Today, I received a letter from Josh’s doctor that very officially stated the time period that he was under hospice care. It is isn’t one I wanted to get but rather one I needed for our insurance company. It’s one of the many strange things to deal with after a loss and almost awkward feeling to read.
Generally, there are many ways to talk about what happened with Josh at the end of September. I’ve both said and seen these descriptors: passed away, died, left this world, is in heaven, etc . . . Some phrases are easier (or softer) to say than others - at least less jarring.
This time the letter very factually stated Josh “expired at home.” When I read the words, I immediately thought about a gallon of milk, then felt a rush of emotions. Josh is more than a gallon of old milk. What a strange word to use and even more strange to read/process.
Filing paperwork is just one of the many weird things to do in this process. The paperwork about our lives and the life of a loved one seems so inadequate - instead Josh’s life deserves books, movies, more epic stories and social posts - yet these are also sometimes hard to express.
Thinking more on this word “expired,” I connect it to Josh’s life. He would never drink expired milk – for good reason. I would sometimes smell or taste it but for Josh, if the date on the bottle was over (or even close) he wouldn’t risk it. This always made me laugh. I would sometimes try to trick him into at least trying it from a cup but he held strong.
Remembering THESE stories helps fill my aching heart. These memories remind me that there’s more to a life than paperwork that needs to be filed and still more to this story and moment. I know this technically, we all know this, but somedays basic tasks just have to be completed as part of the ongoing process of grieving on.
It all makes me think of Snoopy the dog making the “bleh” face - maybe the same face you’d make when sipping on spoiled milk. This is how I feel about grief. "Bleahhhhh."
Hi! It's Jenn Brown, writing my story that is now slightly different as we enter a season of new grief. On September 30, 2019, my dear husband Josh passed away after battling brain cancer.