Sunday, May 31, 2015

Please - no platitudes

Vice-President Joe Biden's son passed away yesterday.
It's so sad to think about.
And people on Facebook and other places are all posting about it.
So it naturally has started a conversation about death and how it affects those left behind.
And that's good.
I hope it helps others who are mourning to know they are not alone.
But I also hope it helps others who are not mourning to learn how to help those who are.
Please, please learn the right things to say.
What I think I hated most [and still do] about my time immediately after John passed were those stupid things that people say to those who have lost a loved one to death. I know people mean well but in truth they are trying to make themselves feel better, not the one who is grieving.
Especially any statement that starts with "I know how you feel......"
No, you don't. You don't and can't know how I feel. You will never know how I feel.
Especially please don't have the audacity to compare it to something like "...because I lost my dog." Yes, some stupid woman had the nerve to say that to me just weeks after John passed.
Or even to compare it to someone else you lost.
Even if you too lost your husband.
I lost John. And his John-ness. No one can understand what that means.
Just like I can't understand what it means to you to have lost someone close to you, even if it is your husband. I didn't know your husband as you did. Only you know that and what his loss means to you.
What a person who is grieving needs is your caring.
You being there.
You can't make it better. Nothing you say or do will make it better. Right at that moment all a person wants is their loved one back, and you can't do that.
So don't say "It's God's will" or "He's in a better place."
Frankly, I wanted to hit anyone who said that.
Just say "I'm here."  "I know you are hurting. This is awful. Let me sit here with you."
Cry with them. Don't say "Don't cry." There is going to be a lot of crying and if that makes you uncomfortable, stay away.
Hold their hand. Offer to do some of the mundane things that need to be done.
Or simply just be.
But please, please lose the platitudes.
They don't help at all.
Or some day someone may get the strength to hit you.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

May 24, 2010

Five years ago today.
Gone from this world.
But loved so much.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


Five yeas ago today John and  started on our last trip together, to New York, to visit family.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

"I wish I had found you sooner so I could have loved you longer."

The above saying has been floating around Facebook for quite some time now but its meaning is so true.
I wish I had met John sooner. Thirty-two years together wasn't long enough.
I wonder what it would have been like to know him as a younger man.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

Miss you both so much.
Frances Collins - 29 years old

Frances with baby John 2 weeks old
John and Mom April 2010

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A big Hello and message

Last week I was driving to meet some friends. The event was a play in Phoenix and while I knew the person who invited me to join the group, I didn’t know any of the other women. There were going to be six of them that were strangers to me, a situation I found unnerving.So, as I drove to meet these new people, I spoke to John, asking him to be with me to alleviate my nervousness.
While I was driving I was also playing my new Josh Groban album on my iPhone, pumping it via the Bluetooth through my car speakers. Right after I said my little prayer to John one of my all-time favorite songs came on “You’ll Never walk Alone.” Josh did a great job with it and I was carried away by the emotion of the song. Just then a white SUV pulled up next to me on my left and then sped up a little ways. I could see his license plate. I love reading other license plates. It’s fun to see what people like to put on the back of their car. So, as this car’s plate moved into my line of vision I automatically started to read it. Imagine my surprise to see “JONNY” in large letters. Mind you, “You’ll Never Walk Alone” was still playing loudly in my car.
John was with me. I smiled and said Thank you.
But it doesn’t end there.
Yesterday I was again driving. This time I was on my way to pick up Bella from day care. Again I was playing Josh’s album and once again had come to this song. I was just enjoying it and remembering what had happened last time I heard it. I was feeling thankful for the message from John.
And then it hit me. Not only had John been telling me he would be with me that particular day but he was telling me that he would always be with me. That was the real message. I am not alone and I won’t be as long as I am alive on this planet. John loves me with all his heart. That won’t change just because we are separated by different dimensions.
That is the message for all of us. Our loved ones are with us.
That’s when I knew. That is the title for the book I am working on. I had been struggling with that, trying out different titles but none seemed to work.
Now I know in my heart what it is and it feels right.
You’ll Never Walk Alone.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Miss you so much, John

“Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling in at night." - Edna St. Vincent Millay