Grief, Stress, and Feeling Rudderless

Five months plus six days ago, life was good.  I felt safe and secure, cherished and protected by a husband who smiled at me with hearts in his eyes every time I walked into the house.  While money was not exactly pouring in, we had two incomes and could live quite comfortably, never really having to forgo a night out or a new pair of shoes, watch, or other small extravagance.  My career was very stressful, but knowing I would be able to relax in the evenings with the man who made me feel like royalty made it bearable.  Our time together was, (while not perfect... we did have disagreements...) meaningful, joyful, and loving. 

Then the unthinkable happened.  I awoke on the morning of November 3rd, 2014, to find my husband lying lifeless in bed, gray and unmoving.  In that instant, my heart, my security, indeed, my world, shattered. 

Winslow Homer's The Gulf Stream

Winslow Homer's The Gulf Stream

Since that day, I have at times felt adrift; a rudderless boat in a violent storm.  On the surface, everything is fine.  Underneath, I am trying to find a new normal- a new course, identifying what is important and beginning to live intentionally. Sometimes I feel like the man in the boat picture- alone, trying to stay afloat and steer clear of the hungry sharks while being buffeted by chaotic waves and being chased by the tempest on the horizon. 

I do know that the shore and safety are reachable, and there are rescuers in those who love me, but a few of the gales are meant for me to survive with my own knowledge, heart, wisdom, courage, and God's guidance.  Some lessons cannot be taught, only learned, and while I know my loved ones would strive to protect me from those, they are my own to bear and work through.

Positivity, love, creativity, and optimism have long been my hallmark traits.  They still are.  Grief, bereavement, loss, sadness, and fear of the future are also a part of me now, and I know I can work to incorporate them without damaging my body, mind, spirit or soul- breath by breath, step by step, day by day. 



ANOTHER Casserole?

I read somewhere a tip about receiving food in the days and weeks after a loved one dies.  This is something I experienced in force, since my husband was a chef, and that apparently means I had no idea how to cook.  LOL… And I have a lot of friends who LOVE to cook, so my fridge was quickly filled, and I wondered how on earth I was going to eat all that food!

The tip I read was to accept all food that people deliver to you.  You don’t have to eat it; it can be packaged and frozen for later use, or even thrown away if it’s something you wouldn’t eat.

When somebody dies, the people surrounding the bereaved want to do something to ease a pain that is really impossible to soothe.  Friends and family feel helpless as they see their loved one cry, sit in shock, and try to put one foot in front of the other, and cooking and delivering food to the bereaved is a concrete action they can take. 

If you look at the casserole, pot of soup, crock of beans, or other meal and feel overwhelmed by the amount of food coming in, invite the cook to join you in eating it- that way you get the benefit of some physical and also emotional nourishment, and you’ll both reap the reward of the kindness.  Them by seeing you eat what they made for you with love, and you by connecting with someone at a time when you feel so alone.

An Important Mission

... communicating with people who, like me, have lost someone very dear to them.  My husband died a little over 3 months ago and sometimes it seems that the time has flown; other times it seems that it has been an eternity since that awful day. 

  As Robert Frost put it, "The best way out is always through," and I am learning that grieving is a process- one that cannot be hurried or predicted

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