We said “I love you” to each other, and I remember Gregg saying to me “Diana your the best thing that has ever happened to me”, we hugged and I was off to work.
It’s been a year since I came home from work and found that my husband Gregg had gone to heaven. On the morning of August 13, 2018, we kissed and hugged, and we said I love you to each other and then I was off to work. You see, ever since 9/11, that was our thing. Because you never know…. How glad I am that we made that pact so many years ago.
If you read my guide on coping during the first six months, I thank you. I want you all to know that I followed my own advice. I stayed away from prescribed pills and limited my alcohol intake, and I surrounded myself with positive, creative people. As you may recall, I was downsized from my staff position with several of my colleagues just six weeks after Gregg’s passing. I have to say that, as the months passed, I went through several levels of intense moments. I was numb and in shock for a few months, then the numbness was replaced by sheer sadness and fear. Then my self-confidence went out the window, all while searching for new employment. Holy cow, talk about a challenge!
Partly out of necessity, and partly just to keep busy, I took any temp position that I was offered. Working at Moet Hennessy was a gas, and I loved temping for them. Working for designer Reem Accra was a great experience. She is a real star and fantastic person, however, I did not see myself in that role long term. Finally, after being without a staff position for nine months, I found my dream job at a private equity firm. The kind and lovely staff eased me into the daily responsibilities, and today I feel the role fits like a comfortable glove.
Working helped to keep my mind occupied during the weekdays, but at night and especially on the weekends, the sadness returned. Writing in my journal really helped, as did the comfort from good friends. Sending a huge shoutout to Iva Stegeman, Debra Duggan, Helen Sung, Jane Irving, Marcella Farman, Mary Glennon, Donna Agajanian, Kelley Suttenfield, Francesca Maese, Brian Offutt, Karl Spangenberg, Patricia Caroll, James Croak and his wife Tomoe, and to my next-door neighbors Jan and her husband in 2G. The support that came from you all was overwhelming and instrumental in my healing this past year.
At the one-year mark, I’ve come to realize that the old me is gone. She left this earth with my husband. In her place, there is emerging a new and changed person that begs to be discovered. I predict Year Two will be about finding her (me) and learning to give her what she needs.
With each day, I become more aware of the need to stop lamenting the loss of Gregg-and-Diana, and start rekindling the relationship with myself as a whole person, standing on her own. So how does one go about doing that, exactly? By focusing on what brings you joy.
It’s important to write this down, as different ideas can form on the page from those in your mind. Try it as an exercise. Be thoughtful, but don’t overthink it. Here is my list, as an example:
What Brings Me Joy?
1. Going to see live music and other music concerts
2. Making music. I am just now starting to feel comfortable enough to start to easing my way back into performing. I am working on a new musical project and I have a trip to Nashville on the horizon!
3. Attending art shows and visiting museums
5. Working out at Equinox
6. Hosting dinner parties
7. Swimming and being in the water beach or pool
8. Watching tennis and the Olympics live or on TV
9. Being in nature
Travel. On my shortlist is:
a. Iceland to see the Northern Lights
b. Food and Wine Festivals
c. Umbria Jazz Festival
As you build your toolkit of things-that-bring-you-joy, eventually memories of your time with your loved one will start to fade. I knew this would happen with the natural passage of time, so I created a book based on my journal entries about Gregg along with images that I will have printed, to remind me of the great life that we shared.
Be thankful for the past, but focus on the present and the future. Keep moving forward in life. Time is a gift. Take one day at a time and breathe.
Working at Moet Hennessey- the entrance to the office !
Working at Moet Hennessey
Working for Reem Accra – yes that’s me top left – all in black hahha
My wardrobe while I templed for Reem – its Black when you work in fashion
Attending Art Openings
Enjoying Great Food
Keeping on Moving Forward
Perez sending much love to all. Peace, Perez
Blog by Perez – Edited by Kelley Suttenfield