Over the past 6 months or so I have started to realize how much more grief work I have to do. I think I went through a period where it felt like I had done it all. Not that I was “over it” or everything was better, but that I’d sort of worked through everything with therapy, groups, books, etc. Boy, was I wrong. Boris’s death, and all of the other losses that came along with it, plus the other death losses I have experienced and the declining health of my dad, they all still need care and attention. There are so many layers to all of it.
One of the new layers to my grief for Boris started revealing itself once the opportunity of a new relationship began to feel real. I think I have written about it before, but I had never dated anyone before Boris and this new person is the first person I have dated since Boris died. Everything feels new and different and scary. My brain and heart are trying to understand it all, which has resulted in a lot of vivid dreams and confusing feelings. And now, I am just starting to process and understand how much Boris’s death has subconsciously created a fear of abandonment and loss of people that I trust. Woof. I have so much more grief work to do!
I have also been attending a grief group that meets weekly. There is one other widow in the group and the other two people have lost a parent. It has been such a different experience to be in a therapist led group with all kinds of loss, and a range of age and gender mixed in the group. It also feels different because my loss was 5 years ago–the last time I did a group I was not even a year out from it. This group has helped me with my empathy toward others and their unique experiences with grief, and has helped me connect with other people who certainly have a different experience than mine but can relate to a lot of the same emotions and anxieties about life. I am glad I added this group to my grief work toolbox, even when it didn’t feel like I needed it just a short time ago.
Grief is so much work! It is so hard, and if you want to care for yourself and tend to your grief, you have to put in the work to move through it and be ready when extra layers and unexpected feelings arise.