I think I'm confused. Am I actually doing better? Have I turned a very large corner? Is the worst of this hell actually behind me? Or is there no such thing as that being true? Am I about to set myself up for a ginormous fall? Like I said, I think I'm confused.
Last Sunday was the 3 year death anniversary. I wrote about it in here last week. I was in San Diego for Camp Widow. I watched the sunrise. I had a beautiful day and evening with some widowed friends, and I took the time to feel the beauty of the night and the sky around me, and to feel his love through music and lyrics, and how it still permeates everything around my heart. And then I waited. When the day was over, and when I woke up the next day, I waited for that inevitable "day after the important day grief hangover" thing that I always get. That delayed reaction of intense sorrow and unstoppable sobbing. I waited. It never came.
And so I came home, got back on the plane to NY, and unpacked and fit myself back into my own day-to-day life here. And then I waited. I waited for the inevitable "Camp Crash" that always happens whenever I get home from Camp Widow. I waited. It never came. Sure, there was some crying and I did go to sleep intensely missing him and feeling a bit of delayed reaction about the death anniversary, but it was subtle and quiet and didn't make much of a mark. I was able to feel it, and then still feel good afterwards. Nothing about this 3-year death anniversary devastated or destroyed me. There was no re-living of "that morning." There was no panic or anxiety. For the first time ever, it just simply didn't happen.
And now, almost two weeks later, I'm in a state of confusion and weirdness because I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. I am not used to feeling okay. I am not used to feeling a little more than okay. I am not used to feeling inspired and hopeful and like I can see a future that doesn't make me want to crawl into a hole and hide until the end of time. I am not used to this new state of "carefree" that I seem to be feeling lately. Part of me likes this new feeling, and I feel proud of myself for how far I have come. But a huge part of me doesn't trust it. What do I do with this? I don't know how to hold these feelings. I am not familiar with how they operate. And I keep fearing that maybe it is all a big dream of some kind, and when I wake up, I will be back to that terrified, hopeless, joyless person - marking time and moving around earth like a robot.
How do you know when you've made tremendous progress? How do you know when it's real, and when you've turned a corner, or walked down a different hallway altogether? How do you know that it's not a lie, and that you just think you are maybe coming into a new place in this grief and loss, but that in reality, it's just one of those "5 steps forward, 3 steps back" type of moments? How do I know?
I think I'm confused.
Unfortunately, grief is a bit like a horror film, it surprises you when you least expect it. Waiting for the other shoe to drop is a bit like the dread of an upcoming anniversary being worse than the anniversary.ReplyDelete
I think one indicator of moving forward, I won't say healing, is not using "we" in every other sentence. I have finally gotten to the point where I can talk with someone for an extended period without using we. I think that is a positive step forward. I haven't forgotten Laura, but she is no longer a large part of my external language.
For me it's visual, and a gut check. Whenever I see pictures or mementos now my stomach doesn't react. I do not have the warm, nostalgic feelings that would bring on loneliness and tears. Activities start to be fun alone; that constant "I wish someone was holding my hand". is not in my thoughts.ReplyDelete
I found myself in the same place that you describe earlier this year Kelley, and I too did not know what to do with it. For me it was awakening to a state of sincere happiness sometime after the third anniversary of her passing. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop as well, but it just hasn't happened. There are still challenges of course, and struggles, but there has been a lot of healing, and it seems that the worst part of widowhood is now behind me. I hope that it is for you too. Thanks for sharing :-)ReplyDelete
Thank you Glenn. Its so weird, because this "new" feeling seems to have happened so suddenly. Like, within maybe a month or two, I just feel different. Healthier. Lighter. I dont know. I think my brain might take awhile to catch up with what is actually happening here. Im still sort of in awe by it.Delete
though we never know if the other shoe will drop, we can still believe - "if I have managed to have this kind of peace, this sort of happiness, no matter what, I know I can have it again." it's scary and I love how you express not knowing how to hold the feelings - different, healthier, lighter. go ahead, be awed with it, live it, breathe it, all that you have worked through so hard over the last 3 years. you will figure out how they operate. and know that you are not alone - if you should have a set-back you have an amazing community filled with people who love you dearly and are so appreciative of you telling your story and we will be here for you.
Hi Kelley Lynn, I am three years out as well. I feel the same way you do. When I feel happy or good now it seems a little odd. I am getting used to and am going to enjoy it. I have attended all three of the Camp Widow East conferences. Maybe there can be a roundtable discussion in Tampa about adjusting to and accepting the happiness that is coming back into our lives. I did not expereince the Camp Crash this time either. I was a little sad, but it wasn't a full blown melt down.ReplyDelete
Thanks again for sharing,