Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Worried About Lack of Emotion?---Kelly's Story

I'm so glad Kelly shared the following incident. Sometimes I privately hear from widows who worry because they're not falling apart! Kelly has some good insights to share. And we'd love to hear from you. Have you been surprised by the emotions of grief too? Click the comment line below and chip right in.
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Thought I'd say something about my trip back to my old house. For those who don't know, John died in March 2009. But I just recently moved to Phoenix. I have a new apartment, a new job, and yes - a new life. I went back to hang out with my soon-to-be 19 year old son, Matthew, and to pick up a few things. He's staying in the house until he can find reliable roommates and save the money to move out. Then I'll list if for sale.

I'm mentioning this because...well, it's complicated. Because I took all the living room furniture, Matthew moved all the den furniture (couch, loveseat, sofa table, coffee table and two end-tables) into the living room, setting up his own little man-cave. It's actually pretty cool. My bedroom is completely empty, as is my eldest son's.  

When I was driving up the road, I expected to get emotional, because this was the house John and I lived in our entire 27 year marriage. But there was...nothing. When I walked into the house and it was completely re-arranged, there was...nothing. (Except amusement - the place looked like a man-cave. LOL) When I opened the door to my completely empty bedroom...nothing.

This may shock some of you, my complete lack of emotion at things that may have reduced you to tears. But we must be careful - and this is what this page is all about - we must try very hard to not judge each other's grief journey based on OUR grief journey. I confess - I have been guilty of this at times. But we all lost our spouses/fiances/soul-mates in different ways. Some may have died suddenly, or after a long (or short) illness. Some of us (like me) were the primary care-giver to a spouse with a chronic illness, and in our hearts we knew it would not end well. In cases like that, we may have done a certain amount of "pre-grieving", which somehow made things...shall I even dare to say it...easier for us after our spouse's death.

So...if some of you are worried about NOT feeling sad or devastated, thinking that it means there is something "wrong" with your grieving...don't beat yourself up. Your grief journey is yours and yours alone. We can rejoice with those among us who have been able to find new love, maybe even a new spouse, and we can also lift up those who are still feeling lost and alone, no matter how long it's been since their loss.

May Christ's peace be with you all. Kelly.

10 comments:

  1. Kelly said: "Some of us (like me) were the primary care-giver to a spouse with a chronic illness, and in our hearts we knew it would not end well. In cases like that, we may have done a certain amount of "pre-grieving", which somehow made things...shall I even dare to say it...easier for us after our spouse's death."

    Kelly, thank you for daring to say that. I too was a caregiver with the help of hospice to my husband who suffered 7 months with brain cancer and I too knew it would not end well. I held onto that small glimmer of hope, but I knew in my heart that the turbulent waters we were in would eventually become peaceful shores. My grieving did begin when he was ill and espcially when he was on life support. Yes I've cried and had waterfalls happen in the middle of a store, but I am now into 5 months of him being gone and am too experiencing not feeling so down,trying to live life to the fullest. And making myself not feel guilty of being happy, and going out with friends for an evening of laughter and conversations. I just wish family and friends could understand this as they think you are to wear black, hang your head low and be mopey. But I know this is not what he would have wanted me to do; he as well as the Lord would want me to enjoy life, have fond memories of our time together and go on. Thank You for being bold and sharing. In His Love, Deborah

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  2. It's interesting to read about other widow's grief journey. Each of us are different and I try not to judge how another widow grieves. I have learned so much from other widows and am sure there is more to learn.

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  3. Very well put, Kelly...our grief journey is as unique as we all are one of a kind. I am reminded of the scripture in I Thessalonians 4:13 that was comforting to me. Yet, the bond I have experienced with other widows is so strong, I can say without reservation, I have certainly learned a lot from each one I meet.

