The Dead

Direct Answers - Column for the week of February 9, 2004

I love my wife with all my heart and soul. She is now and will ever be the other half of my heart. Twenty years ago I felt much the same about another woman. She was my first true love. Unfortunately, her parents did not see us having a future together. Although I had a hard time letting go, I respected their wishes.

We both went on to live separate lives. We married different people and had children, and we moved thousands of miles apart. I found out she died yesterday. I did not expect the news to affect me this way, but I am shattered.

I feel the grief of loss, even though her love is something I have not had, nor could hope to have, for the last 20 years. I feel guilt for feeling this grief and do not know how to explain this to my wife. She can see the news affected me. How do I cope with this? Is it appropriate to send my condolences to her husband and children. What would I say?

Guy

Guy, in James Joyce's story "The Dead," a man named Gabriel Conroy goes with his wife Gretta to the annual Christmas dance given by his aunts. At the end of the evening, with most of the guests gone, a tenor sings a song which stirs a memory in Gretta. Gabriel's heart is brimming with happiness because he thinks his wife's thoughts are running with his.

Back in their hotel room Gretta, in tears, explains that the song reminded her of a boy she once loved. The boy died after standing in the rain outside Gretta's window the night before she left home. Gabriel then realizes how deeply his wife loved this boy, and he realizes "how poor a part he, her husband, had played in her life."

It's hard to share this memory with your wife without her wondering how poor a part she, your wife, has played in your life. To tell your wife she is the other half of your heart, and then to say 20 years ago you felt the same about another woman, may undermine the sincerity of your words.

And what would you tell the husband and children of your first love? That you are the man who should have been her husband and their father? That won't help them. There is no reason to feel guilt, but you should realize this is all about you, your feelings, and your imagining of what might have been.

We suggest two things. Write out all your feelings, perhaps even the entire story of your relationship, in private. In the writing you may come to understand why her death has affected you so deeply. And get a book on grieving as a way to get in touch with your emotions and accept her death. Some things must be faced alone.

Wayne & Tamara

A Day Away

My friends and teachers take the mickey out of my name by singing "The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow" from the musical "Annie." But they replace tomorrow with Tamara, and it really hurts my feelings. What should I do?

Tamara

Tamara, I bet my bottom dollar you'll be having people use word play on your name not just tomorrow, but for the rest of your life. Like you, I pronounce my name like the day after today, except the o's become a's and the w is dropped.

People love making puns, and teasing or "taking the mickey out" of a name makes them feel clever. But isn't the mickey really on them? When you walk into a room, you are able to make people break into a happy show tune, whether they can carry a tune or not. That song makes people smile, and it ends with "I love ya, Tamara." Take it as a compliment and smile with them.

Tamara

About The Author

Authors and columnists Wayne and Tamara Mitchell can be reached at www.WayneAndTamara.com.

Send letters to: Direct Answers, PO Box 964, Springfield, MO 65801 or email: DirectAnswers@WayneAndTamara.com.

The Meaning of Life - Not Just Another Dust in the Wind Theory

I grew up in the south in the 1960's. Married when I was 18 and... Read More

Abused as a Child

Child abuse is a much more common event, than is usually expressed in public. I... Read More

Life Lessons I Learned from My Cat

Even if you are not a cat person, bear with me, as this story goes... Read More

Anamchara - Making Sense of Life

Many successful persons advise you start your day with a list of what you intend... Read More

Inspiration, the Living Force

These moments of awareness are powerful motivators. They boost our spirit and expand our view... Read More

Life After Death: The Story of the Green Donkey

This is the true story of what Deepak Chopra would call a "Whopper". It is... Read More

Persistency - Element In Reality

One of the keys to being successful in anything you do is persistence. Lets clarify... Read More

Moment of Grace

The bedrock of the Christian faith is the good news about God's love. Christian teachings... Read More

A Faux Pas Is A Mistake In A Tuxedo

Everyone who is anybody has a hobby or at least entertains the idea. Hobbies range... Read More

False Start

Direct Answers - Column for the week of July 7, 2003.I was married three months... Read More

Why Self Esteem Matters

A number of years ago I worked for one of the UK's top IT companies... Read More

Keep Hope Alive

"Hope is the thing with feathers That perches in the soul, And sings the tune... Read More

Forcing Inspiration

Most people, when they have to complete a creative endeavour, often tend to wait for... Read More

Numbers

Direct Answers - Column for the week of May 19, 2003I'm currently in the classic... Read More

Entrepreneur and Mom

When I was 12 years old, I had surgery with complications. I was told there... Read More

A Pickup Line

Direct Answers - Column for the week of November 11, 2002I just started a wonderful... Read More

Generosity Is The Seed Of Wealth

Generosity, which includes the free, no strings-attached sharing of resources, money, and information among people,... Read More

What is Your Recovery Rate?

