scuba diver jumping

Moving Forward After Loss

David Gillette – Executive Producer

In the aftermath of my wife’s death, I was not sure what I felt. Life went on. We had been married for 40 years and she departed within 30 days. My kids went back to their jobs. My neighbors and friends were concerned about me but their lives went on too. We had Advance Directives in place, and I followed her wishes. I was not carrying guilt, just regret. I missed her day in and day out. I began to think about several conversations Stacia and I had along the way. We talked about death and living when her parents, and then mine, died.

She always told me, “Life is for the living, so do what you can while your loved one is alive, and live your life to the fullest.” 

So I decided I couldn’t waste time. I quit my job and focused on running (my lifetime hobby and therapy) and started scuba diving. Both have sustained me. Still I had many times when I could have gone for a week or more without talking to a human (my dog listened but that doesn’t count). So, I forced myself to go grocery shopping daily and I took myself to lunch. I didn’t interact with a lot of people, but at least I was in the same room with other people. I also tried grief counseling group therapy. I made it through one session. I felt I had enough grief to carry without sharing someone else’s. I also found myself sitting at home every night finishing an entire bottle of wine.

I eventually started dating as I was just lonely. I found it hard to be my old self. I was trying to push to far too fast and it caught up with me. I wasn’t ready for a relationship.

So I made some mistakes but I continued the struggle to find a new life, while remembering what I had with Stacia. After two-plus years I eventually found the right person for me. I tell people I am twice blessed. I am now married to a smart, funny, wise woman who brings joy into my life everyday. We don’t ignore our past lives, we talk about them all the time. But we focus on the now.

So I am sharing my story so you in hopes that it may help you in some way. I don’t think I have done anything particularly wise or unique. I don’t think I have the key to knowledge. If I have any advice it is to persevere.  Find out what works for you and embrace it. Live to the fullest but know you must grieve and accept loss.

See more of David’s story in his blog about the sudden loss of his wife Stacia.

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Further reading

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S4E44: Fry Bread and Family

We talk about the important role family plays in Native American communities, learn the history of fry bread and share a poem to celebrate the sacred sun.

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