Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Total Mass Confusion~

Quite frequently these days, as I begin my 3rd year without him, I find this particular quote sent to me, or posted on my timeline. Grief is a stage through which we pass and not a place to linger.  Okay, I get that. I even agree with it.  But it doesn't help me a damn bit to read it.   

We are told that grief is an individual process with no timeline.  But...it's a stage. Don't linger.  How do we know when we're lingering, is my question.  And even more so, when we're dealing with it in as many healthy ways as we can conceive, and the devastation remains present, how do we get from here to there? And anyways, aren't those two statements contradictory to each other?

I read a post today written by a woman offering life coaching, dealing specifically with widow support (the author is herself a widow), and she offered support in letting go of negative emotions such as sadness, loneliness, etc. Which sounds great on the surface but why are those necessarily negative emotions? Why are we as a culture so reluctant to give space to the darker emotions and recognize them as normal? Why must we march herd-like through life feeling only positive? Why are we pressured to move quickly through so-called negative emotions into the land of happy, happy, happy? Why must we always be tip-toeing through the fucking tulips? What about giving space to the darkness so that we can reach the fucking light?

You know what would be helpful in the midst of this confusion for me? If you're going to send me something about moving through grief, include step-by-step instructions as to how to do it. Don't just do a hit and run, along with a handy little tidbit about growing from grief or allowing it to destroy you.  Give me some solid shit I can hardwire into my brain and do. Because I will. I'll do whatever I need to do because I hate being this person I don't even recognize. Haven't recognized since the night my husband took his last breath.

This widowhood is the most confusing thing I've ever gone through. Ever.  I don't recommend it to anyone.

20 comments:

  1. Great post as always. I feel stuck in my grief. I am at the same timeline as you, and was married for a long time. I feel that I am making progress and say "ok, I can carry on", then get sucked back down into despair. You are right, I wouldn't wish this on anyone.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Alison, you nailed it again. June 21 will be four years since my husband died suddenly beside me of a heart attack in the middle of the night. As I was going to bed last night, I looked at a spot where my husband would leave his clothes before coming to bed and I started crying. I dreamed of him last night and woke up to more tears. Four years and I'm still devastated. I don't have words adequate to describe how much I miss him. Our couple friends are long gone and my daughters are busy with their own lives. I grieve alone missing my husband with every fiber of my being. I miss his gorgeous blue eyes looking at me with love; I miss his lips on mine; I miss the feeling of safety and protection with him beside me; I miss our holding each other; I miss the life we shared. No amount of time will ever stop the memories from flooding my soul. There is no timeline for grief. I know the missing him will never leave me. Half of me is gone. Karen

    ReplyDelete
  3. Alison I'll go ahead and say it....I don't agree with that quote. It isn't a "stage" and we don't "pass through it". I have come to see it as a lifelong companion. I don't want its companionship, but nevertheless it is a part of who I am. I was permanently altered the day my Tony died. My life and my children's lives will never be the same. Grief is just part of that. Some days it feels more in the background. Some days it occupies ever inch of the space in my head and the air around me. Maybe one day there will be other people or things sharing the space. But it will never go away. Personally, I refuse to buy in to the tidbits society puts out there unless they speak to me in a positive way. I wish there was a road map too, but given that there is not I just keep putting one foot in front of the other. I heard someone say "if you have to climb Mt. Everest you just keep taking it one day at a time, and one day you'll look around and find yourself on top of the mountain". Maybe I will or maybe I won't ever get there, but all I can do is keep walking. Hugs to you.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Please pass along those instructions if you get them! Your tiptoe through the fucking tulips comment did make me LOL! No one is happy all the damn time, unless they're extremely medicated.

    I did have a grief counselor tell me that you have to sit with the pain for a while because that's the only true way to heal, for with great love comes great pain and we only grieve for those we love. You should be on your way to embracing a new "normal" around the 2 year mark but even then, that's an average that's not set in stone.

    --Marissa

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you for expressing what's in my heart and in my rational head. It's a little over three years for me (for the two of us), and I know there will always be grief and a feeling of tremendous loss. Some of the grieving IS for that person we were before our loved one died.

    Carol M.

    ReplyDelete
  6. At almost four years, I continue to grieve and cry because of the sudden loss of my husband. We were together sixteen years. I grieve for the loss of the life we shared. I'm living day to day in some kind of existence so alone. I have new friends and family, but I'm still alone longing for his touch, his love, and our life together. I mourn the loss of me. I will never be the same again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. First time I have ever posted anything anywhere and have only just found this site. I, too lost my wonderful husband 4 years ago and I cannot find myself. I've had several sessions with therapists as they have labelled me as having an 'adjustment disorder'. Why is it a disorder? We were married for 35 years (I married Michael when I was 18) and we adored each other so who are they to say I can't adjust? I'd like to see them try. I will never stop loving and missing him and the pain and effort of having to keep going is exhausting. I really feel for you and hope you can find some peace. I have found a deep compassion for others in this same horrible situation and I wholeheartedly include you.

