(NOTE: If you're looking for Gary's Memorial Video, you can find it on the Home page.)
I've been a widow for six weeks. My encounters with grief have been varied and haphazard. Sometimes sorrow surprises me, and at other times it builds up slowly.
I don't have a clear view of what to expect, since everyone grieves differently but occasionally I hope to share a bit of what it's like, for me, and how I'm doing. Actually, I've been grieving for many years. Every time Gary reached a new limitation, I was sad for a time. New losses brought new kinds of sorrow, but once we adjusted to our new situation, I found we could flourish within our limitations. I'm expecting that process to continue.
Two days after Gary went to Heaven, I suggested that our family go to dinner at Gary's favorite restaurant. "Damon's Steakhouse" has been a Glendale landmark since 1937, which explains why Gary's dad, Tom, used to go there on dates. Gary and I used to go there on dates too. In 1980 because of the Glendale Galleria project, Damon's moved to it's current location on Brand. (Behind the Center Theater and right next to Porto's) Our family considered it THE place to go for celebrations.
Somehow, it seemed strangely important to go there and eat a Top Sirloin, stuffed baked potato, salad (tossed at the table and with amazing dressing) and garlic cheese bread "for Gary." I wasn't sure how emotional I would be, but I decided to "not care" and go anyway.
The fun 50's Tiki-style motif was not lost on the kids. While we waited for our food, we walked around and looked at the huge salt water aquarium and shell lamps. There's even an outrigger canoe hanging from the ceiling with monkeys in it. Once the food arrived and after we prayed, we dug in. It was then that I was overwhelmed with joy mingled with missing my love. I looked around the table at our dear ones, and wished Gary was with us, but at the same time I was so happy we were all together in one of Gary's favorite places. So amongst my tears and smiles, memories flooded back into my mind. Romantic dinners, anniversaries, birthday celebrations... Gary, April and I had even had dinner there on our way to the hospital while awaiting the birth of Sarah's firstborn.
The last time we were there was our anniversary in 2010, when Gary was in the middle stages of Alzheimer's. The evening had a rough start, but eventually he (and I) both enjoyed ourselves, even though I knew at the time, it would likely be our last meal at Damon's together. see photo ->
As a grieving widow, I'm learning that it's ok to cry AND it's ok to laugh. Remembering is a really good thing to do because it keeps the joy in your life along with the inevitable sadness. I don't feel the slightest bit guilty for enjoying my meal six weeks ago. Every bite and flavor reminded me of some very good times, and I'm grateful that God designed us with the capacity to enjoy the world He made, and miss those who added to it's beauty.
"A merry heart does good like a medicine."
If you're in Southern California, and you want to make a memory with a good steak or seafood, click on the photo or HERE for info on Damon's.