Slowly Finding My Way
People keep telling me that this grieving process is personal. “Everyone grieves in their own way” is the phrase I keep hearing.
While I appreciate the ability to find my own way and not have to try to fit into someone else’s pre-designed box, there are some days it would be really nice to just look at a list and say, “OK, today I’m supposed to feel like this and these are the things I need to do in order to feel better.” Unfortunately there isn’t a list for us to follow to relieve the pain and hollow feeling.
What has helped me so far are these things:
- Friends who call and invite me out for something to drink or eat. It hasn’t been fancy, but fancy is not what I need. Getting out of the house and being with others has been critical for my sanity.
- People who send me an e-mail and ask what the kids and I are up to and how we’re moving forward. They allow me to vent the day’s issues – and still love me.
- A visit to Bill’s grave site on a beautiful day. While I don’t believe that is the only place I can be with him (I believe his spirit is always there with us), it felt good to be in a place where I could talk to him, have a good cry and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.
- Singing with my church group Emmaus. First, the members of this group are as much family to me as those I grew up with and being with them to sing our Lord’s praises feels so right. Additionally, the words we are singing so often capture the emotions I’m experiencing, as well as the words of encouragement and support I need to hear.
- Writing whenever the mood hits me. Remember those e-mails I mentioned before? I’m sure the friends and family who sent them probably didn’t expect the long responses they received, but writing them was cathartic for me. I also received a handmade journal from a dear friend at the same time that a grief expert I heard suggested that those of us who write should write. The expert also suggested that we go back and remember stories/experiences about the one who had died. That journal will be a place my kids and grandkids can find stories about Bill so they can have a better understanding of their dad and grandpa.
- Sharing and hearing stories about Bill. Hearing how Bill touched other people brings me joy. Some people aren’t sure if they should mention Bill’s name because they don’t want to hurt me. Acting as if Bill didn’t exist would be hurtful – telling stories honors his life and makes me smile.
These things are what are helping me find my way to my new reality. There are many days that I feel like this is all a really bad dream that I will wake up from and hope to forget. This was my worst nightmare for so many years as Bill’s health deteriorated. But this is my reality. And, slowly, I’m moving forward.
This article also helped me feel better about how I’m dealing with my new reality: http://palmbeachgardens.floridaweekly.com/news/2012-11-08/Healthy_Living/No_two_people_grieve_the_same_way_but_there_are_th.html
I’m hoping that sharing my experience not only helps me, but helps others who are in the same, difficult situation.