      Delete
    2. Hi Jackie. Widow's Voice has moved to a new location. Here's a link to where you'll now find all of the Widow's Voice blogs: http://www.soaringspirits.org/blog

      You may also wish to join us in Widowed Village: http://widowedvillage.org/

      Delete
  7. I think we all know that life isn't only about the positive. No timeline exists as anon above talks about, at least not in my world. Husband died 5 yrs ago, Mom the next, and here I sit watching my Dad as he is dying. Yes, love and grief go hand in hand, it is such a roller coaster as we age and watch those we love die. No tip toeing thru tulips for me this spring, hard to see the beauty in anything anymore. Thank you Allison, for broaching this topic. Your words always seem to be appropriate to where I'm at, wish it weren't so for all of us.

    ReplyDelete
  8. It's been 18 years since my husband died and this year more than any other year before was the saddest year. I don't know why and I really don't care, just know that you don't have to do anything, grief will come and go and hit you when you least expect it and if you want to be mad or sad you get to be mad or sad for as long as you like.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. PLEASE NOTE: We've moved our blog platform to our parent organization's (Soaring Spirits) website. You will find all the writers you love, as well as an archive of over 2,300 posts written by our team of widowed men and women, here:

      http://www.soaringspirits.org/blog

      Delete
    2. This might be the best description of grief and the difficult state of being a widow that I have ever read. Entering my 10th year, I still do not see a way to get through it; only to get used to it.

      Delete
    3. Our Widow's Voice blogs have moved to our Soaring Spirits website. Please join the conversation over there. Here's a link to it: http://www.soaringspirits.org/blog

      Delete
  9. Wow, thank you. You hit the nail right on the head.
    It's been 4 months, 13 days since I lost my husband of 31 years. It was kind of expected that he would pass before me (he was 22 years older than me) but he was fine that morning. So now my life sucks; I can't figure out how to do anything, I can't make choices. I keep pushing on by keeping busy and everyone says how great I'm doing - they so don't get it.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Widow's Voice has moved to the Soaring Spirits web site. You'll find Allison writing there each Wednesday. http://www.soaringspirits.org/blog

    ReplyDelete
  11. I know it's a cliche, but the grieving process really does seem to be a bit different for each of us. It has everything to do with the state and nature of your relationship with your spouse before death, the manner of death, and how you deal with distress in general. 6 months after my darling husband died at age 45 from a sudden illness, a close friend died of cancer and left a sweet husband and 2 young children behind. I was still stunned about losing my husband, but my friend's husband had been grieving with her for over a year before she passed, knowing it would not end well -- so he was in a very different place from me, further along in accepting their fate and more willing to move on. He also had kids to take care of, and I did not. We did find that sharing some of the weird, obnoxious things people said to us to make themselves feel better provided some dark humor laughter between us - a tiny bit of relief from all the grieving. Gotta get it where you can. 8 years later, I still miss my husband every day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. PLEASE NOTE: We've moved our blog platform to our parent organization's (Soaring Spirits) website. You will find all the writers you love, as well as an archive of over 2,300 posts written by our team of widowed men and women, here:

      http://www.soaringspirits.org/blog

      Delete
  12. I'm lingering in my grief, too. Year 3. His birthday is coming up this month for yet another "anniversary". Nobody celebrates these anniversaries with me, nor do they even mention it. Of course I linger...if family won't share the loss, then I will continue to linger.
    I must say, though, that my grief space is truly comfortable. It allows me to be myself...to vent, voice and write about my loss. Alone. Abandoned by family: his children, my sister, a couple of grandchildren. Don't they KNOW that I have had a great loss, too?
    I don't enjoy this "comfortable" place. It's my go to place when I'm overwhelmed by my "new" life. My life without my husband. My partner of 33 years. No time for goodbye...it was sudden and unexpected. Did it REALLY happen? I still find myself lost in the unreality of it--even after these past 2 years, 6 months and 21 days. Not that I'm counting.
    Perhaps it's not "lingering". Perhaps it is simply our own, individual, no rules, way of grieving. We make our own rules about our own grief. No one can tell me how to grieve or how long to grieve. Shame on them for trying to "fix" my grief.
    So, I cannot fix your lingering grief. I can only tell you that, although it sucks big time, I'm not yet ready to "move on" and let my grief roll into my past. Moving on is difficult enough without worrying about what anyone else might say or write about MY grief.
    I wouldn't wish this on anyone either...yet how good it is to be able to share here because we "get it".

    ReplyDelete
  13. PLEASE NOTE: We've moved our blog platform to our parent organization's (Soaring Spirits) website. You will find all the writers you love, as well as an archive of over 2,300 posts written by our team of widowed men and women, here:

    http://www.soaringspirits.org/blog

    ReplyDelete