It feels like we just got done with New Years, so it is unbelievable to me that we are now preparing to celebrate the Fourth of July; the 245th year of our independence as a nation.  After a year of isolation, I’ll be reuniting with wonderful friends for the first time in fifteen months at a Zumba dance party in the morning.  Later, we’ll celebrate at home with “fun food” and enjoy a massive fireworks display that is visible from our backyard. I will remember our military stationed all over the world, along with those who sacrificed their lives for our freedom. It will be a lovely and peaceful day.


…and it got me to thinking.


I thought about celebrating a different kind of independence…



I know.  You are thinking, "What in the world is there to 'celebrate'?  I didn't want to be 'independent'.  I didn't ask to be 'independent' I don't want to have to worry about the things she / he used to worry about. What I want is my beloved here with me". 


I completely understand that line of thought.  It happens at holidays, it happens in the everyday lives that we all once enjoyed – but it especially happens when something needs fixing. I will admit it right now… a sink, a toilet, certainly anything having to do with four wheels that requires a tire jack…if it's "tech-y or heavy", I don't want anything to do with it. 



The fact remains that through no fault or doing of yours, you have been thrust into the world of On Your Own.  As such, you have likely had to assume much of what we might have once considered to be "man-stuff" or "her job"…the things that we would just rather not handle, even if we did know how to do so.  However, there was also a time in the not-too-

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distant past when things that we now take for granted as common to both sexes were considered "for men only"– things like going to work every day, handling the household finances…even something as simple as having bank accounts and credit. It is no different for the guys either…despite how a few television commercials insist on portraying men (as stereotypically clueless when it comes to anything other than sports, auto repair or beer selection), men are taking part in (and in some cases taking over) what was once not-so-lovingly referred to as “women’s work”. There are more stay-at-home dads now than ever before and these days, you are quite likely to find many men preparing meals, braiding their daughters’ hair and sharing in the day-to-day running of the household. 


While I will happily admit to having called on a local handyman company to do the "impossible for Carole" jobs (i.e. mounting a ridiculously heavy mirrored wall hanging and of course, anything having to do with the word "electricity"), I have also taken a silly kind of pride in the things that I learned how to do on my own. Granted, that education was borne out of necessity, but it still feels good to know that I am capable of taking care of things that at one time I would have never attempted on my own.


Celebrating independence is not just limited to home repairs or do-it-yourselfing either.  Something as simple as going out for a meal on your own and actually enjoying yourself can be a huge accomplishment.  Learning a new skill, taking a vacation, chasing a dream that you perhaps had to put on the back burner or leave by the wayside altogether are all fantastic examples of celebrating the “you” that is emerging. 


So as we observe Independence Day, take just a moment to reflect on your own independence. Be proud of the things that you have learned how to do and enjoy the confidence boost you have experienced as a result. Take pride in the fact that although you are in a place that you never asked or expected to be, you are still perfectly capable of taking care of you and your household; whether that "household" is just you, you and children or you and your pets. Not only that, you are also learning new things, embracing new experiences and moving forward into a life that you can love once again. You are finding a way, you are making a way…you are getting it done!


…and if you are ever in Southern California, I will be happy to show you the air filter that I installed in our air conditioning unit.


Wishing you a safe and peaceful July 4th holiday.


Grief is not measured by clocks or calendars.
Grief is not measured by propinquity or geography.
Grief is not defined by blood, family trees or lack thereof.
Grief is not a competition as to who is hurting worse.



Grief is not a privilege;
only to be granted to those deemed “worthy” of grieving.
Grief is not hierarchical.
Grief cannot be quantified, nor need it be justified.


Grief is measured by one thing and one thing only…



Grief is measured by love.
Love's heights and its depths.
Its give-and-take.
Its inexplicability...and its perfect sense.


Grief is measured by love.
It is our way of reconciling the knowledge that
while life will never again be the same,
we will strive to go on…
Without knowing exactly how that will happen.
Or what life will look like
Beyond the misty veil of tears.


Grief is measured by love.
It is knowing why we must go on,
while figuring out how to go on…
One hour at a time.


Grief is measured by love.
The love that we gave to another.
The love that was returned in kind,
The myriad memories created and celebrated,
and the forever imprint left on our hearts and in our souls,
when we bade one another good-bye.


Grief is measured by love,
And love is the only measurement that matters.




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Included below are resources that you may find helpful in pursuing your healing journey.*** 




*National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: (800) 273-8255. Help is available by telephone twenty-four hours a day; seven days a week. www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org 


* Alcoholics Anonymous:  www.aa.org


* Narcotics Anonymous:  www.na.org


* National Eating Disorders Association: (800) 931-2237 www.nationaleatingdisorders.org.


* Gamblers Anonymous: www.gamblersanonymous.org


* Debtors Anonymous (compulsive shopping / spending): www.debtorsanonymous.org 


* Sexual Compulsives Anonymous (SCA): www.sca-recovery.org.  


* Mental Health America (“Cutting” or other means of self-harm): www.mentalhealthamerica.net




* The American Widow Project: www.americanwidowproject.org:


* TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors) www.taps.org 


* Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation at www.sslf.org and www.campwidow.org


* Social Security Administration www.ssa.gov


* Department of Veterans Affairs (for military widowed and surviving family members): www.va.gov


***Please note that no suggestion and/or recommendation is meant to replace expert medical or legal assistance.  Carole Brody Fleet, her representatives and / or employees or assigns do not receive any remuneration whatsoever for any recommendations made herein.