We write about widowhood as we live it. Together we examine the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of life as a widowed person. The views expressed here are those held by each individual author. We take no credit for their brillance; we just provide them with a forum for expressing their widowed journey in words that are uniquely their own.
It still shocks me how totally ignorant
I was about the grieving process before having to go through it myself. I've
been at this for ten months, as of today, and I still don't really understand
it. All I know is one minute I can be laughing at a joke; or smiling at
strangers as I walk down the street; or excitedly making plans for a holiday;
or wrestling and giggling with my nephews ... and the next minute I can hardly
breathe from the pain of missing him.
I honestly can't remember the last day I
didn't cry. Sometimes it's only for two minutes, other days it takes two hours
before I can pull myself together.I’m having
a lot of those days again lately, which is so exhausting.
I also realized this week I’ve been pretending to be doing better than I actually am, even with really close
friends, because I'm aware that if I let show how much I'm constantly hurting, people may grow weary of hearing about it.I mean, I'm so bored of my grief, of course I expect everyone else is too. Friends reassure me that they’re
not, and I should continue to share and seek support. And I do, particularly on the really tough
days. But on some level, every day is a
difficult day and despite their best intentions, I know that if I constantly
moaned to my friends about how sad I am and how much I miss my husband, the
running commentary would drive them crazy.
Last weekend I helped pull off of a
surprise 35th birthday party for one of my closest friends and also co-hosted
another dear friend’s baby shower.Both
took a huge emotional toll on me. The surprise party was full of couples who,
for some reason, kept bloody talking about their engagements and weddings (which lead to me having a private breakdown in the kitchen mid-party), while the baby shower was,
not-surprisingly, also very confronting.
By the end of the weekend the emotional
hang-over was in full swing and I have struggled to get back on top all
week.Even though I chose to be there, to support people who have been so supportive of me, I think I pushed myself a bit too hard.I’m finding it so difficult to strike that
healthy balance between self-care and continuing to participate with life.
My friends tell me to be open with my
emotions and never to feel like I have to be brave in front of them, but can
you imagine if I spent both events ‘sharing’ how much I was struggling?What a party-pooper!Sometimes I’m just forced to keep the ‘I’m
ok’ face on because, as wonderful as my friends are, there are moments where I
need to protect them from the pain I’m feeling.
At ten months I think people may have
started to expect me to be doing ‘ok’ more days that not.Even worse, I’m putting that expectation onto
myself, then taking it really badly when I ‘fail’.I know it hurts them to see me in pain and
they miss the ‘old Bec’ but I also know they understand and accept my grief and
would do anything to try and help me get through this.No one is putting pressure on me – I’m
putting pressure on myself, but I have to accept there are always going to be moments where I’m just going to have to put that brave face back on.
So this week I’m going back to
basics.I’m reminded myself that this
pain will never fully go away, I'll just get better at carrying it. I need to
tune in to my instincts more and identify when I need to rest and when I can
push out of my comfort zone.And I’m
going to stop putting so much pressure on myself to understand my grief and
conquer it.After all, how can I expect
people around me not to question why I'm not 'coping better' yet if I can't let go
of that expectation myself.