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  • Writer's pictureJoshua Bentley

Grief Gab #8 - Six Months Later

She was my bestie and my one true love and it’s been six months since left us. How can it have been six months already?? As I was sitting down to write this, I realized that I never finished putting together the video of Joni’s memorial so her friends online who couldn’t make it would be able to attend in their own way. I’ve since contacted the videographer (and dear friend) to see if we can get this done and we’re going to try to release it on, or close to, the anniversary of the memorial. It’s interesting that it became one of the things that slipped in priority compared to a month after her passing.

I can’t believe it’s been six months. Like most major events in life, it seems like it’s been so long and yet so short at the same time. Our family has maneuvered through this time brilliantly and I’m very proud of us. The grief is still very real, but it has lost some of its edge. And I find myself wondering if I’m afraid of it losing some of its edge. I’ve been annoyed, upset, and irritated with my grief; and now that it’s losing some of its edge I’m almost worried that I’m not doing enough to grieve, to feel. Many of you will think or say that I’ve done a remarkable job. I don’t disagree, but I want to make sure that I’m processing this as positively and healthily as possible.

As I’ve been pondering all the changes that have happened over the last 6 months, I find it interesting the number of things that I have on my list of things to get done in relation to her passing, but haven’t done. Off the top of my head:

  • Update our bank account and move everything to my name.

  • Update our mortgage.

  • Put her car in my name.

  • Finish going through her jewelry.

And then I stop to think of all the things I/we have done in the last six months:

  • Grieved well.

  • Grown closer as a family.

  • Started a relationship with my girlfriend, worked on its growth, and introduced her to my immediate and extended family and seen them (and her) take to each other readily and wonderfully.

  • Started a new job.

  • Successfully got most of my kids up to speed on how to cook meals and established a regular cooking rotation.

  • Boxed up many of Joni’s belongings that are precious to me.

  • Given away things that have been lingering around the house that just need to be gotten rid of.

  • Made a major dent in redecorating my room.

  • Continued family and personal counseling.

  • Written fairly regularly about my grief experience.

  • Tried new things like milk delivery and Imperfect Produce.

  • Maintained contact and relationship with my in-laws.

When I look at it in that context, what I haven’t done is easily outweighed by what I have done. And there’s more I could add to the list of things I’ve done! As in many areas of life, it’s easy to get hung up on our failures than our successes. So making that list just now was really good for me!

I know I say it a lot, but I miss her. I miss her deeply and strongly. The pain of it isn’t as strong as it was a few months ago, but the longing to have her back never goes away. If I’m honest, sometimes it’s hard to look at her picture. So much love combined with so much pain. And I’m still angry. It seems silly to feel angry about some of the things I feel angry about, but that’s how I feel. Angry at God, angry at cancer, angry at myself, angry at Joni; not all of it rational, but all of it understandable I think.

One thing I didn’t list, but I’m very happy about is that I’ve been able to appreciate things Joni would have appreciated and laugh about them instead of cry that she isn’t here to appreciate them. Case in point, I’ve been sending my sister-in-law animated gifs that I think Joni would have cracked up over. She, my sister-in-law, has confirmed that I’ve been right on and we’ve laughed our butts off together.

None of us ever wanted to be in this place. It’s hard, it sucks, it’s unfair, it’s cruel, and it’s confusing. But how we carry on is what defines us. And I think the Bentleys are showing our quality pretty darn well.

Thanks for reading.


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