Thursday, March 13, 2008

One Hour At A Time

If there's a most frequently-asked question from the bereaved, it is probably "how long will I feel like this?" And while there's no standardized answer in terms of months or years, an appropriate answer is, "a lot longer than you may think." Certainly the 1 year marker is no magical "Get Out Of Grief Free" day, and while not my personal experience, many widow/ers report that year 2 was in many ways harder than the first year. If you are reading this and are within the first year, this is probably not what you want to read, but it is important that you read it somewhere. Grief takes as long as it takes. That is, of course, assuming you do the heavy lifting of grief.

And what is the grief work to be done? I find it is almost always helpful to read what others further down the road have written regarding their journey and things that have helped them. Recently on Widownet, one poster explained 11 specific things that helped her get through 21 months of grief. I hope you find something here that can help you find peace:

Even with our loved ones wanting us to go on and be positive..... and you will..... down the line..... it isn't your time now. G-R-I-E-V-I-N-G is a long hard process which takes lots of time, energy, thinking, praying, sobbing.... And it seems like the timing for all of us is different. Yet I know for me at 21 months, I haven't made it over the marathon hills to even see the finish line (And in reality I don't think there is a finish line).

Things that worked for me along with this wonderful widownet site:
  1. A GriefShare group

  2. Journaling (I was never a writer but boy does that help. I write myself an email and put it in a journal folder. The date is stored on it. I have gone back and read some of my past posting and it helps me see that I have made some progress.)

  3. Devouring every grief book I could.

  4. Allowing myself to let the process be what it was. I just let it happen no matter how embarrassing and blubbering I was at the least expected times.

  5. Learned about those who DGI (don't get it) and learned how to put my boundaries up.

  6. I knew within myself that if I didn't grieve now (not trying to avoid or stuff it) it would manifest itself in crazy ways, down the line, for years to come

  7. I knew who my 'safe' people were to be around.

  8. I spent horrible sleepless nights where nothing helped me sleep (that's getting better). I used the sleepless nights to read, mediate, cry out to God for help and just plain CRY.

  9. I knew the saying, "time heals all" wasn't completely true. I knew it was what I was going to do in that time that would help me heal... And sometimes 'doing' was doing nothing.

  10. I have come out of the "why me" stage to "what am I suppose to learn from all of this." Now truthfully that still comes and goes somewhat. From reading my journals I have learned much.

  11. I am not so much a DGI person in others lives now. I have more compassion for others. I listen more intently when others share with me their losses of any sort. My heart has been ripped open and I want to be there for others in my life whose heart is ripping too.

This is all happening to me slowly. I had numerous months of wailing, and being simply frozen with grief. I am starting to defrost. And I want all of you new ones on here to know your day will come. But until then just do the next thing. One step in front of the other. One hour at a time. Please know you are not going crazy, it's called GRIEF. A foreign emotion many of us never experienced to this degree before now.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This post is very touching, I could almost feel the pain, thanks for sharing Vic.