Sunday, January 20, 2008


I cannot claim to understand the pain and sadness and distress you have been facing - it is so different for each person and situation - but I do really feel for you in your pain and loneliness.

No doubt, there are plenty of well-meaning people who are trying to help you “bounce back” or ”find things to take your mind off your grief” or "move on."

But you don't need any of this. You need time to really feel sorry for yourself, because this is what gives meaning to what you have lost.
You do not bond into a partnership with another person - in this case, your Beloved - over 47+ years, and then get used to being alone in just a few weeks.

You need time to be still and quiet, to mull over things, to adjust your mind and thinking to the enormous change in your life. You do not necessarily need distractions, because these only take you away from the important process of going through the memories one by one, running your fingers over them, and then arranging them on the shelf of your life's experience in a way that is meaningful and satisfying.

It could be said that you really need time to "re-invent yourself."
And do you know, I think that grieving can be even harder for a creative person? Because if you do manage to get absorbed into a creative activity that keeps you busy, and disengages the stressing and grieving part of the brain, then you feel guilty about it, and can hold you back on the journey of working through your grief.
Then again, there may- or will - also come a time when you can use your art/craft to express your grief, record your memories, and reinforce those things that continue to give you pleasure.
But for a while, you may find that you are more at peace with something mindless, soothing, repetitive, so that you can let your mind wander over all that has happened and all that you face for the future.

I have fallen into the trap of using the word "time" repeatedly. You are probably tired of hearing it. "Time heals all wounds"...."Time will fill the gap." But what you are facing is here and now - and you must deal with in your way and at your own pace.
Yes, you need people around you.
You need people who will help with those practical and physical tasks that he used to do, or give you helpful advice in those areas of your life for which he used to take responsibility.
You need people to just be with you at some of those times when you feel your "oneness"most deeply - the mealtimes, the social functions, the celebrations.

Most of all, you need people who will listen, who will encourage you to ramble, who will ask you about your memories. You need people who are not afraid to mention his name, and who do not avoid or skirt about the subject of your loss. People need to show that your loved one was very real, and has not simply vanished as if he never existed.

Your friends cannot take away your pain. We can perhaps take opportunities to help you smile, or even laugh. We can tell you how much we care. And as you take the first faltering steps down the path that is the rest of your life - a path that only you can choose and map out - we can assure you that we will be there to support and encourage you.


Anonymous said...

Mary, what a beautifully written piece, very heartfelt. And uout little island looks so restful. Debbie

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for these words. I know they were written for another but I will treasure them none the less.


Anonymous said...

Apparently my first attempt got lost!
Thank you,Mary for such understanding: truly balm to a grieving heart.

Lindi said...

I keep coming back to re-read this. So beautiful, so calming and so profound.
Thank you for sharing it.

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