Thursday, July 24, 2014

More thoughts on grief...
"The Five Stages of Grief," theorized by Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, is not a checklist. One does not neatly complete a phase before entering the next.  Not everyone experiences denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I would characterize grief as a twisting, turning roller coaster ride with lots of climbs and sudden vertical drops. Throw in some rapid fire ambushes and long tracks of guilt and you have a pretty clear picture! There is no plodding through each phase; one moment I'm sure I've come to grips with the permanency of Rob's death and the next, I'm shaking my head in despair, reminding myself that he is really, really gone.  One day, I can laugh, the next, I must force myself to get out of bed.

Loneliness is greatest when I sense that everyone else has moved on.   I'm still in the "talk about him like he's in the next room" phase, but I forget that not everyone is so comfortable with (or interested in) keeping him in the present. But seriously, how do I bury the "we" when that's all I have ever known? I find myself retreating more and more; perhaps, it's just easier.    The greatest gift someone can give me or anyone else who has lost a loved one is the chance to remember out loud...hand's down.  

Yearning for a loved one is a healthy part of grief work, but it physically hurts... a lot!  And I'm not sure how long it can be considered normal. The same with the intense need to remember...
Sometimes I feel stuck; how many times can I look at the same photos, palm his worn wallet, smell the last pajamas he wore, before I worry I will never heal?  The nights are the worst! The long, endless nights...

Who am I? Finding a new identity is a complicated process. How do I convince others that the "old me" is forever changed?  How do I convince them that I have lost my spouse, not my brain? 

People are not mind readers.  They say and do out of love and concern and yes, awkwardness; I must express my needs and the things I'm not ready to enjoy. I'm learning that honesty is sometimes misunderstood, but I must re-enter at my own pace.

Grief keeps me running toward Jesus. I refuse to run away!

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