I am going to spend Thanksgiving with my daughter in Seattle so I won't be posting again until Nov. 29th. I spent the weekend at a workshop called the Language of Change. It is about many ways of changing beliefs. When I have a chance I want to share that with you. Right now I will give you a couple of examples. I believe that no matter what I do that I enjoy when I walk into my empty apartment I will be sad because Artie is dead. What if I changed that belief to when I walk into my apartment I will be happy because there are so many things in it to remind me of how much Artie and I love each other and it is full of his spirit? This one is harder. I believe that because my husband died I will always be miserably unhappy. What if I changed it a little? Because my husband died I have moments when I feel miserably unhappy. What if I changed it a lot? My husband died and I miss him a lot but I am happy to have such a splendid love and my memories of him can help me find ways to make my life fulfilling until the time when we can be together again. (Not there yet!) However, there are techniques for making this kind of movement. You can try it by playing with changing your own language.
Thanksgiving. The empty chair. How to be thankful when my husband is dead. It is so hard (see - I might change if I said so easy!) to have a happy anything without Artie physically with me. Yet, I do. I have happy moments. I hope when I am with my daughter I won't be grouchy like I was when we were in Romania. I hope I can be honestly, authentically happy to be spending the holiday with her. I am thankful for my daughter. I am thankful for the love my husband and I share. I always write that in the present tense. I know he's dead but I believe that love doesn't end when life does. I thankful for my friends. I am thankful for all of you who I have met by writing this blog. Even if I haven't met you I am grateful for your courage and your support and your willingness to carry on even though you have lost someone so beloved to you. I feel supported by all of us who grieve honestly. I feel inspired by those of us who feel pain and sadness and loneliness and yet manage to smile, to say a kind word, to even just get out of bed in the morning if that is all you can do. If you can't do even that then I give you a big hug. It's not a hug from the person you want it to be from but it's still a hug.
When I get to the airport I still reach for my phone to call Artie. When I'm away I want to call him - but then, when I'm home I want to call him. He was so thankful to be married to me and I was so thankful to be married to him. Someone asked me if I was dating. I'm not saying I never would but I feel very married still. I feel that death hasn't separated us. It's just that I'm still here on earth and he's wherever he is. His birthday is Dec. 11 and I wondered if you still have birthdays when you are dead - and does the date change. Maybe his new birthday is the day he died and he was born into his new form. Whatever form he's in I know he's loving me and looking after me and if I smile it will make him smile.
What I wish for you is that you find things to be thankful for and if you have grief attacks (which are much worse than shark attacks!) that you find light in the darkness and joy in your memories. The thing about the empty chair - there is not a living person in it - we want so much for the living person to be in it - but it is not really empty. It is overflowing with love. xo
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