where I continue to express my gratitude for Babe.

“You taught me to love. You taught me about love. You were, and still are, love. Each moment we spent together, you taught me another love lesson. Each time you touched me, you taught me about love. Each word you spoke to me was a message of love. Each time you looked at me, you filled me with love. How can I choose to do anything else but love? You’re a gift. I buried your body, but I did not bury you. Ciao—until …”

I finished my brief journal entry. I was smiling. My heart was at peace. The images of Babe lingered with me. For the moment, life was good.”

Ordering information for the paperback or ebook version of Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again may be found at https://dancingalone530.com/dancing-alone/

Excerpt From: Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again by Ray Calabrese. This material is protected by copyright

Relearning to be Grateful

Relearning to be Grateful

M told me losing the ability to be grateful is common among men and women who grieve. She encouraged me to “relearn gratefulness.” She suggested I begin by journaling my gratitude for Babe. Here is an excerpt from Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again:

“I am grateful for how Babe helped me lighten up and not take life so seriously. I am grateful for how she saw in me what I couldn’t see for myself. I am grateful each time I heard her laugh. I am grateful for the times we made love. I am grateful for each of our dates. I am grateful for how Babe taught me to manage a household. I watched and learned from her. The lessons she taught me helped me to keep the house clean, cook, make things neat, and manage money. Little did I know, God was using Babe to prepare me this part of my life.

I am grateful for the small things. I can still see her childlike excitement at decorating for Christmas, her delight while she cooked a meal, or her enjoyment as she sipped a cup of coffee. I am grateful for watching her get all dolled up for me. I told her many times she was born beautiful. I am grateful for her excitement whenever we planned a trip. She would start packing two weeks early. “I am grateful for the moments when I was anxious and she’d put her hand on my neck. As if by magic, my tension and anxiety would instantly disappear.”

Ordering information for the paperback or ebook version of Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again may be found at https://dancingalone530.com/dancing-alone/

Excerpt From: Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again by Ray Calabrese. This material is protected by copyright

Getting Past the Grieving Wall

Getting Past the Grieving Wall

M could see in me what I couldn’t see or feel in myself. She said, “Ray, you’re making progress. It’s time to take a bold step.” Taking this step was easier said than done. Here is an excerpt from my journal in Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again:

“Knowing what I should do and knowing why it is good for me do not always coincide. M told me I have no choice but to learn to live again. I can no longer lock myself behind the walls of my house. It’s time for me to reach out to others and connect with them in more meaningful ways. Why can’t people connect with me? Why do I have to do all the work? Why can’t it just happen for me and to me?

I sound like a child not wanting to do chores. Choosing to live again isn’t as easy as it sounds. It is a whole new learning curve. I am being asked to choose to live, even if it is painful and pain-filled. It means re-engaging life and answering yes to M’s question, “Do I choose to live and to act on my decision?”

Ordering information for the paperback or ebook version of Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again may be found at https://dancingalone530.com/dancing-alone/

Excerpt From: Dancing Alone: Learning to Live Again by Ray Calabrese. This material is protected by copyright