I think we all feel “lost” and displaced in some way, and sometimes in all ways.
But, understand, feeling rootless and adrift after the person you love dies doesn’t mean you have to remain lost and unmoored forever.
I know that outliving the person you love isn’t easy. In truth, it’s easily the hardest thing I’ve ever been forced to do.
I remember many nights I stood in front of the stove unconsciously rocking myself, in an effort to become ‘present’, as I half-heartedly cooked dinner for my kids. All the while, I was desperately hoping I wouldn’t die from the aching in my Soul.
The good news is that I didn’t die from Mike’s death. However, from his death, I’ve learned that nothing in life remains constant. I learned nothing is so sacred that it is spared from ending.
When he died everything about my life changed in short order. I remember feeling completely and utterly disorientated. And, 2.5 years later, I remain dumbstruck by his death.
The days and months immediately following his death are a blur. At the time, I felt like I was having an out of body experience. I just could not comprehend that he really dues
I stood for hours surveying the mess that was left of my life. All our hopes and dreams were shattered into a million pieces – scattered all around me.
Instinctively, I wanted to “fix” my brokenness, but I didn’t know where to begin. At the time, I wasn’t aware that the places I was broken were not fixable. Ignorance was bliss in this regard.
Early on, I had no clue how to move forward; but, somehow, I knew I couldn’t stay still forever. I knew any momentum was better than being paralyzed by the fear of the unknown.
Mike’s death has forced change. And, these changes were unexpected and unwelcomed – at least initially. Accepting change is hard at the best of times; and while grieving change is especially challenging – albeit unavoidable.
In the beginning, grief suspends you in a type of paralysis where your mind becomes frozen; and, all decisions, both big and small, feel overwhelming. I think this happens because death shatters everything about the assumptive world and it takes a significant amount of time to accept that life isn’t fair.
However, I assure you, with time, and hard work you can and you will steady yourself. And, once you reestablish your bearings, it is possible to slowly regain your sense of self; and, with that, your self confidence.
Just recently, after nearly 2.5 years, I am finally beginning to feel more comfortable and confident in my new life.
Daily, I remind myself that I was independent and capable before Mike came into my life; and, since he has died, I’ve remained so. I now realize that I have retained much of my strength of character – in spite of – the trauma of his death.
Now, after many months of scrounging for direction, re-entering life seems possible and imperative for me. Now, I know for certain, that I do not want to merely exist.
I want to LIVE again.
I want to live fully and completely. And, from where I’m standing, there is nothing particularly optional about it. For me, living well – living with purpose – isn’t Option B.
Living a good life has always been the only option I have considered.
My Option B is Option BE.
When I finally chose to breathe life back into myself I recognized that I had the power, potential and capability to “BE” whoever I wanted. And, realizing this has made all the difference for me.
The beauty of rebuilding our broken selves is that we can BE who we want to become.
And, this is big, powerful stuff.
Addendum: This blog was tenderly written two years ago when my grief was a lot more consuming than it is now. These are words from the past, but they are worth a repost.
Since I wrote this, I have begun to earnestly reengage in life. Let me and the many others who walk this road with me be proof that grief can coexist with life. In fact, the next time I write my blog to you I will not be writing it from this home. Soon I will close the door to my house for the last time and I will find a new place to call home. I am living forward in spite my grief. My grief does not prevent me from living because I will not let it do this.
Over the years, I have worked incredibly hard to claw my way back to life. It was not easy, but it has been worth the effort. With time and lots of hard work, I carefully recreated my identity. I salvaged pieces of who I was from the wreckage of his death and I combined these shards of the old me with the woman who lives forward without him. And, after carefully piecing myself back together, I have come to really love the woman I am becoming; and, Mike would love her too. I am still many of the good things he loved about me; but I am also so much more now. His death made me a good student of life. I don’t know much, but I do know that I plan to live the heck out of the life I have. I hope you do the same.