I feel so fearless in these post grieving days. I feel taller, stronger, more self-contained. The intense sadness left me in this past year, left me alone with what's left of my life, left me alone with a whole new not improved but stripped back life, and amazingly, incredibly, I'm finding that it is enough. It's good. I'm happy to be here. I'm so happy to be here to be able to be a mother and a writer and a friend and a homeowner and a gardener and a traveller and a whole list of other words that describe experiences that I can have and roles I can play.
Five years ago, four years ago, three years ago, two years ago, I couldn't imagine feeling this way, I COULD NOT IMAGINE ever feeling good about life again back when I lost Ken, but one year ago the pain lifted and under it was a more grateful, less anxious, happier me who finds that I need less to be satisfied. I don't know...there's not much to fear anymore after the worst has happened and you've survived. I don't feel sorry for myself anymore. I feel sorry for my husband who died way too young and misses what goes on around here everyday. I feel sorry for people who are sick and struggling and in pain. But me? I'm happy to be alive.
In the back of my mind, I know that this pleasing state I'm in can change in an instant, but until it does, I'm enjoying myself.
So I decided a year ago when the despair miraculously (or should I say, after a whole lot of the hardest work I've ever done to swim through the muck of pain) lifted, I decided that I would just enjoy a year of feeling good. I'd revel in it. Embrace it. Treasure it. I took my kids to New Zealand, continued writing, started a new relationship, embarked on a major home renovation. It's been a very good year.
And OK, you can shoot me, you can call me a Pollyanna or a freak or some kind of deluded chick on happy pills, but I think my life is going to get even better in this next year and here's why:
I am finding work that I love to do, work that doesn't feel like work, that I believe can really cause positive change in the world. It's nothing huge and impressive, but in this last year I've found two different volunteer gigs that I believe in completely. And what this tells me is that even though a part of me died when Ken died, (perhaps it was the part that believed in safety and security and fairytale endings) there is a new part of me growing today. It's reaching and extending into new worlds. I don't know where I'd be today if Ken were still alive, I don't know what I'd be doing or how satisfied I'd be feeling with my life. But I know that even though he left me cut and broken or maybe even because he did, from that place a flower is growing. It's just a flower. But it's pretty and I like it.
He was such a good man. I wish he could see me feeling better again.
Before I felt better, I went through a stage of feeling guilty about feeling better. Better is better without the guilt.
Are you lucky enough or have you travelled far enough to feel better after loss? Or do you feel like you'll never feel good again? Do you feel better but have a hard time admitting it because it feels disloyal to the one who died?
Take 5 minutes and write on the topic of feeling better...whether you do or not.
- Jill Schacter
- My wonderful husband died when I was 44 years old. Being widowed this young happens to less than 3% of married people. Writing through this loss one word at time helps me understand what I've lost and helps me continue to grow. It is how I have gradually recovered from such a severe loss. Research shows that you can benefit from taking just 15 minutes a day to write out your deepest feelings as a way of healing. On the right side of this blog, you'll see a tag for Exercises to Try. If you need some help knowing how to use writing to help heal yourself, I suggest you start there.