A new year is come. What do you hope for in your grief journey? That you won’t cry as much? That the weight that sits on your chest becomes lighter? That the constant exhaustion converts into a bit of energy? I hope for these things for you also.
For those who are further along in the pain of their grief journey, perhaps you can look back and think how it feels to have made some shifts toward healing.
The emptiness and longing may still be there for quite a long time, and for some forever. However, that does not mean that healing in other area can’t take place. This then translates to overall strength or compassion (for self and others), or peace.
My motto is, “You get used to everything whether you want to or not.” Your life accommodates to your grief. It becomes part of the fabric of who you are.
A woman who attended my Widow’s Group several years ago wrote about her grief journey. Remember that everyone has their own unique journey, however there are some similarities to everyone’s pain and eventual healing. Thanks for sharing, Alix.
When you experience a life-altering event it can be unbearable to handle and accept, until you are ready. That life- altering event for me was the night my husband of 40 years grasped his hand to his chest and died right in front of me. Sudden death is an event that is very difficult to process, and actually, you don’t really, for a very long time. You let out little bits of it, to keep it real, but you quickly retreat to an easier place to be. For me, it was sharing my new life as a single woman with my friends and traveling with them to far reaching places in the world. Only then could I breath easier. However, when I would come back home, and usually on the plane as we were approaching LAX, the anxiousness and sadness in me, always simmering inside me, would bubble up.
My adult children, who also experienced the shock of losing their father, were grieving too, each in their own way. With families of their own, they could not afford the luxury I had to escape through travel. It was, however, difficult for them to understand me, and my grieving process. I chose to shelter them from the huge sadness that sat like a heavy weight on my chest and heart, every day and night. They saw me choosing joy instead of wallowing in my loss. I wanted to inspire them, to show them how to handle all this, to let them know I will be fine, that I would not be a burden to them. And I would be there if and when they needed me.
Just like letting the steam out slowing from the pressure cooker my mom used to use on top the stove, little by little, I let my ache for the life I had and the longing for the man I loved, seep out. Slowly, as to not overwhelm me; carefully and sometimes surprisingly, at times when I couldn’t hold the tears back. The cry was always the same; deep and intense. Gratefully, it didn’t last long those moments, and I always felt better after. Nature is pretty wonderful. If you can’t handle trauma, then she leaves it in a tight box inside you until you are ready to process it. In my own way, that is what I did….and perhaps I am no different from anyone else who has experienced any sort of trauma in their life. Talking about it has helped me. Writing about it has soothed me. Sharing with it has eased my pain.
And then one day, I was fortunate enough to meet a man who wanted to meet me half way. I heard of his pain, and he listened to my stories. To be loved again and yet not leave my sorrow, stories, and sadness in the box, opened my heart. I had already accepted that joy was mine for the taking. But now, I felt joy and love with someone new in my life. Someone who says YES to as many new things as I do. Regardless of where our roads will eventually lead, we are on the same path of discovery today. What we have discovered is that we are not too old to feel the excitement of new love and perhaps, a future together.