As a new widow (that word sounds strange and startling) I have had many new insights. In my work in end of life, the focus has been on approaching death. Grief has been an afterthought, not a primary issue. With Jack’s death, I know how powerful grief is.
Emotionally, now a month after Jack’s death, I am still kind of numb. I haven’t cried since his death. The tears are generally behind my eyes. I can feel them but can’t or won’t let them out.
I am not my gentle, understanding self. I am impatient. I am not necessarily being sociable or even being polite. I am sharp and edgy. That is not who I consider myself to be.
Little things I never thought of before have come to light. Who do you talk to when you get up in the morning? Baxter, my cat, gets my words. Who do you eat with, sit at the table with, watch TV with? No one other than Baxter.
How do you go to bed at night? Close the door to the bedroom? Lock the bedroom door? Leave a light on?
For 65 years, Jack has been in my life. He was part of everything and I didn’t even realize it. Not only did he help shape who I have become, but more importantly, he filled my days and nights. He was part of my every day. And now he is not.
Now I am feeding the birds, squirrels and his fish. Now I am restocking the toilet paper, emptying the trash, and emptying the dishwasher – all his chores.
Now I have to learn how to be a widow. How to create a new life, a new way of being. I am truly alone. Yes, family and friends are amazing, comforting, and oh so necessary, but when everyone has gone home I am alone – except for Baxter cat.
I am sharing this walk in my shoes with you in a blog because, having known the intellectual side of grief from my decades of work, I now know the emotional side of grief. That part of grief no one can know until they personally lose someone close to them.
My hope in sharing these personal thoughts is that those of you who are grieving can find yourself in my experiences. I hope you see the normalness of your own thoughts and feelings.
Something More… about The Part of Grief You Don’t Know — Until You Do
If you, or someone you know is grieving, I have a booklet that can provide some salve- My Friend, I Care: The Grief Experience. This booklet provides gentle guidance through the normal stages of grief and offers suggestions for moving forward into a meaningful life. It is part of the discounted End of Life Guideline Series of booklets.
Here’s a review for My Friend, I Care: The Grief Experience–