Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Grief work

Terence and his dog Cead, October 2011
 Lately, my days are quiet and lonely- filled with all the emotions related to grief and mourning; denial, loneliness, confusion, helplessness, guilt, anxiety, disappointment, anger, sadness, resentment, inadequacy, fear, envy, depression, pain, dread, bitterness, loss, anguish, dismay, sorrow, apathy, distrust, lack of emotions have been  intense, draining, and hard to hold back; they are tangled up inside of me and run deep. 

I am attending grief recovery groups a couple of times a week.  Seems like a valuable investment of my time.  There are several new widows and together we are simultaneously doing our grief work.  There are also several women who have been widows any where from 5 to 9 years that have never (until now) joined a group but had figured they could work through the mourning process alone...and they are stuck. In grief...THAT ALONE makes me want to make sure I give the grieving process it's due season- to attend to the sorrow and sadness; address the angry feelings and overcome all the fears.  The last place I want to be in 5 years is exactly where I'm at now.

 The only remedy for grief, is to grieve.

Grief is a journey and from what I've observed (in my few short weeks as a widow )- is that it can be perilous if you don't understand it's power and work through it.

Looking at this chart and evaluating my emotional state, I'm somewhere between the "Shock" and "feelings of loss" but transitioning into "needing to let go".

Sometimes I feel normal and think I am doing well then something happens. I received a phone call (insurance stuff) from a very nice but confused lady on the other end. It seems I filled out the form(s) in a rather confusing manner. To be honest, I don't even remember filling it out I've been so disoriented. "Did you get re-married?" she asks. "No----oh no, no, no....." says I. "Oh, okay-the 'married box' was checked"(I have difficulty dealing with that stupid box!)...she goes on; "Did he pass away this year?" .  "Yes....(what did I do now?)". I sighed. "I thought so" she said patiently- "but you marked down 2010"...and it went on;  'yes' instead of 'no's', wrong signatures or no signatures, a page missing... by the time she was done asking her questions I wondered how I even got that that thing mailed out. And I felt sorry for her!

I'm so disoriented.  I'm getting  my mail returned to me- it seems I am sending off the wrong checks/letters to the wrong address, or at least putting them in the wrong envelopes.  It's a crazy time, and boy do I miss Terence in the midst of all this.

Halloween parties at school today
Fortunately Terence was a very diligent husband and prepared me well for his absence.  We talked and prayed about everything; spiritual, emotional and financial which is providing me the freedom to grieve and not have unnecessary worries. 

My grief work is simple but not easy.  Here's my agenda for a typical day:
My days are spent trying to:
  •  greet the day (some days I can't).
  • accept the crying (most days I do).
  • deepen my faith (read my bible, go to church).
  • keep a journal (write, write,write!)
  • walk each day (even if it's just to the mailbox:)
  • surround myself with a support network (church, grief recovery groups,etc)
  • postpone some decisions (I already failed this one: I cut 20 inches of my hair off right after he passed away!)
  • live in the present (This is the most difficult for me, because Terence is not here in the present with me).
  • venture out alone (I have coffee or breakfast by myself, go the the library or shopping several times a day).
It sounds so simple, but living " intentionally" is so exhausting- and it takes a lot of thought and inner effort..........

Fortunately, the 'real grief work' that I do is not work at all.  I ultimately rest in the Lord.

 Come to me, all of you who are struggling and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

            "What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. 
All that we love deeply becomes a part of us" ~ Hellen Keller.