Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Finding a home for you in my heart

Dear Dazzy,

Just writing a quick one tonight-I am off to bed ASAP have early meeting and it will be DARK when I leave...bleah.

Today though I doubled up on the vitamins and ate my fruit and drank my water and all that jazz. I have to get rid of the grief weight I have put on since last summer...actually I was better about eating/exercising in the summer; once Fall hit it was like I went into nuclear holocaust survivor mode. I was not unlike a bear ready to hunker down in her cave to wait out the long, cold, dreary winter.

Hmmm. Maybe that's exactly what I am doing ?

Here's to spring-and her sunshine, warm temps, daffodils and tulips. She can't get here fast enough for me.

Oh and I read this great letter/article on what to say/how people feel about grief today-
it's LONG but I really think it's important, so here it is: from an Aussie paper, no less!

(I added the bolded words to the parts I felt were the MOST important...)

How do you go on living when your partner dies?
Kate de Brito Friday, October 12, 2007 at 08:05am

"Dear Bossy:
I am 32 years old and find myself lost and unsure how to go on.
My partner of 10 years recently died unexpectedly a month ago from a blood clot.
She was a fit, healthy 33 year old woman and her death happened quickly; she simply collapsed one morning and it was over in minutes.
When it happened, I went into shock for a couple of weeks.
The first weeks were horrific and surreal.
I feel I have come out of the shock somewhat now but this just means I am not as numb to the pain. I have a wonderful network of friends that call me almost daily to check that I am OK.
I have truly been blessed by our close friends and will be forever grateful for their love and support.
You never realise how many wonderful friends you have until something like this happens. Notwithstanding this, I have never felt so lonely in my life.
I thought I knew what it was to grieve, but I have never experienced the depths of despair that this has taken me too.We lived together for seven years and
and I can't bear to be at home.
I have cleaned her things out of the bathroom but I simply put them out of sight into her wardrobe. I can't bear to sort through any of her things so I have hidden them out of sight behind her wardrobe doors.
I know I will have to go through her things eventually, but I have been advised to legally wait until after the will has been read.
I am scared to be on my own as the pain and despair is just overwhelming.
So far I have managed to fill up almost every night and waking hour with activities (essentially being baby-sat by friends) but now that a month has passed I think people will start to look at going back to their normal life.
I have just started back at work but I cannot think straight and I am essentially just sitting at my desk emailing or surfing the Internet trying my hardest not to cry.
The thought of moving on feels terrible and as time keeps ticking and I feel her slipping through my fingers. She was so much more than just my partner; she was my best friend, my strength. I have never been so close to anyone and can't imagine I ever will again.

I simply do not know how to live without her.

Bossy says:

There's just no easy answer to your question.

How do you go on living when your partner dies?
The answer is: with enormous difficulty.

And yet you just do.

I often think of grief like a vast stretch of flat land.
You look and look, searching for a sign post or a rest stop and yet as far as the eye can see, the land goes on and on, spilling outward relentlessly, pushing towards the horizon. You can't see an end...just more and more of the same.

You wonder how you will get through even a month of this pain when the thought of just getting through the next minute seems unbearable.Losing someone you love knocks you - quite literally - off your feet.
Unless you have experienced grief it can be hard to comprehend the pain and injury caused by the death of someone you love.

And even when you have experienced loss along comes this greater grief and slams into you like a fleet of trucks. I hope you won't underestimate what you're going through.

This is the real deal.

What you feel is life at it's worst and it is mammoth and deep, overwhelming and lonely and immeasurably sad.

I think one of the hardest things to comprehend about grief is that while no one else can understand the extent or depth of our your personal grief, so many others have gone through it. How can it be possible you wonder, that something this awful can be so common?
Every moment of every day millions of people grieve around the world for their lost loved ones.

How can it be that under such staggeringly difficult conditions people can go on?

I don't know, but they do.
You are in the very early stages of grief.
The feelings you are experiencing are powerful, painful and overwhelming.
I want to be honest with you without scaring you about what is to come, and say there is no easy way through this. And it can take a long time for the truly agonising feelings of grief to diminish.

You will be messy.
You will fall apart.
You will cry.

But if you can, you must hold onto the knowledge that people do come through this, as you will. Although it is impossible to see a way through right now, the pain will eventually be less intense.
But how to get through the days in the meanwhile?
Keeping busy and occupied can help although you know that eventually when you down tools you will have to face the tsunami again.
Go with it as much as you can. Cry. Roar. Pound the floor.It helps to have good friends.

Find the best of them and explain that talking it through can help.
I know you have probably already talked a lot over the last few weeks.
But it is normal and often helpful to talk more, going over and over the same details, or the same stories. It's how you begin to make sense of something so senseless.

Let them know you may get angry too.
The best thing friends can do is listen.
The worst thing they can do is try to find solutions, or tell you to move on or tell you that you are young and will find someone new.

It can help too, to touch the grief physically.
When the pain tears your chest or stomach, sit and hold it - rub it hard with your palm - like you would a child. Have a friend rub your back, hard and strong, as you cry.
Do not be afraid to ask for help.

Ask and ask and ask.

Grief can take a long time to lose its edge.
You will not be recovered in 6 months or even 12.
You must forgive yourself for not being well, and capable even after all that time.
You cannot lose someone as you have and go back to work and expect to pick up where you left off.

If you can, write about it.
Write to your partner.
Write out your feelings of fear and anger and loneliness.
It can help.

Try to keep strong physically. Eating well, rest and exercise are very important.

Try to avoid drinking too much or self-medicating with drugs.
A few months down the track or even longer, you may find these more overwhelming feelings have given way to depression or despair. This is entirely normal and expected. It is part of the stages of grief.

It can help to see a counselor.
See someone who specialises in grief.
Educate a good friend about the stages of grief so that they can watch out for this depression. You will find plenty of good information and support at these websites and grieflink.

I understand what you mean when you say you fear she is slipping away.
Many people feel this way. And it's true that in some ways grieving is about letting go.

But it is also about finding a home for the person you have lost, inside you, somewhere safe where they can stay forever so you know they are never completely gone.

It takes time to find that place and the peace that comes with it.
And of course you are not ready to move on. For the moment you just have to put one foot in front of the other and get through the day. Hold tight, dear man. Hold tight. "

Wow. That really says it all for me-finding you a home in my heart where you can stay forever, babe. What a hard, hard job. The good thing is that I know it's not impossible anymore.

Love you, Dazzy. Always.
Kisses, Wifey.

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