I began writing Cry Laugh Heal in December 2010 to start an online discussion about grief and resilience, in particular to talk about the many ways we process it and how we can arrive at the realization that we can find strength and a different kind of future through our pain.
My husband died in 2003 and I found that grief was not a topic most people wanted to talk about. What a surprise right? Of course, it was a subject I could go on and on about but in general it really makes people feel very uncomfortable and they would much rather talk about anything else.
I decided that by going online I could help myself and hopefully others as we tried to figure out what loss feels like and how we can somehow go on with other lives without that loved one being with us.
It is a difficult path but when you reach out to others it can make a difference in your outlook on what to do next. Psychologists often cite isolation as one of the many dangers of grieving. I am not totally self-reliant and, as far as I know, no one else is either. It's a wondrous thing that we need each other. Truly it is. Loneliness is not a sign of weakness. We as humans are hard wired to connect with each other and loneliness is a signal that we need to bring people into our lives.
Being vulnerable can be scary but I have found through an honest discussion of my grief feelings that it has given me a sense of renewal; a feeling that I can go forward as I continue to process and extend my hand to others because we are all in this blessed life together.
Yesterday, a wonderful friend sent me a link to a post from another widow who through her writing was extending her hand to others and letting them know that she can still can be taken back to those feelings and memories many, many years after her husband's death.
I am sharing below the touching post today from Carol Joynt (www.caroljoynt.com) and thank her for opening up and sharing her vulnerability:
I write this for lots of reasons but in particular for a woman I met last night who just lost her father.
We sat next to each other at dinner. We talked about death and grief for quite a while. And that's what this is about. Death and grief and healing and moving on. She's worried about her mother, now left without her soul mate after 34 years of marriage.
That's why it's a rough week for me. At this time 17 years ago, my husband of 20 years was spiraling toward his death, which came on the morning of February 1. I held his hand as he died.
Yes, 17 is a lot of time. But, then again, it isn't. No matter how many years pass, these few weeks of winter, with their tell-tale signs, bring back the three weeks he was on life support at the Washington Hospital Center. I shuttled back and forth between home and the waiting room, usually in a daze, when I wasn't sleeping on the waiting room floor, or crying, or begging God and doctors. Outside was ice and cold and an overall bleak landscape. As now. So it comes back in memories stirred by January.
The loss of a loved one is awful in duplicate, triplicate and a compound of that. I wouldn't wish my loss on anyone. But you do move on. The pain does become less sharp. I mean, what's the option?
She asked me what I miss. I miss being loved, having the best friend, the reliable other, the person who had my back, who believed in me when I didn't, who made me laugh when I couldn't, who was a handyman and a bon vivant and was happy just staying home, the three of us. I thrived on his view of the world and his sense of humor. The fact he loved me as much as he did was the cliché: wind beneath my wings. These aren't small values.
Every day since is uphill. But you do it. Me and every other woman and man who has lost their soul mate.
So, if I'm not all smiley this week, or if I seem inappropriately morose, it's not you. It's me. A brief pause in the past. And then, forward.