My husband died Saturday. The funeral is tomorrow. You have written about your father’s funeral, and the days before and after. Is there anything we can do to make things easier for my ten-year-old son? I know he’ll have a hole in his heart forever. I want to do everything possible to support him.
My mother took me to a therapist after my father’s funeral. Everyone was pretty worried about me because I quit talking.
They tried to get me out of my shell, but I hurt too badly to laugh, smile, or talk. Besides, I didn’t have anything to say.
The therapist’s office was behind a Methodist church and the doctor was a man with a New York accent who never shut up and always tossed a football in the air while he talked.
I guess this was his attempt at being a down-to-earth guy, playing with a football while he explained my father’s suicide. But it didn’t work.
Every time he spoke,
tossing that dumb ball, I kept thinking of how my father used to say, “There’s no better form of birth control than a New York accent.”
And I would start to giggle. But I still refused to talk.
He told me to stop laughing. Then he asked me to try a mental exercise. He handed me an empty mayonnaise jar and a handful of pennies.
“Put a penny in the jar,” he said.
I wouldn’t do it. So we sat for a long time and I held those pennies, thinking about how foolish I felt.
“Those are hurt-pennies,” he said. “And if you put enough hurt-pennies in your jar, one day you’ll have all your hurt in an itty-bitty place, then you can put the lid on and hurl it into the ocean.”
Then he tossed his football in…