About Me

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.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Respect Your Loss

It can be easy to find oneself lost in grief. Maybe it's even necessary at times to disappear into it altogether. If the magnitude of your loss is big enough, I think it's fair to say we might owe it to ourselves to give over to it for a time.

Let's look at the opposite of grief. What if I was newly fallen in love, or attained an important goal, or succeeded in accomplishing a great career move, or bought a piece of land to fulfill a long-held dream, or finally found myself a published (and critically successful) author? I would allow myself, and others would understand if I gave myself over to my newfound joys.

Don't our losses deserve the same kind of honor and attention? Turning our back on them too early before we've integrated their meaning can leave us cut off from important parts of ourselves.  It's natural to want to celebrate a win, but losses ask for our respect too. They are just as much a part of a life well-lived.

I think I might hear an objection. Are you wondering what good it does to dwell on difficulty? I am not asking you to dwell or to feel sorry for yourself. The request is to take a very small amount of time each day to reflect on what you have lost. If you are willing to do this, I believe that instead of being diminished by your loss, you will give yourself the insight to grow from it. You will fully realize the strength and power that can be released when you honor loss as much as you honor success.

Here's a question to ask yourself: How can I honor my loss? Spend a few minutes answering this question and see where it takes you.

I will honor my loss by not turning my back on it.

I will honor my loss by using the wisdom I've gained.

I will honor my loss by writing about it.

I will honor my loss by saluting my strength in surviving the loss of my husband and the father of my two young children.

I will honor my loss by trusting myself to take care of my family.

I will honor my loss by using it to help others as I write my way through it word by word.

Surviving your loss:
The most impressive
feat of bravery
I've ever achieved.
Neither willing nor ready
Not prepared or experienced.
Kicked, shoved, beaten down
to the hard, concrete bottom
of the base truth: one life is over.
Slept fitfully or not at all
on the cold, empty floor 
where I owned it all in disbelief.
Awoke to the sound of my own words:
I am still here,
ready, willing.


Unknown said...

xoxoxoxooxox. liz

Abigail said...

Really beautiful post. Thanks for commenting on my blog. I am going to add you to my blog roll... can't wait for more!

Unknown said...

Jill, your post is wonderful. It is good to hear you working through this and sharing. It is uplifting.

TamaraH said...

Such wisdom you share. I am honored to have been able to read such an uplifting post. May I share your blog with my Young Widow Support Group? We meet every Wednesday night and are all under age 50.