Thoughts about grief a year after her passing

Monday marks the anniversary of Titien’s death. August 23, 2020 was a Sunday. She died in my arms in the morning. Writing that brings tears to my eyes and this week – her final week – is a special emotional challenge. I am on vacation now, just like last year.

Here are a few thoughts about grief and the past year, loosely put together:

Grief has an acute phase and a latent phase. The acute phase lasted a few months for me. The latent phase is ongoing, maybe for the rest of my life. To be honest, that’s what I wish for. I am not uncomfortable with grief.

The strength and duration of grief is far more dependent on the depth of the relationship than on the length of time since death. Grief comes and goes in waves. The intensity does not change, but the frequency does. The episodes of mourning do not become less and less rare over time, they simply come irregularly. At the moment they come often.

There are several places where I’m close to Titien. The tree that she and my parents are buried under is one of them. I go there every two weeks. The photos for the collage here in the image on top of the article were taken up there over the past year.

I first go for a long walk there, I remember, and then call Titien’s brother. We go together from the place where the photos were taken to the tree and spend time at the grave.

Two other situations in which I feel close to her: When driving alone, I imagine that she is sitting in the passenger seat next to me. We then talk sometimes.

My iPhone shows me different, randomly selected photos every day in the form of a widget on the home screen. Many of them are with Titien.

My favorite hobby at the moment is road cycling. I go on long tours regularly. The furthest was 200 km from home to the tree under which Titien is buried and back again. When I ride slowly, I have time to think. If I ride faster, I can switch off. I’ve never had more muscular thighs than now.

A note to our friends: It’s nice when you think of her and me these days. Please don’t call. If I feel like talking, I will contact you. As always, I am happy to receive comments here.

9 Replies to “Thoughts about grief a year after her passing”

  1. Thank you for sharing this with us. I never met Titien in person but I love her nonetheless. Her spirit in the face of suffering is magnificent. Your posts are much appreciated, Tobias.
    Sending love.

  2. Titien war eine wunderschöne, liebe und außergewöhnliche Frau. Sie hatte ein großes Herz. Ich habe oft ihren Blog gelesen und habe bis zu Letzt gehofft, dass ihr irgendwie geholfen werden kann. DIPG ist eine schlimme Erkrankung und ich hoffe so sehr, dass man diese Art von Krebs eines Tages heilen kann.
    Die Zeit heilt leider auch nicht alle Wunden. Aber man lernt mit den Wunden zu leben. Ich spreche da aus eigener Erfahrung.
    Ich wünsche dir alles Gute, Tobias. Titien ist immer bei dir. Und eines Tages sehr ihr euch wieder.

  3. I think of Titien & you often. Every time I hear Pharrell’s “Happy” I smile & think of Titien-I just loved reading what she wrote. I thank you for updating & know I will think of Titien always

  4. Titien was an Angel on earth. She touched a lot of hearts and souls, ununforgettable. I’m sure she is still around and we’ll meet again when we leave this earth, too.

  5. Thank you Tobias! As with each post by Titien and you, I am deeply touched. I so appreciate your candor and vulnerability. And your spirit. I think both of you often and grateful for your reminders of love and rich life shared. May God continue to comfort you on your rides and surround you with understanding friends and family.

  6. “Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity.”
    —Henry van Dyke

    Reminds me of two books on grief over the loss of love of life to fatal diseases.
    A Grief Observed
    A Severe Mercy
    And a poem by Adgar Allen Poe
    To Annabel Lee

  7. Miss Titien so much over here… I also thought of you Tobias… Pray that may the Lord continue to comfort you… I will never forget my roommie and her beautiful heart for people! God bless you Tobias, you are almost in my prayer!

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