It’s very hard to write about grief while in the midst of it.
C.S. Lewis wrote his book on grief–A Grief Observed–while going through the process. He was a well established author by then, and there could be no other way to work it out for him. Joan Didon was also an established writer of some renown, though not as much as Jack, when she became a widow and began to write The Year of Magical Thinking. There are probably, literally, a million manuscripts, from before Abraham was born up to this day, on grieving but none is a “how to” book–because even in the time when women were to be seen and not heard, everyone understood that losing someone important to you, like a spouse or a child, is something so devastating that only God can ease the burden of it.
And that’s exactly what it feels like, honestly.
When Sam, my late husband died, it felt like I had lost the use of half of my body. I didn’t only feel alone, I felt incomplete. I was still present, still had all the use of my limbs and senses, but I felt as if I were a phantom–only partly in this world. People treated me differently too, as differently as if I had lost half of my body–which was another constant reminder of the loss.
With grief there is an indescribable pain–a phantom pain, that accompanies it and there is no “how to” book that can help you through it; no yoga, no workout routine, no mental gymnastics that can help you overcome, because every experience is different. That’s the way it has to be. Those people who have passed are unique. Your relationship with them was, and is, just as singular.
So… on Wednesdays, from now on, as part of the process of exploring grief and helping other people through it, I’m going to tell you my experiences with it and how I work it out. I’ll share how it affects and has affected my relationships with children, siblings, parents and other adults as much as I can, while respecting those who are still with me here on the earth. I’ll tell you how I tackled depression and suicidal thoughts–though there were times I wished I were dead, but wasn’t suicidal. The strange lack of fear for death that I had to struggle out of and many other experiences that I continue to manage as best I can as little reminders pop up, including the guilt of falling in love again, marrying again, and all that baggage I will be sharing with you.
I hope that I can address all of this in an orderly fashion that will be appropriate for a blog and later, a book. Please ask any questions you feel come to mind, or share your own experiences below.