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You Are Not Alone

Widowed people created Soaring Spirits because we discovered that connecting with other widowed people made the challenges of surviving a spouse or partner a little easier to manage.

There is a widowed community here at Soaring Spirits that offers widowed men and women understanding, friendship, inspiration, and encouragement as they learn to live without the person with whom they intended to spend the rest of their lives. 

Soaring Spirits communities, both online and in-person, are diverse, inclusive, secular, and positive. We share resources, ideas, energy, and most importantly, hope.

We believe that hope matters.

Blog

As Long As I Don't Do This

I’ve been a recovered alcoholic for 30+ years.

Chuck was a recovered alcoholic, also. He died 5 days shy of his 25th sober anniversary.  The people who came to his bedside in southern California were some of those he’d sponsored. They presented him with his 25-year coin. Which he didn’t want to take, early, but I persuaded him that he needed to, for their sake, if not for his. He’d earned it. He stayed sober through the worst pain cancer can give a person because “I don’t want to pick up a drink again, and have my alcoholism take over and leave an ugly memory of me behind, for you. I don’t want you to be glad that I’m dead, because of the agony I might have caused”.

So. Sobriety.

There are so many times I could have picked up since Chuck died.  Numbed the grief and the soul slicing pain that comes with it.  Gotten fallen down drunk and slept through the days and nights of anguish.

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Overdrive

For those of you not aware of what “overdrive” is in a car, I’ll try to simply explain it.  Overdrive is a gear in the transmission that is less than a 1:1 ratio with the engine. Effectively, the wheels turn faster than the motor.

It's great for cruising at higher speeds.  The engine doesn’t have to work as hard, so it’s a more efficient use of fuel.  There is so much weight and momentum behind the car that it could happily glide along with barely any input, needing only to overcome wind resistance and the occasional uphill segment of highway with a millimeter more depressing of the accelerator pedal.

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Maybe this will Help - What I know about Grief and Support

I wish I had better guidance to give people early on when they tried to help me.

People were making heartfelt efforts to comfort me 
- most armed without experience.

Two years later, these helpers have almost all disappeared. 
And, I understand. 
People have lives of their own 
to live.

I understand.
I understand that they simply can not understand my life.

I recognize that visiting me, while I sift through the wreckage of what was, is not overly enticing. 
Truth be told, I don’t want to live here among the debris of my old life either. 
I understand their absence.
I understand the difficult position we are all in.

I know that those who have not lost their Soul’s mate can not possibly know what to say to me.
In the beginning of this mess, I was not adequately equipped to educate anyone about what they should and could do. 
I apologize. 
I wish I could have helped you help me.

I want to thank you for being with me when I was brought to my knees.
I know that you did not know what to do.
I didn’t know what to do either.
But, I know that both of us had the best of intentions.

 

When Mike died I was not given a manual to follow.  There were no instructions.  No roadmap has been created for grief because it takes us along different paths.  Yes, there are shared attractions and similar views along the way, but the road we travel is unique for all of us.  When your spouse dies, you must go where you have not gone before.  You are forced onto a road that is not well marked.  There are countless ruts along the way.  Some parts are bumpy and make for difficult travel.  Other times, the road is smooth and there is blue sky overhead.  Then, around the corner, the sky turns dark and it becomes hard to see where you are going.  During these stretches, you may bump into things.  On this journey, you will become lost.  It's unavoidable.  Along the way, you will be re-routed and sometimes you will travel down dead ends.  And, through it all, you will learn.  You will learn to rely on your instincts.  You will learn to believe in yourself - in a way you never have before.  Solo travel isn't easy, but it changes you in a lot of good ways.

At the start, even if I possessed all this knowledge about grief, I still would not have been able to teach you how to better handle me.  Widowhood has to be lived to be understood.  In the days and months following his death, I was completely disoriented.  I was unable to guide you as you tried to help me.  I wish I could have succinctly told what I needed.  And, really, the only thing I needed was him.  I needed him not to die.  But, he did.  And, his death is permanent.  There is nothing anyone can do to make this better for me.  It is what it is.

As the days turned into months, I learned to sit still in the horrific aching.  I learned to lean into the ugliness of it.  I learned to cry until I gasped for breath.  I learned to pick myself up from the floor after I thought I would die from missing him.  I learned that Grief is presumptuous and demands attention.  And, I have learned to give Grief the attention it screams for.

Grief is brazen, dauntless and in your face.  Grief pronounces everything in heavy, smashed strokes.  Grief threw me into an out of body experience.  And, I've learned that Grief rarely shows any mercy.  Grief deprived me of many things I once took for granted.
I had to relearn basic things like breath and sleep. 
For many months both eluded me. 
Sometimes they still do.

Early on I could not communicate without confusion. 
I could hear conversations around me, but the words did not make any sense to me because I had begun speaking in another dialect.

My heart was learning the language of grief. 
I am now fluent in it.

With time, many people have drifted away from me because we no longer speak the same language.
I understand. 
There is nothing that needs to be said.

For the past two years I have been physically present, 
but my mind is far away from here.
I have been unravelled.
I have come undone at the seams of my Soul.

Mike’s death has affected me to the depths of my psyche.
But, thankfully, with time, 
I am making a slow, steady comeback. 
In truth, comeback isn’t the correct word.

Death is a trauma. 
And, after outliving your spouse,
You do not and can not come back to who you once were.
There is no returning.

I can not come back to what was. 
Whatever “it” was, 
It is all over.
I apologize if this sounds overly dramatic to ears that have not lived in the silence 
I have existed in for nearly two years.
None of what I am saying is intended to be dramatic, 
it is just the truth.

I am forever changed because he died. 
But, even more, 
I am a better woman because he lived.

Slowly, I am finding ways to adapt to my changed life.
Daily, I drape myself in Hope.
I want to do more than survive his death. 
I want to live a full, happy life 
- somehow.

Since Mike died I have spent hours lost in my thoughts.
I continually revisit the past.
I endlessly mourn the future we imagined.
And, I desperately hope to become present in the moment.

As surreal as it remains,
I know that he does not exist here anymore.
And, therefore,
I accept that I must begin anew.

Mike’s death has forced me to be reborn.
And, though a piece of me will always wish for the life we shared and planned,
I am grateful for my chance at a new life.

Gratitude for what was, 
And, what will be, 
Has allowed me to survive without him.

My simple message below is intended to help everyone involved in this mess.
I only wish I had these words for you earlier when we both stood before grief without any guidance.
~Staci

 

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