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  4. Yes, grieving is our own separate journey. When you are a caregiver, you do grieve before the actual death. I knew 20 months before my husband died by looking at a picture of him and my daughter. When I realized he was sick and going to die, I immediately started grieving. He will be gone 2 years on March 15th. It is still hard at times, but I am getting better. I just made a batch of homemade fudge for sweetheart's day that was his favorite and I made it just for him. That lets me know that I am truly healing. There are still some very hard days, but not like it use to be. I still cry and tell him I miss him and I do. God's blessings on each of you. :)

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  5. It is very frustrating for me to hear about family and friends who expect the sackcloth and ashes routine. I hope everyone who read this will find it easier to allow themselves to feel happy and NOT feel guilty about the free time you may now have. I know John would NOT want me to sit at home. When we were married, we loved going to movies and to dinner with friends -I know for a fact he would not want me to give that up! If there's no one handy to go with me, I go by myself. I talk to people in the movie theater, take a book with me if I go out for a meal, and talk to my waiter/waitress. Give yourself permission to live your life. Your husband would want you to, and God certainly wants you to feel His joy and His peace.

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  6. Thank you so much, Kelly. Your story is so helpful to me as I'm trying to deal with a current situation with grace. I gain so much wisdom from reading about how other widows are managing their lives. Blessings.

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  7. Thanks for above comments. Surely all us widows are unique individuals with unique circumstances. I would like to believe that much as there were so many loved husbands who passed away on 18th march 2012 around 7am on a Sunday, thats the date my husband went to glory. There is no single woman who is like me, whose name is Gertrude, who comes from Malawi, who is a palliative nurse in Marie curie Hospice In glasgow Scotland, who has two teenagers and a toddler, who believed despite having vast experience in the care of dying; her husband can come back to life. i am sorry to say in my head i had the saying miracles do happen and they can happen to my husband for him to come back to life after so many days. I would like to believe that there are widows out there who had the same belief as mine despite being carers. The illness of their husbands did not prepare them for the grief they are going through today.
    For people not understanding us do not mind them much as it difficult not to mind them. We cannot plese people. Wether you wear sack clothes for the rest of your life they will judge you anyway, for the days God helps you to be happy they will judge you anyway, for the days you break and melt down during the whole church service, they will judge you anyway, wether you remarry or stay single they will find something to say anyway.
    My resolve, is to actively grieve when i feel that way, go out with friends if i feel that way.
    Every now and then i take every broken piece of my life and surrender it to God because I try to believe that this broken piece of my life might be useless in my hands but yet a very significant part of my life in Gods hands after all He is the potter I am the clay. Dont get me wrong it was a big struggle for me to do this But with the Support of Candy, I picked these broken pieces of my life anbd decided to bring them to God one by one

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  8. So true, Gertrude!--"Every now and then i take every broken piece of my life and surrender it to God because I try to believe that this broken piece of my life might be useless in my hands but yet a very significant part of my life in Gods hands after all He is the potter I am the clay"
    Whether we are sad or happy, people will not understand, but we bring the broken pieces to God and He will create something new. I'm so glad my friend Candy has walked with you through this. http://reflectionsfrommyporchswing.wordpress.com/

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  9. I thought my greiving process would be short because I was a caregiver for 4 years. Even at the funeral and days after I was fine; not too much crying. But it changed a month later. I'm still crying and coming to terms with being alone even though my husband was in a nursing home for 8 months before he died. Everyone is different. I thought that all my sadness, crying, and depression was a lack of trust in God. But I have learned that this is all part of the grieving process for some and not for others. We are all uniquely made by our Father.
    Lucy Rodriguez

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  10. Thank you ladies for sharing your grief journey. My husband, Al, went to glory on Jan 6, 2013. Lately, I can't seem to get passed missing him so much;reliving our lives together, as far back as our dating period and early marriage. I'm not sure I've really acce pted his passing yet. I know he's with God and I will be with him again someday.
    I was his caregiver for about 8 months. His condition worsened over those 8 months, culminating in his horrible ending. I grieved throughout his ordeal. In my mind, I tried to put myself in that mode, thinking it would help me later when the inevitable happened. It feels as bad now as it did then. It really hasn't helped me much in my grieving process. Please pray for us new widows. I'm really struggling with my emotions and day to day activities. God Bless, Billie

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