Saturday, August 9, 2008

My Story III

This is part III of a recent speech I gave about my grief journey. Read part I and part II if you missed them.

Ten months out. I am always on the verge of tears. I cry at my desk at work. I cry eating supper at home with my son. I cry reading grief books on the bus on the way to and from work. I'm now a regular here at BFO. I tell the group session, "I feel like I'm in a nightmare that's never going to end."

Thirteen months out. I begin a BFO closed group session, meeting with ten other widows and widowers every week for ten weeks. I find it very, very helpful. Not so much because of what is being said there, but because I am now focusing heavily on healing. And I begin looking every day for helpful insights that I can share with the group.

Fourteen months out. I can't sleep. My skin is crawling, and I want to tear it off. This feels horrible. But I know what this is. By now I have read about how the chemical addiction withdrawal symptoms of grief can be eerily similar to those that heroin addicts experience when they go cold turkey. But why am I feeling like this now, at 2 am? Oh yeah. It is now Mother's Day.

Seventeen months out. I am spending the weekend with the woman I had tried to have a relationship with the previous year. She is still a very nice woman. I am still not ready for a relationship. But now, I can see that while we have a great deal in common, there are some key areas in which we are not very compatible. I am not falling in love with her. We discuss it, and she agrees that we are good friends but that's it. We part amicably, no hard feelings. I am still alone, still a single dad. I am still in pain from time to time, but the pain is less.

Nineteen months out. After some encouragement from a friend here at BFO, I start a blog and begin writing about ways to recover and heal from grief. I do this for a number of reasons, not least of which is that I want to give back and help others. You can't forget the title: My Spouse Is Dead dot com.

Twenty-one months out. I attend a silent meditation course to learn a particular meditation technique called Vipassana. I have never done any kind of formal meditation before, ever. For 10 hours every day for 10 days, I sit in dim silence and practice. Going in, I had thought that being alone with myself for this long will be emotionally traumatic, but it is not. Instead, it is an amazing experience that proves to be a major key to my healing and recovery process. I never look at the world the same way ever again. I am now at peace. The pain is gone.

Those are the highlights of my grief and healing journey. I’ll pass around a few of the books that have been helpful to me along the way. I have a complete list of all these books on my blog, along with summaries and excerpts. The The Grief Recovery Handbook; How To Go On Living When Someone You Love Dies; The Power of Focusing: A Practical Guide to Emotional Self-Healing; The Sedona Method.

Part IV is next...

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