I was recently told that I need to move on from my husband’s death. As I heard that statement, I thought to myself, what a bold thing to say, especially coming from someone who has never experienced losing the love of their life. Grief is unique to everyone, and NO ONE can tell you how to grieve and what to do. Losing a brother, a son, or even a friend is different than losing your soulmate and the love of your life. Death is different for everyone, and the relationships are different. I am not saying that one loss is greater than the other; they are just different.Read more
Have you ever felt as if, since losing your partner or spouse to death, the outside world treats you like you are a child? Perhaps I am just extra sensitive lately, or maybe I am slightly resentful that I’m a 46 year old woman who had no choice but to move in with her parents after 5 years alone of struggling financially post-loss. Whatever the case may be, lately, I feel the need to stand on top of the nearest mountain and shout to the universe defiantly: "MY HUSBAND DIED! PLEASE STOP TREATING ME LIKE A CHILD!" I would do it, but that seems like a rather childish thing to do, which would probably not help much in making my point to the masses.
Why is it, that after the death of a spouse or partner, people want to collectively treat you as if you are not an adult who can make their own decisions, live their life, and generally function on the planet? Listen, I truly understand the need for our loved ones to coddle us or baby us some in the beginning months - when our entire world has been turned off its axis, and when we feel like we can’t possibly breathe or shower or do anything except sit in the fetal position until the end of time, and then a little bit longer.Read more
Last night, after a tough week, a friend and I treated ourselves to a night out at a local comedy festival to have a few laughs and blow off some steam. We had tickets to see an up-and-coming Australian comedian who has acted in a couple of popular local TV shows and I was really looking forward to seeing her live.
It was great... until she started joking about suicide. My stomach dropped, my face started burning, my throat tightened and my eyes were pricked with tears. I couldn't believe it. There I was trying to forget about being a suicide widow for a night and the topic was being shoved in my face.
My brain is in overdrive these days and all day today I've been contemplating what it is I'll write about for this week's blog. I usually let my writing happen viscerally. So here goes.
Last Sunday our oldest son got married against the backdrop of Sedona Arizona. One of those milestones of life that will cause our grief to rise up in us, we're told. But what is it when one of those milestones doesn't cause the grief to rise up because it's already there all the time anyways? I think, perhaps, what happens is that I restrain my grief and then there's times when it just can't be restrained or constrained and out it comes. That would be a more apt description of it.
Grief illiteracy has been on my mind quite a bit in the last couple weeks. Even if you don't know that term, you'll know what I mean when I tell you about my face-to-face with it. And you'll nod your head and say to yourself (or to the room in general)....oh, yes....
I keep a personal blog in addition to writing for Widows Voice, and I have for years. It began as a way to chronicle my and my husband's travels. After his death it became, and remains, about the most difficult of travels; alone and without the man I love next to me.
In the 3 years and 4 months so far of this death tsunami I'm living since losing my husband, there is something I have learned about other people. Sometimes they suck. A lot.
When it comes to living with the death of your partner or spouse, I have found that there are two kinds of people I deal with: the supporter, and the critic. Technically, there is a third type of person, and that would be the "disappearing magic trick", but since those people sprint so fast out of your life and choose to handle the death of your partner by ignoring and abandoning you forever, I won't count them here because I am not actually dealing with them at all. They are gone. So, that leaves us with the supporter and the critic. The supporters are those wonderful and often unexpected friends and family members, who, although they might not fully understand or comprehend what you are going through, do their best to sit with you inside your pain and to get on board with how you are coping and choosing to live your life. The supporters are there for you, they continue to be there for you well after the initial funeral and first few months period, and they let you be yourself; which means being able to talk about the person who died without them staring at you like you are some sort of circus freak. Supporters are very often people that you weren't even very close with before your person died, but who jumped onto the "I am here for you now" train after your world changed forever. Supporters are wonderful. They are also quite rare.
A family friend recently asked my sister how I was doing, and then seemed surprised when she replied that I'm still very sad a lot of the time and cry often. It got me thinking, if I don't regularly remind the world that I'm missing Dan and still grieving him, will they assume I've 'finished' or was past that 'phase'?
Language has changed for me in this time since Chuck died.
I'm certain I'm not the only one who has heard people say "Your fillintheblank would want you to be happy".
Happy is one of the words that has changed for me. Happiness is a fleeting thing and I'm not concerned about being happy. Life is deeper than that for me now. I hope someday I feel peaceful again. Serene. Joyful. Content. I'd like to feel passionate about a man again. But happiness no longer seems to fit what my future might be. I'll always miss my husband and that will always tinge whatever else is going on.
But maybe all of those words add up to happy. I don't know. And I don't really care.
...... and the relief I felt as soon as I sat down in my seat on the plane yesterday morning was amazing.
It was like I had been carrying 500 pounds on my shoulders (causing a lot of pain in my neck!). As soon as I dropped into that seat, all of that weight lifted.
In fact, I was so relaxed that I slept through most of the flight ...... which is a rarity for me.
Carrying all of that weight is exhausting.
Letting go of it is almost exhilarating.
I'm feeling less adrift right now.
Funny, I always feel that way when I'm here.