My father-in-law (Norm), whom I adore, went through an emotional ordeal dealing with my mother-in law's (Bunny) illness over a lengthy period before she died in 2016. One of her doctors approached Norm and suggested he write a journal as a coping mechanism. After Bunny's death, the doctor asked Norm to allow himself to be filmed talking about his experience while writing the journal. This was to be shown to other medical personnel to display the benefits of journaling. Norm agreed and reached out to me for assistance in getting started - to provide a head-start on his own recounting. I could not emphasize to him enough that his experience was exactly that - his. I told him that I could write as if it had happened to me and that if anything resonated with his own experience, then he should use it. The following is what I offered...

Sometimes sadness is as black as midnight on a moonless night.
I started this journal because it was recommended as a catharsis during the ordeal. I don’t know how cathartic it’s been, but rereading the events as they unfolded evokes many more thoughts of joy than sadness.
I feel compelled to begin with an open expression of how much my wife means to me. When we were teens, I prayed that Bunny and I would end up together. It was like wishing for rain as I stood in the desert. A lifetime together has been filled with laughter, tears, beautiful children, more moves and travel than we expected but there was one constant. Everything we encountered, we met together with a sense that we could overcome anything as long as we stayed united.
During Bunny’s illness and rehab, I was forced to be the proverbial rock while others around me were crumbling. My children remained my children, in need of a strong father during a crisis. Bunny’s siblings needed to hear that she was in capable hands in her time of need. The reflections of chronicled events somewhat gave me the courage and fortitude I needed myself to continue on a lifelong path of inward stability and outward strength. Countless times I cried private tears during the course of writing. Perhaps this was the best result of writing – an outlet providing the ability to grieve.
The many people who visited, called, wrote letters or sent cards represented a constant encouragement and influenced my writings and bolstered my ability to continue inexorably forward.
The chronicle is complete. The primary emotion I have after everything and beyond everything, is a sense of gratitude that this woman accepted me and loved me as I was – not a single other on this planet could have accomplished that. I could not love you more.

One Reply to Bunny Revisited

Scott Hardie | November 12, 2017
Nicely written. For many people in crisis, keeping a journal can be so helpful in focusing one's thoughts and creating a mental space in which to process one's grief and distress. It's good of Norm to do it, of his doctor to suggest it, and of you to help him with it as much as you could.

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