“It’s so curious: one can resist tears and ‘behave’ very well in the hardest hours of grief. But then someone makes you a friendly sign behind a window, or one notices that a flower that was in bud only yesterday has suddenly blossomed, or a letter slips from a drawer… and everything collapses.: ~Colette
For some time now I have noticed a definite shift in my feelings about grieving for my late husband. After many years I am able to look back and see just how far I have come from that ghastly day in 1998 when my soul-mate was declared ‘dead’.
Of course, at the time I didn’t know how I was going to live without him. I had grown up with him having met and married him when I was 19. And now 41 years later he was gone.
The few days following his death are still even now, a blur. I do remember seeing my two adult children sitting with a man (who later turned out to be the funeral director) under a tree in my son’s garden. Those two adult children made all the arrangements necessary for us to move to the next stage – a funeral and the function afterwards. I declared to anybody who would listen that I was not going to the funeral. Of course, I was ignored, nobody believed me and of course, I went.
Those of you have been there know that at the beginning you can tell how many hours since your loved one died. This moves into how many days, then weeks, followed by months and then (as for me now) years. I would not say that any of the stages through which I have passed have been easy. Time does not heal regardless of the old adage, but it does make living without that special one easier.
I learned that I can go on – it doesn’t come with a choice. I learned that there is still life without that special person and that given the opportunity friends and family will be very supportive as one goes through the stages of grief. My family still support me on those ‘mean blue days’ that sneak up on one when one isn’t watching.
As part of my healing, I wrote. I wrote how I was surviving, what I could do and did to get through each day and I found this exercise cathartic. this was published in a small book that I gave to friends and clients who found themselves in a similar situation.
And one day I realized that in fact I was growing and learning to live in this changing world. I also changed the focus of my life coaching work towards people who found themselves alone through death, divorce or separation. And I founded a group that I call ‘Together”. This is a loose group of people who come together regularly, or not as they choose, to support each other in their loss. This has proved to be very helpful for a number of people.
And so the learning and coping go hand in hand and no doubt will do until I too die.