I wrote the following blog about three years ago. I have been thinking a lot since Janine's last post about the difference between those of us who are further along the path, and the those who have just started traveling this widowed road. If I read the words I have shared with you below six months after Phil died, I wonder if I would have been repulsed? Would I have kept reading to the end? Would I have needed to review that very first line more than once to be sure I read the words correctly? Probably.
But there is one thing that I know would have kept me reading with a fairly open mind...trust. If I trusted the person writing the blog, I would have at least been willing to consider the ideas presented. Today I want to thank you for trusting us. We blog here because we care about you, even though we have likely never met. This space was created to provide YOU with a large variety of points of view and many ways of looking at the challenges widowed people face. We each write from our hearts, hoping to encourage you, and assure you that you are not alone, especially when you feel you must be the ONLY crazy widowed person in the world. You aren't.
As the editor of this blog, I know that you won't connect with every post written, but I do hope that every blog shared reminds you that this space is here for you day after day, month after month, year after year to prove that people survive widowhood...even when they don't believe they can or will. We are surviving, and you are, too. Step by reluctant step we make our way forward into a future that we didn't plan for, but one that belongs to us nonetheless. Together our blog team paints a picture of what has been; what is; and what can be...we believe in love that never dies and in joy that returns again and again. Here is my post. I won't be offended at all if you think I have lost my mind ;)
Some days I hate grief, and other days I miss her. I have discovered a safe place in her arms, though her twisting, turning path won't allow me to be still for long. Her presence has added a soft cadence to my day-to-day life that I have come to rely on as confirmation that I am, indeed, alive. The irony of this does not escape me. I have realized that in my mind grief has replaced Phil, and that my fear of letting him go has created a relationship with grief I could never have anticipated. I am beginning to believe that this is why grief comes in waves.
If grief was linear and we could walk from one stage into the next, there would likely be large numbers of grieving people with severe stage fright. I would be terrified if someone were able to provide me with a grief graduation date. Instead, grief throws us from one phase to the next, with no predictable pattern or discernible course. Like a boxer who learns to fight on their feet, our tortured, grieving selves wheel from one moment to the next watching for the inevitable gut punch. And slowly, painfully we become stronger, faster, and more confident each time we are forced into the ring. That doesn't mean we won't hit the mat or that we won't be tempted to stay down for the count...but somehow our spirits find the will to fight one more time.
Grief holds the towel as we come out of the ring. Grief bandages our wounds and then sends us to face the opponent called death, again and again. Grief stands behind the stool in our corner and insists we go another round. There is a saying that speaks to the concept that some friends come into our lives for a purpose, but do not stay long. I am beginning to think of grief as a friend who will come and go from my life. She will show me how to survive in the ring of sorrow, and then leave me with these hard earned knocks hoping they teach me something about living courageously. Grief will also point out that she is not Phil and that he is not her. He exists in a separate, and timeless, place that she does not inhabit. Grief is wise. And eventually I must let her go, knowing that when she resurfaces, sometime down the road, I will know the sound of her step and turn to greet her as a friend.