Phrases I have come to hate.
“Time heals all wounds.”
“Give it time.”
“Death is a part of life.”
“The pain will eventually go away.”
“Just let it go.”
“Have you thought about taking up a new hobby?”
These things are said with the best of intentions. But it’s also said the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
It’s a sad Catch-22.
The loss of a loved one is a difficult time, even for those who care about you and want to reach out and let you know you’re on their minds and hearts. Communicating those feelings can be awkward and misunderstood… especially when the person who suffered the loss is in a downward spiral.
It was only days after losing my husband that I began to pull away from people, more so for their sake than my own. I felt guilty as they stumbled over words, trying to find the right ones. I’d smile, thank them, and say I was fine.
But I wasn’t, and I didn’t realize at the time the harm I was doing to myself.
Before she returned home, my daughter found an online support group for me. I wandered in one night and found a long-time member I’ll call Millie.
Well into her eighties, Millie joined the group after losing her husband of more than fifty years. She said she was a retired elementary school teacher, but I believe she would have made a great prison warden! When Millie spoke, you listened, end of story.
I got more insight into myself and the grief journey that night than I’d thought possible.
Millie told me to: stop letting people off the hook, stop apologizing, stop hiding my true feelings.
We talked for hours, but in the end, she made me see all I had to do was BE. Happy, sad, angry, confused… it didn’t matter. Instead of suppressing feelings and emotions, I should just follow them to wherever they took. I didn’t owe anyone anything. This was my personal journey and I had to travel it the best way I could, and that didn’t include hiding from others or myself.
That twenty months ago, and while I have had some huge, horrible bumps in the road, when I allow myself to simply BE, I always find my way again.
On May 30, 2019, I lost Dennis, my husband of over thirty-five years. Ten short weeks later on August 18, 2019, I lost my eighty-four-year-old mother. My grief journey has not been an easy one. While we know grief has five stages, there are many situations and feelings some bereaved never get to express, and I’m using my first AtoZ Challenge to say things I’ve never been able to give voice to. I hope you’ll follow my journey.
Image by Larisa Koshkina from Pixabay