PASS … Go!
This too shall pass, a very popular saying in today’s culture. Particularly in support groups. However the truth … ‘this too shall pass’ does not apply to the widow.
I’m planning to write a book and it’s title is Widow’s Fog ~ The Journey.
Widow’s fog is an actual thing and for the most part it defines the first year of a widow’s/widower’s life after the death of their spouse.
I hear myself saying, regularly, that this particular journey of grief is not understood except by personal experience. If you have not lost a spouse to death you cannot and I pray you never understand what the widow/er goes through.
That is just a fact. One I am ashamed I was too pompous to believe before I experienced it personally.
The death of a spouse is not comparable to any other loss one experiences in life. Not divorce, not the loss of a parent, sibling or friend. The only loss I believe that can even come close is the loss of a child … and that I cannot even fathom!
Unfortunately all of us who are on this unwanted journey of grief and mourning experience widow’s fog on some level or other.
Yesterday marked a year that my Love has been home with the Lord, and honestly I look back on that year and it’s simply described as a surreal haze. Fog. I honestly cannot tell you how I got from 12:31 am on Tuesday, April 28, 2015 to today, April 29, 2016. I am amazed that I am here at all. And I will hazard to say that most widows will tell you they remember very little detail about the first year of widowhood.
Surreal is defined as: having the quality of a dream; marked by the intense irrational reality of a dream.
We seemingly float through the first year in a dream, or more to the point, in a nightmarish state.
I fell asleep sometime around 3:30 am on that Tuesday morning. At dawn I sat straight up and was literally surprised that the sun was shining. That too is a real occurrence for the widow/er. We are simply aghast that the world continues to spin on it’s axis. How dare the sun shine, or the rain fall, or the Robin sing! Because, for us, everything is at a standstill.
STOP! PLEASE forgive my indulgence as I continue on with this post. 🙂
You know that scene in a movie when the character is standing still while the camera is the world spinning around them. They are seeing everything and everyone around them just spinning on that axis. That is virtually the widow’s first year.
What is odd is that we seemingly jump on that axis with the rest of you and function. Because after all, life moves on; but the widow doesn’t, not really, in that first year.
We function because the sun rises and sets each day. We smile and say we are okay, it’s a lie, but it is the mask that shields everyone (ourselves) from that constant flow of sorrow that we are sure we are emitting; and everyone smiles in relief and carries on with life and we remain frozen, paralyzed, by grief.
We are at our most vulnerable and at the same time our most volatile. We lose any filter we have. Every word, every touch assaults us. A comforting hug hammers at the dam of our tears and pain. It takes all of who we are to hold it together.
We wander through the days of getting our affairs in order, while trying desperately to stay in the now so we are not taken advantage of by debtors, charities, and sadly, sometimes, family and friends.
We come to problems and crisis in our lives that we must now handle on our own. Things our spouses handled, things we may not know how to handle. And then … we might have to ask for help. Help from one of those kind and loving family members or friends who said … “anything you need, any time, I’m here for you.” only to find out that they aren’t available. This is one of our very first confrontations with reality.
Everyone else’s life moves on. And we are frozen in time.
We begin to count the days, weeks and months. We wonder if we’ll ever stop counting. For me that day is not today … I’m on day 1 of my Second Firsts. I’ll explain that phenomenon in another post.
All the Firsts we experience are occasions that once brought great joy and are now sources of sorrow and loss. Birthdays, Anniversaries and Holidays celebrated without our soul mates. All spent in a fog of longing and tears, with everyone begging us to try and enjoy ourselves.
They mean well, and in our deepest minds we know this. But our hearts and minds scream within us … “HOW CAN YOU CELEBRATE???!!! HOW CAN I CELEBRATE???!!!” So we smile and fade into our quiet fog and do what we do to get through each event.
I prayed. I prayed through each and every First. I thanked God each morning as I witnessed the sun shining through the sheers in my bedroom through the fog. Praying that this too would pass.
Widow’s fog doesn’t so much as pass as it fades.
Today, right now, I’m okay. I have clarity. However, as I tire the fog will come closer. The fog is only remedied by taking care of oneself.
The counsel of a wiser widow to the new widow is this:
Be kind to yourself. Rest. It’s okay to feel your emotions. No we don’t move on. We do move forward. Do what is right for you. No big decisions or changes for a year! And more …
No, this won’t pass. Loss of this magnitude changes a person, irrevocably. Our sadness will not pass, it will change and become something we manage. We will move on in our lives one way or the other, but it won’t pass.
Our Loves passed. They went on home to eternity. They will remain tucked gently within out hearts. We will converse with them. We will dream of them. We will forever love them, because as they say …
Grief is bore out of love. Where there is great grief, there was great love.
Grief never ends, it only changes. It’s a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness, not a lack of faith. It is the price of love. ~all-greatquotes.com
Grief is the price we pay for love. ~Queen Elizabeth II
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