Acknowledging feelings of grief is the first step toward healing

Acknowledging feelings of grief is the first step toward healing

I will be attending two celebrations of life this month.

The first is for my friend Margaret.

I wrote about her in one of my recent columns, about her surprise 90th birthday party with 50 of her friends and neighbors. Margaret died in December, a week before she was scheduled to go on a trip to Africa.

I am comforted by the thought that people got to celebrate her 90th birthday with her.

The other is for a 50-year-old work colleague who was killed by a stray bullet. He leaves behind a wife and children. His death is senseless, tragic, and shocking.

I add to this something which I have been unable to write about thus far, because it’s been too painful;

Cleaning can help with stress

Cleaning can help with stress

My mother has become a cleaning and organizing machine. Ever since my father died she has been cleaning closets, purging files, organizing shelves and rearranging furniture.

The fact is, her home has always been immaculate. My sisters and I joke that we could eat off the floor.

For years my mother has systematically pared down her possessions by giving stuff to others, selling items at yard sales and donating to charity. And my mother’s organizational skills rival those of Martha Stewart.

So why this sudden extra energetic spurt of tidiness?

I think several things are at work (besides my mother).

Whether it is a conscious thing or not, I suspect that my mother is feeling a level of anxiety as a new widow. A spouse’s death can trigger stress.