An Eye for Detail

When are you going to stop writing about grief?” someone asked me, and though I know they meant well, the comment stung.

For a few days, I wrote in my journal, instead, and then wrote a whiney letter to a friend.  I avoided writing on my blog at all.

I have things in my life besides my grief; my essay writing, work on my book, couponing and writing workshops. My children. Shopping. Unfortunately, though my life moves on, I am fully aware that the grieving has just begun. Fifteen weeks after the death of David and I can still find myself sobbing in the parking lot of the grocery store. And while this blog will inevitably continue to mirror my grief-filled journey of widowhood, for the sake of those who are also wondering when are you going to stop writing about grief, I vow to make a valiant attempt to also write about other topics.

Like shopping.  For those of you who only wish to be entertained by shopping and couponing stories, I lead you to my other blog, Crazy Couponer.

I’m afraid I have been using shopping as a diversion far too often since David’s death. Whether it is books from HalfPrice Books (headed there today with my daughter Rachel), or clothing from Kohl’s (ditto), I have, indeed, tried to “make myself feel better” through the attainment of material items. And though I am aware this rarely works, it suffices often enough that I continue looking for items that will give me some sense of joy in my otherwise depressing days. One such item was this large flower arrangement from my sister’s consignment store half-price sale:


It caught my eye when it was full-price. Blue flowers. I love blue. It looks expensive, and classy.

It was still a splurge at half-price, but I was certain it would look perfect on the beautiful table in my entryway.

It didn’t.

“Do you like my new flowers?” I asked my son Michael.

“Big,” was his answer.

Not quite the look I was going for.

My son Dan was more forthright with his criticism of the placement. It overpowers the table, he told me, and as soon as he said it, I saw that he was right.  And then Dan proceeded to remedy the problem. Swiftly. Back went the more appropriate arrangement, and the end table was pushed against the corner, and the new purchase artfully arranged. Suddenly, it looked “right.”  However, even I could see the picture above it was wrong. With one fell swoop, Dan replaced it with a clock that was on the wall next to the tree in the corner behind my couch and my mother’s painting replaced the clock.


Dan instinctively has an eye for details like this, and I’ve taken advantage of that eye on other occasions. The tree in the corner of the living room was my daughter Rachel’s idea, and I love it.


My sister Pat and her daughter Marian have a similar artistic flair in arranging displays at Pat’s consignment shop. I both envy and admire that flair, and I’m not sure if it is acquired or innate. Maybe, as a writer, I have been living in my head so long I’ve forgotten how to utilize the other creative parts of my brain that once existed when I painted and drew pictures in a former life (high school).

I am 52 years old and just now figuring out what I like in fashion. And although I love the colors, tiles and counter I chose for my kitchen, the pictures I had originally purchased at my sister’s shop sit on the floor near the wall I intended them for, gathering dust. And not just because David was going to hang them, and David is no longer here. In this case, I do know what I like in my kitchen. I like this:


And this:


And this calendar:


Fickle me. I no longer like these pictures, but I think I will know what I want for that wall when I see it. Maybe I’ll see it today while SHOPPING.


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