What is your recovery rate? How long does it take you to recover from actions... Read More

What To Do When You Dont Know What To Do

It is often difficult to know exactly what to do. This is especially true when... Read More

Nine Things More Important than Capital

When starting any enterprise or business, whether it is full-time or part-time, we all know... Read More

Create Your Own Self Esteem - Part 1

Self-esteem is something that we all wish we had more of. Some of us go... Read More

Attaining Financial Freedom

Financial freedom is not about having enough money to spend to your heart's delight, without... Read More

Shaping the Future with Positive People Power

We must shape the future and control our destiny.When we examine our world, what do... Read More

World Kindness Day

Once upon a time, in ancient India, a beggar favored a certain foot of land... Read More

Harsh Reality

Direct Answers - Column for the week of August 25, 2003My wife and I married... Read More

How To Turn Your Life Around FAST!

There is nothing more important than feeling good.Come again? Didn't I just tell you how... Read More

The Minds Fancy Dress Party -Or- A Brainstorming Session

In Berlin a restaurant opens for anorexics and in Buffalo a lawyer with a stutter... Read More

Night of the Living Dead

For many people, life has become as dull and despairing as death. We suffer from... Read More

Change Begins With Choice

Any day we wish we can discipline ourselves to change it all. Any day we... Read More

Lewis And Clark Pay Attention

As I write this Southern California has just ended its second week of triple digit... Read More

Ever Wondered Why Everyone Else is Moving On, Except You?

"I attend courses, read books, listen to CD's, yet I am still... Read More

Anything That?s Worth Doing, Is Worth Doing Poorly

Yes you got it. You read it correctly. We're not out of our minds. We... Read More

Anamcara - Being Forever Enough

When was the last time you felt you were enough just as you are? When... Read More

Attitude Adjustment

"If you are pained by external things, it is not they that disturb you, but... Read More

Careful What You Wish For...

I have always been fascinated by the concept of "wishing.", especially "collective wishing." If enough... Read More

Nurture Your Heart

Pregnant with her first child, Jill could barely contain her excitement over the dreams and... Read More

Its Not Always About the Benjamins, Baby

Often when I receive emails from this list with folks, Telling me that they have... Read More

Tighten Your Connection

It was my first and last experience with a pneumatic drill, which is a jackhammer... Read More

You Can Quickly And Easily Solve Your Problems

Today I just wanted to write you a quick note to encourage you. Why? Because... Read More

Why My Wife Is My Hero

My name is Chas Brothers. Many of you know me as an author of motivational... Read More

Playing with Matches

Matches are all about power; a new world opens up when you strike a match... Read More

Imagine How Different The World Would Look Just By Knowing What Type of Learner You Are

Are you a listener or a writer type of learner?President John Kennedy was a reader... Read More

Getting Past Those Blah Days

Get It OutWhen something is bothering you, whether be a family problem or business roadblock,... Read More

Spring Quotations - Top 30 Quotations About Spring Time

"Is it so small a thing To have enjoy'd the sun, To have lived light... Read More

A Time To Awake

What has become of your fondest dreams?If you were guaranteed success, what would dare to... Read More

A Word Fitly Spoken ~ Acceptance

A WORD FITLY SPOKENA word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of... Read More

5 Simple Tips For A Better Life

How can we enjoy a better lifestyle?'Easy' I hear you say, all you need is... Read More

Justice Delayed

Direct Answers - Column for the week of September 22, 2003I have three grown children.... Read More

Songs of Life

I imagine when we die we find out how in-tune with our hearts we should... Read More

Time to Change the World!

Here's something you can do each day that will REALLY make a difference to provide:FOOD... Read More