Monday, July 16, 2012

Grief: Understanding and Misunderstanding

Whew.  Coming up against the third anniversary of my husband Artie's death tomorrow.  Thank you so much to those of you who understand.  Whether we communicate or not I am so grateful for those who get it.  It is very lonely to feel no one understands. Since writing this blog and finding Facebook pages I know that, unfortunately, there are a whole lot of people who do understand from direct experience.  I also want to publicly thank my daughter (even though she doesn't read this) for making an effort to understand.  I once asked her how many times I talked about Artie during the day and she said, "I don't know, I'd need a clicker!"  Even though the last night I stayed with her and my granddaughter she had root canal and wasn't feeling well she took the time to sit with me on the sofa.  She actually stroked my hair and held my hand for a little while.  The next day when she drove me to the train station (she's 37) instead of just dropping me off she parked and came in to sit with me.  She wanted me to feel loved, especially at this time.

On the other hand, someone who I always think of as a best friend was totally not understanding.  I haven't figured out how to deal with that.  It hurts.  I know it's normal because I've heard it from a lot of other people.  One woman at a bereavement group said there were 700 people at her husband's memorial and not one of them was still in touch.  What's up with that?  I know my friend is going through a tough time.  I know when two people are having melt downs at the same time it isn't easy.  However, I did make an effort to connect with her and what she was going through.  She didn't with me and doesn't even get why I feel that way.

Three years.  Am I supposed to be done with it now?  That's the difficult part this year.  My daughter was actually funny.  She said, "He's been dead for three years and he hasn't come back even once.  How rude!"   I laughed but isn't that the core of the misunderstanding.  People have grief fatigue.  Time passes.  It's not important any more.  It is to me.  With all my techniques and all I've learned and lived I have been running swiftly backwards.  I will have live three years tomorrow without my darling husband with me.  I'm tired and sad and I miss him more, not less.  What's not to understand about that simple fact?  Even though I believe his spirit is with me - his body isn't.  I'm tired of ashes and pictures and old cards and letters  I want my guy.  I just read that when Joe Di Maggio died at the age of 84 one of the last things he said was, "Finally I'll get to see Marilyn again."  For you young folks - that's Joe DiMaggio the great baseball player and Marilyn Monroe the actress who died tragically of a drug overdose at the age of 36.

I collect those stories.  Stories of people who spend their lives missing their one true love, or their beloved child or pet or mother or uncle or grandmother or anyone I've left out.  They make me feel normal.  I've said this a lot.  I don't mind at all people who find new loves.  Maybe even I will.  However, I don't relate at all to people who say they are "over" the death of someone who was much loved.  I want to live fully and make Artie proud of me but I don't want to be over it.  It seems silly to be over it.

I went on Facebook and asked people on two pages how they deal with the "dates" - anniversary of a death (some folks call it angelversary) - birthdays - wedding anniversaries - mother's or father's day. 

I'm planning on e-mailing people who I've been in contact with since Artie died who are grieving.  I'm having lunch with a friend who I can trust to share things with.  That was the saddest thing with my long time friend not understanding - I don't feel I can trust her right now.  I'm keeping my appointment with my chiropractor and I went to exercise today.  However, my food is way off.  I am the queen of sugar consumption again.  It's hard for me to work.  I'm scared and lonely and blah blah blah.  I want to get back to the grieving in a healthy inspired way again instead of this sluggish thing I am now.

There are people from my past and Artie's past that have stayed with me.  There are all the wonderful new people I have met.  There are people you would have thought would have stayed close but haven't.  When Artie died he asked his friends to look after me because he was afraid of how I would react.  They did for a time.  I wonder what he would say to them now.  Especially the ones he counted on who have changed e-mails and not given me the new one.  I have my granddaughter Gwendy's blue eyes to look into and see pure love and pure being in the present.  That is the greatest life gift of all.

I think this friend who doesn't get it will at some point.  We have been friends for too long not too.  However, it makes my heart hurt even more.  It feels damaged.  We are going away together next week and I wonder what it will be like.

The bottom line for right now is that I am too hurt by Artie's death to allow myself to be hurt by others.  The good thing is that it made me realize that I do have a healthy sense of self esteem.  I care enough about myself to seek out those who can support me.  I care enough about myself to admit "I'm STUCK!!" and look for ways to be unstuck.

Thank you, all of you, who share this journey with me.  My fellow grief warriors who help me turn around when I start marching backwards.  I have a life to live to make my husband proud; to make me proud; to make all of you proud.  More tomorrow.  The day.  I call this Artie's dying time.  I don't know why it always feels like it is happening NOW.  It does, though.  Keep strong but real.  Nothing wrong with paying attention to what hurts.  I think that's better than ignoring it.  Then saying - ouch - but what's next. Who else am I?  What else can I do?  What can I be grateful for.  Unlucky me.  Lucky me.  Both at the same time. xo

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful person you are. You are helping so many women through your posts. I am up late tonight trying to find strength through others. Reading blogs, and books is helping me. I have found so much comfort from reading the book "I'm a Widow, What Now? Embracing Life after Loss" by author Patricia N. Muscari. This book talks about the ‘whole experience’, touching on all parts of life and experience. http:///