Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A Step Up from Suffocation~

I reached a crisis point in my grief late last week.  It was as if all the agony and devastation that lingers right under my skin suddenly became the surface of my skin and I felt like a wild animal that howls its' pain to the night skies.

It didn't help that I'd been ill for almost a week, a vicious flu that tore up my body in every way possible.  Those moments of physical illness, of course, only exacerbate our alone-ness.  It came with a headache and vomiting and fever, chills, sweats...the whole shebang.  Chuck was so good at taking care of me whenever I'd get ill.  Which wasn't often, thank goodness, but I could count on him always.  And this time I was alone (in that I was without him).   Fortunately our son is nearby and he immediately came to lend assistance and support to me.

What happened in the process of this flu was that every bit of the grief that is the baseline to my life clawed its' way into my soul and I felt as if I were suffocating.  I couldn't stand any weight on me and tore my clothes off and found a pair of scissors and cut my hair to the scalp again, as I did right after Chuck died.  That provided a small bit of relief, temporarily.

And the first day that I felt halfway normal, I drove to nearby Luke AFB and their family advocacy center to inquire about counseling.  My hope was that they might point me in the direction of a grief counselor off-base but as it ended up, they took me immediately for an intake, which ordinarily lasts 20 minutes but this wonderful counselor gave me over an hour to emotionally vomit all that is in me.

Another appointment is scheduled for next week.  This grief of mine, this grief that so many of us must walk through, is too big for me alone.  Since reaching that crisis point, sadness consumes me.  Every breath I take is a reminder that Chuck is no longer with me, that I am without him.  It holds no meaning for me to hear that he wouldn't want me to feel this way.  No shit, is what I respond.  I'd rather not feel this way either, thank you very much.   Maybe discussing it with this counselor will make a difference for me.  She asked me directly if I believed myself to be clinically depressed and I answered no.  I'm just grieving normally and deeply.  And she didn't immediately reach for her pad to write a prescription.  Instead we spoke about Buddhism and Eastern spiritual practices, and Kubler-Ross and near-death studies and parallel universes and she didn't tell me I needed to exercise upon hearing of my woeful self-care.   She merely suggested that, as we go along,  I might like to take my soul out to refresh itself in the sun and in nature.

Both of us agreed that our meeting wasn't by chance but another example, perhaps, of Chuck sending necessary people into my life when I need them.  The odds on her being there that day, the odds of me just taking a chance on going over to the airbase in the first place to inquire about all lined up.

Somewhere in me I need to start not just believing, but taking that belief into my heart, that Chuck, who loved me so much in life, is still making sure I'm alright.

Maybe...I hope...oh, I hope...that I will indeed know that again at some point.  Maybe that will bring even a little ease to my shredded heart~


  1. Thank you for your honest writing, and good for you for actively seeking out the help you need now. Grief counseling helped me so much, and I hope you have a similar experience.

  2. So glad you are getting help, peaceful thoughts being sent your way. I read Widows Voice to help my widowed friend and I always get wonderful insight so that I can help her.

  3. I am grieved to hear of all the pain us widow's go through...I cannot talk about it or I go deep into a depression....then it hits me hard enough to knock me down . If you did not talk about would it be better? IDK just wondering...we all have our own path and each one is different....good luck and God bless you and keep you safe...

  4. Allison read 24 snow angels by diane dettmann. She also took a major crash at 18 or 19 months. Good read. I am at 19 and would be hopeless without the support of counseling. Hugs and prayers you are getting to fell better. Im in tucson nice weather also helps.

  5. oh Alison,

    the anguish you have expressed with such raw candor feels palpable through your words, through your actions as you endured such a hideous period of illness, alone in such grief and physical misery without your Chuck who always rendered such loving care. I could never have articulated as you have, even when I, too, felt the stultifying grief manifest out from my insides and onto every surface of my skin and my soul - the first time I was going through chemo alone. other cultures have their own ways of expressing those horrific grief stricken times - just like us when we wish we could follow our husbands to the grave. they keen out loudly, and rip their clothing, and smear ashes on their faces, and tear and claw at their bodies, and lay face down upon the earth - to say they cannot, do not wish, to live alone and bereft in the withoutness with the longing and hope that they, too, can sink below the surface of the earth. how I wished I could have done the same - it seems such an honest and organic demonstration and expression of widows' grief.

    I am glad you were able to recognize the crisis, and that you so wisely followed your gut to go the the AF base to seek help. and I, too, believe it was all meant to be, that your Chuck was there alongside of you to help get the care you needed. alone, but together - and with the extraordinary wisdom and kindness of the counselor who listened so acutely and provided hope for you, thank you, dear Alison, for sharing your story. i am sending you armfuls of gentle, warm hugs, and holding you up into the brightest light of all you are hoping for.

    much love,


  6. Thank You , I am not walking in your shoes but it is my greatest fear...How you describe your feelings is how I imagine I would feel if I lost my own husband. This kind of love is rare. I would like to invite you to come and stay with me in my home so you may let your soul rest in the sunshine of Petra Jordan. It is not a cure for the pain you feel by any means but it may be wonderful medicine.I have a wonderful husband and nice clean home and your welcome to come and see a different culture and try different foods and listen to a new language. Come and relax and enjoy the nature.....It is rare to find such a person as you and I would concider it an honor to have you as my guest. My name is Almarie and feel free to contact me any time of day or night. here is my cell phone number( 962) country do it ...come and let your soul enjoy the sun

  7. Feel free to send me a friend request on Face Book . I am under Almarie Calvert...... My profile has a head shot not a full body photo.