When we experience the loss of someone or something truly significant to we can be overwhelmed. Sometimes numbness sets in and we are separate from things going on around us. When the grief begins to explode our psyche we don’t know what to do to help. There is a danger at this point. We want so badly to help the pain that we can reach out to things that can put a band aid on the hurt for awhile. Sometimes those things are knee jerk reactions and end up adding to our emotional crisis. That is why most advice says don’t do anything hasty. Usually the advice is about selling a house or moving. But there are other things that can crop up.
One thing we seek during immediate grief is connections. We need others to see our pain. Most of the time people don’t know what to say or how to help. Many say the wrong things. There will be some who understand the things that you really need. Hold them close…they are your lifeline.
If this happens to us early in life ..losing a spouse or loved one…we so want the grief to relent that it is easy to dive into another relationship thinking that is the answer. I have a friend who lost her husband early on and had two disastrous marriages before stepping back and eventually making a loving and lasting connection. She just wanted the pain to stop.
Grief is not an easy thing and it does not follow the same pattern for everyone. Small things can cause waves of pain.. a smell, a song, an event. There are so many more.
There will be life following. It is fine to laugh, have good days and momentarily put thoughts of your love from your mind. Don’t be guilty. You are allowed to go on. You still have God given life and you can live it.
I love C.S. Lewis. I have read a great deal of what he has written. He has written so much beside the Chronicles of Narnia. Recently, when we were without power I re-read his other fiction series beginning with “Out of the Silent Planet.”
I could quote him every day but I want to focus on this one.
We all have a past. It may have been wonderful or it may be have been awful but it is the past. We can’t change it but we can let it go. Even if we are struggling the struggle will pay off. We are like the swan who looks so wonderful as she glides along and is paddling furiously under the water. Each thing that we do, every moment that we glide ahead takes us one step further even if we are paddling frantically.
We can change only the moment we are in. That’s as far as we can go. We need to not obsess about tomorrow but just manage this day, this hour, this minute. It’s all we have.
We can change the ending. Believe it!
We all need someone to talk to. We all need someone who actually hears us. It may not be the people we love but we need someone. We were not created to go through life alone.
We are communal people. The earliest humans survived because they lived together. We are no different. One of the worst tortures that a human can go through is to be confined alone in a room for a long period. Most people would lose their minds.
It is sometimes difficult to find that person who will really hear us when we share our lives. Too often people are thinking of themselves and not really listening. Often we are sharing with someone who truly cares but wants to fix everything. Most of the time we don’t expect or even want ideas for fixes. All we really want is to be heard. The trouble is most people don’t understand that.
This is the reason that so many people need to talk with a psychologist or psychiatrist. They should be the ones who really listen. (at least if they are any good) If we don’t have someone to share with then they are certainly a help. At least they shouldn’t be judgmental or share confidences.
In the last year I have also found that this community on Word Press is a good place to share and be heard. We are understood the best when someone else has had similar experiences. In this community there is understanding and affirmation. Sometimes it is hard to find that kind of understanding elsewhere.
Wherever you find it seek someone who will listen and hear you. Even if they can only seek to share your feeling it is a help. If you don’t have anyone to talk with face to face you can find understanding here.
I have been struggling since I developed a cold prior to my husband’s surgery. The events leading up to the surgery (for over a year) stretched my coping like a taut rubber band. I think that is why I caught a cold. My immune system was low. The combination of the cold and the travel for his surgery pushed me over the edge. The cold is better and his recovery is continuing at home.
However, as usual when things are improving I didn’t. I am fighting the dregs of the cold and a major flare up of IBSD which brings on anxiety. I am continuing to fight both with stress reduction and medication. I am trying to rest as much as possible since I am completely exhausted. All of this means not a great few days.
Somehow I am holding on to the knowledge that this too will pass and once again “all will be well.” My strength to resist all of this will return and I will be able to move on. I am so thankful that we are both retired and don’t have to be anywhere on a daily basis. So there are gifts in the midst of this.
Today’s blessing: We both have time to heal.
I am tired, sad and struggling. I can’t seem to shake the tiredness left over from my cold and the stress of traveling and my husband’s surgery. I have a strange habit of not reacting physically to something when it is happening but it always hits when things are getting better. I guess I should have expected this.
I have mentioned before that I am blessed to have four dear friends. I know that it is rare to have four and thank God for it. They hold me up when I am down. At the moment two of them are having problems to deal with. Things that maybe can be solved and maybe not. I feel so much grief for what they have been and are going through. If only I could help more or take away some of the pain. Sometimes the only thing we can do is be present but it doesn’t feel like enough.
For the last month I have had to cope with the things in my own life and it has taken me away from being present more than I wanted. I hope that things shift soon and become more manageable.
I don’t know that any of us could possibly have coped without having a deep faith in a loving God. When things seem impossible leaning on God is my only recourse. Somehow I can sense his presence in the midst of all the chaos. My friends feel the same and we all have the prayers of many to uphold us. At times is is possible to actually feel that support and love.
I know there are people who don’t have this belief and that is their decision. I wold find it lonely and fearful without it. I hope that everyone has something that they can hold on to in the midst of life’s trials. May you find that thing that gives you peace and strength to hold on.
The last 3 or 4 months I felt as is my life was on hold. It now feels different to have my husband’s surgery behind us and move forward. In some ways I have put my life on hold. I haven’t done any mediations or scheduled any appointments. Now I want to get back to my life. There will be healing time and check ups but that can be managed.
It has been strange to plan little for myself and I miss it. I look forward to what I call “a new normal.” I have discovered that life is never consistently normal. We can go along for a while and this something changes our plans and our perspective. I have decided to call this “new normal’ and not expect to get back to the old one.
Life is constantly changing. That is one thing we can be sure of. The trick is to learn how to deal with the changes. Also it is important to know that nothing will always stay the same. When we are young we hope for change—growing up and getting to do the adult things. When we have been adults for long enough we realize that it may not be what we imagined.
As children we don’t understand that with adulthood comes increased responsibility. We are the ones who have to make decisions about life altering things and we don’t always choose the easy path. It was a lot of fun when we weren’t the responsible one.
Change is one of the stressors that can set off anxiety and depression and we do have to learn ways to manage it. Some people love change but I am not one of them. It can be hard to let go of a calm and peaceful time and move through something that is not much fun. For me, acceptance that change is inevitable is the first step and then to imagine weathering my way through the storm. Finding any good that is in the change helps and picturing what life will be like on the other side. When change hits us suddenly it is harder to get through. If we expect it we can think our way ahead and do better.
Change is a challenge we can win!
It looks as if we are coming to the end of a long journey. My husband knew his knee needed help August a year ago. He saw an orthopedist who scheduled surgery for January…quite a wait. The road to this surgery was rocky. As a nurse I think the physician did not want to do this surgery since for the next four months he came up with one hurdle after another. Feeling this was not the right path we cancelled and made an appointment with the Mayo Clinic. We had to wait until June for an appointment but since then things have gone smoothly and his surgery will be next Tuesday.
This has been a long journey for us both. The knee fix is complex and we are definitely at the right place. We have both had to endure stress, frustration and a worsening of my husband’s pain.
The year also posed some family crises and other stressful times. The good news is that, God willing, we are heading to some healing.
The other good news is that in spite of all the things this year put in front of me I got through it. There have been some times of anxiety and physical symptoms but each one was conquered and I was able to move on. Writing helped and I find that it is an outlet for the things that come up day to day. It will continue to be my place for reflection and ideas. It is a joy to have others read and respond.
Now I will face the next week with the hope that all will go well. Then we can begin the process of picking up the pieces and moving forward.