How Will You Grieve?

How Will You Grieve?

We All Grieve Differently

We all grieve differently, so this is an article about my grief, not a lesson in how to grieve. Dealing with grief over the loss of a loved one is not something to look forward to, but it is something we all must face.

I Was Not Prepared For The Loss

My wife had been sick for seven years, but when she died, I was devastated. Someone said to me, “at least you were prepared for her death,” but that was not the case. At least not from an emotional standpoint. We were together almost all of the time, and she depended on me to cook, help her with bathing, dressing, and just getting around. Walking short distances was achievable, as was going down the stairs in the morning and up the stairs at night. She sat in her wheelchair because we had a custom seat pad, and it was comfortable. She needed the wheelchair when we went out because she couldn’t walk far but didn’t usually maneuver with it at home.

Heartache

When Lorraine passed away, I felt a pain in my heart that I couldn’t imagine would ever go away. And it didn’t take long for me to realize that I depended on her as much as she relied on me. She was the person I spent the most time with and with whom I shared everything. I missed her so much that I couldn’t imagine what life would be like without her. Every day, several times a day, I would remember something she would do or say that made me happy. Moments like walking across the room and coming together for a gentle kiss and a hug, then holding that hug for a few moments. Leaning against me on the couch with my arm around her and she would fall asleep. Or reaching over in the middle of the night to touch her hand while she slept. Magic moments that would never happen again.

Grief Triggers

Then there are the triggers outside of the house when you pass by one of your favorite places or travel a route that we traveled together. A couple of weeks after the funeral, I was shopping in Costco, and as I walked by the case with pumpkin pies, I broke down and began to cry. Instantly I saw myself walking into the kitchen with a pumpkin pie, and Lorraine would get this huge smile on her face. She loved Costco pumpkin pies and would become so excited when she saw them. Triggers like that can tear you apart because they happen without warning. 

I had to learn how to deal with these triggers. The hardest part of doing that is knowing what will trigger you. One thing that helped me a great deal was joining a grief group. A friend recommended Grief Share to me. Joining this group provided me with several benefits:

  1. They have a website to help you pick a group location by entering your zip code. You will find groups near you with start and end times and contact information.
  2. Support materials to help survive the holidays, videos, daily emails. The book “Surviving The Holidays” is where I got my first warning about the dreaded “triggers.” 

Personally, being able to talk about my feelings with people who were going through the same thing was helpful and healing. Being in a situation where I was not guarded and could open up with all of my heart was uplifting.

I will be continuing to add to this story and look forward to hearing from you. How do you deal with grief? What have been the best moments and worse moments in your grief journey? What have others said to you that hurt or helped? 

#Grief, #Heartache, #Vulnerabilities

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