Pieces of the Grieving Process

Yesterday morning I made myself some pancakes for breakfast. As I got out the plate from the cupboard, I was suddenly struck by the blah-ness of that plate.  I have used these plates for about a year and a half. Guess what happened a year and a half ago?? Yes, you guessed it; I started the next phase of my life.  I used to have these very pretty plates that I worked hard for, and I mean worked. I wanted them but didn’t want to pay the retail price, so I took a job selling Princess House products to earn them. It took me about a year to buy the full set and the stainless steel pots and pans, plus a few pretty bowls (I love big bowls!).  BTW, both sets of dishes are PH.

A few days after Kevin died, for some reason (subconscious, I’m sure), I put the pretty plates away and began using the clear glass plates and cereal bowls.  In fact,  I have never really liked the clear plates since I got those.  I can’t imagine buying a set like that now.  Anyway, before my pancakes got cold, I pulled the pretty set from where they had been stored and replaced the clear ones in the cabinet.  I am sure my pancakes tasted better! I know I felt better.

















I had just finished breakfast when my phone rang, and it was a long-time friend of mine. Josie lost her husband Mike after a very quick diagnosis of pancreatic cancer in January of 2000, so 16 years ago.  I told her about the dishes, and she said, “Oh, Pat, I did the same thing!”  She said she sat at the table and cried one night shortly after Mike’s funeral, and it was because the dishes reminded her of Mike. She put them in a box and the next day went and bought a new set of dishes she has used ever since. We laughed over that, wondering what it was about the dishes. She has not regretted getting rid of her first set; I just put mine away in the bottom of the cupboards.

Later on, I went upstairs for something and glanced at my bed.  It’s the same bed we shared, and I haven’t even changed the quilt, although sometimes I flip it over when I’m too lazy to wash it and so buy me a few more days. Oddly, I sleep on his side of the bed now, but when I’m in another bed in a hotel or at my sister’s, I sleep on “my” side. And I park on my side of the driveway still.  I sit at the same place at the dinner table. I sit at the same end of the couch when watching a movie. And I use my same sink at the double-sink vanity in the bathroom. But I gave away his recliner, his truck, and his boat, and I sold his motorcycle.

Why do certain things affect us the way they do, and others don’t? I can’t say.  Why do some things strike us as appropriate or inappropriate, acceptable or unacceptable, or necessary or unnecessary in the early days of our grief…and then shift again later (or not), as we move along in the grieving process and on through the days. This grief is a bit mercurial. I’m just glad I can laugh about it now. And I am okay with not having the answers. I just like noting that it is what it is.

Do you have a dish preference above? It’s okay either way; I’ve made up my mind about which one I’m using, so I’m not looking for advice or agreement. I’m just curious.



  1. Love your pretty plates! They are indeed pretty. The first time I went to Maui (I’ve been twice), in 2003, I came home and went straight to Bed Bath & Beyond to buy a set of tropical-looking dishes, service for four. Those are my favorite dishes to this day. The palm tree design and sandy color remind me of that Maui serenity, something I want in my life as much as possible.

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