Grieving would take me on a journey of reclaiming my identity. An identity that would no longer include – my husband. My relational base. Scary, confusing – frustrating. I would grieve the loss of a shared identity – of over 30 years. There would be no one at home – waiting for me. No one to sit beside me – no one to hold my hand – no where to find the unconditional love and support I had known for more then half of my life.
My name was still the same. The person looking back at me, in the mirror, still looked the same, but who I was – had been irreversibly changed forever, in a single moment.
It propelled me into an emotional vertigo. I remained suspended for quite a long time. I existed somewhere between vertigo and apathy.
It was a constant struggle to find a place where I felt I belonged, fit in …
You see, the life we knew – before death occurs, continues on – people return to “their” normal. However, your normal has ceased to exist. All of the what you knew to be safe, secure and loving has simply vanished. In retrospect, I know now that returning to the same practices only further magnified my loss. There were many who could not or chose not to understand how profoundly I was missing my Dave – grieving his loss of life in mine. My absence was met with nothing but harsh opposition. The exchanges, were down right cruel – and I found that the dismissal of my feelings, my brokenness only further deepened my sense of loss and despair.
Taking responsibility for my own pain – my own loss, the death of my husband, was the first step in my journey of recovery both in my sobriety and my process of grieving.
I quit apologizing for loving my husband and grieving his death.
I quit apologizing for not having the capacity to function.
I quit apologizing for crying – randomly.
I quit apologizing for not being to be emotional available – for family and friends.
I quit apologizing for feeling such a deep sense of sadness.
I quit apologizing for my broken heart.
There was such a release in my moment of clarity. I found the freedom to move through all of the broken places. It no longer mattered how my behavior was perceived. I spent the time collecting, gathering my broken pieces – found the courage to carry them to a place of healing. It was like putting a puzzle together …
Grieving, although a universal territory is but a very unique journey.
I learned that embracing those really bad days, allowed my heart the opportunity to heal.
I discovered the importance of surrounding myself with people who “just got it.”
Eventually, I emerged from my long slumber – the fog of denial, with a heart of gratitude and peace.
Knowing how lucky I was, to have been loved so deeply by a man who gave of himself so freely.
Gratitude, that I have lived through the unimaginable, and along the way – I have stumbled onto a strength that I might not have known otherwise. Gratitude, for loss has taught me, the value and purpose of life.
It would be a year ago that I would take my last drink.
There is something so powerful that begins to take place, as I began to confront my pain, loss and despair. And the healing that seemed to be elusive, began to find its way, when I could be still long enough to let it catch me. Moving through it and not around it has not made everything perfectly fine. It has only allowed me to live a life, wholeheartedly.