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.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Grief Then and Now

When I first lost my husband (in the first year):

I couldn't believe it.
It felt like he was still here.
I didn't know how I would manage.
I couldn't feel anything.
I wondered where all my grief was.
I lost weight and only ate for sustenance.
I couldn't read books.
I couldn't watch movies.
I couldn't listen to music.
I needed my friends desperately.
I depended on the kindness of women.
I couldn't imagine being single and on my own. (even though I was).
I hated looking at children with their fathers.
I hated looking at wives with their husbands.
I wished I had more help with everything.
I felt terribly alone.
I felt terribly unlucky.
My bed was cold.
My hair became completely gray. (Ok, it was pretty gray before he died.)
I developed an obsession with on-line dating thinking that if I could only find a new husband and father for my children all would be well. (My daughter did not share this fantasy.)
I had the whole house painted.
My friend Amy took my living room down to the studs and exposed some brick.
I bought a new dog.
I worried obsessively about my children.
I worried about what would happen if I got sick. Who would be there for me?
I had to learn to make all the decisions.
I hired a professional organizer.
I gave away some of my dead husband's clothing to his friends and relatives.
I got fit.
I bought a new computer.
I worried obsessively about whether or not I should get a job.
I spent more time than I wanted to with financial planners, accountants and lawyers.
I thought about Ken's death in the abstract more than I allowed myself to think about him.
I was awed by the goodness, kindness and generosity of everyone who helped me, and developed a realization that we are not alone, and that all we need surrounds us if we are open to receive it.

Almost four years after losing my husband:

I feel resigned to the bad luck that found me.
I still feel envious of married women and intact families.
I miss Ken, the life we had, and the life I imagine we would have had.
I don't get as much pleasure out of traveling as I used to because I'm not a brave explorer without a companion.
I now have a GPS.
I am going through a phase of reading some of the many blogs written by others who have lost big. It comforts me.
I am forever changed and still changing.
I know that without the many women who have been there for me, and who continue to be there for me, I would be lost.
The sense of loss never leaves, ever; it only changes shape.
I can let go of smaller hurts, disappointments, fears, regrets, and anger much easier now.
I can appreciate the simple pleasure of being alive more.
I appreciate good health.
I appreciate the power of breathing.
I am proud of my strength.
I am renovating my basement.
I am on the school board of a small private school.
I am writing a book.
I am occasionally concerned that my children lost the better parent. (Although I will take some credit for being the longer lasting one.)
I hope I can find love again, but I'm not so sure I will. (In lieu of love I will take: a lifetime supply of good books, new friends, old friends, a reasonable supply of money, creative pursuits that engage me, a job that fulfills me, children who grow up to be happy and successful, a body that continues to support my desire to live well, a means to contribute to the greater good, friends that stick by me, friends who I stick by, a keypad, a pen, paper, a screen, a published book, a resurgence of journalism, a reason to laugh, running shoes, a yoga class, emotions under control, openness, and the willingness to let this untimely loss give me an opportunity we seldom get in this life after we become adults: to change, to become someone different, to realize that there are infinite ways to be, to think, to respond. A major loss rearranges you; might as well be open to a different shape.)

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I take comfort in the time that has lapsed since your husband died. Does that make any sense? Somehow, 4 years later, you're still standing. It gives me hope. This last entry shows me that while grief doesn't change, one's perspective does. Time does not heal, but it does let the grief evolve. You give me hope. Thank you for that gift.