Reacting to Loss and Grief
There are many unique and varied reactions to grief and loss.
We may all react differently and yet the end result, many times, is the same. There is a sense of a gaping hole in our chest, a deep emptiness that at first nothing can fill.
Contrarily, even though I was in this frenzy of doing this and that, I also experienced a general apathy in my daily living. Each day ran into the next-the same blah feeling. On many occasions, I couldn't wait for the day to end so I could climb into bed and be finished with that day.
My life coasted along, as if I were driving down a road with no final destination in sight. The ride is shaded and sunny, but it just keeps going. Many occasions I was fixated on my rear view mirror instead of noticing what might lie ahead.
I had no interests other than taking care of the most immediate matters, and then just blanking out. My thoughts felt dull and worn. I had never thought of myself as a boring, uninteresting person, but grief certainly sucked the very life and essence out of me. I was a living, walking automation and that's the way I wanted it in the beginning. I didn't want to feel or think too much, but merely to remain cushioned in my little cocoon of nothingness.
This worked for a while, but eventually, the pins and needles start and you begin to live again. That's just how life is. And we all need to live, to survive, to have something other than one dull moment follow the other. Eventually, the dullness recedes a little at a time.
One day you really do awaken to find there is once more joy in your heart, and life seems brighter. The way to move through grief is all our own. There is no prescribed time limit on healing; but there is healing. http://www.ajourneywelltaken.com
Starting Anew at Fifty
I lost my husband and best friend of 22 years when he was 59 and I was 47. We have three boys and I'd always thought we'd be together forever, however long that was, or at least another twenty years. I felt blindsided when I lost him to cancer after 11 months of illness. I had a terrible time living with the loss, but it didn't actually hit me until six months or so after he died. On our first anniversary, I felt like I slammed into a wall going forty miles an hour and I hadn't put on my seatbelt.
It took me about 4 years to get to the point where I felt happy in my own life, which no longer resembled the life we had shared together. My period of grieving moved me through many lifestyle changes, many times fearful, but ultimately all of them good. Of one thing I am certain, everyone's grief experience is unique.
There was a lot of stress in my life during this period. Not only was I dealing with my own emotions, but the ramifications of my boys' confusion, loss and grief. Their emotional and physical wellbeing was always my first priority. However, there were many late nights I cringed when the telephone rang. As I reached to answer it, my heart pounded double-time in my chest and I wondered what new catastrophe would have to be addressed. My children moved through their grief as I offered loving support, knowing they needed to deal with the loss of their father in their own way, just as I did.
As my life evolved, grew and blossomed, I became someone different than I could ever have imagined. When Joseph was gone several years, I wrote a diary to myself as part of my healing process.
I wrote it over a period of time, and knew that other widows needed to read it, if only to be reassured there is hope even in the face of devastating loss. My story is very personal-emotions exposed and fear pushed out to the light.
I began dating after one year, and this was accompanied by guilt and the ultimate realization that I started too early. Dating again after 27 years felt foreign and my early experiences gave me something of a shock. We all grieve in our own way, but for me, the option to remain alone did not feel viable. At first I worried I may be betraying my husband's memory, but gradually I realized that opening myself to a new love doesn't diminish what I had with my first love.
I am a person who thrives on human relationships and loving someone, so while I hold dear the life we had shared, I also look forward to a loving partner to enhance my otherwise wonderful, full life. http://www.ajourneywelltaken.com
The Best Years of My Life
The next wonderful part was my marriage and subsequent birth of my three boys. Each moment of their births, respectively, is etched indelibly upon my memory. My oldest arrived two weeks early. A friend of my husband's said, "Oh, you'll go another week." I was determined it wouldn't be so, since I had labor pains all day. He arrived that night, 37 minutes after entering the hospital. He came out quiet, face blue, because the cord was wrapped twice around his neck. My husband, who was in the delivery room with each of our boys, didn't let out that bit of information until many years later. My oldest was dark haired and perfect, a little miniature human being. Always active and a handful, but a wonderful, compassionate person who turned 23 this year.
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