Yesterday: one of those days

Apr 17, 2020

I’ve been widowed since September, 2012. I’ve learned that profound loss sets us on a path that is messy, winding, unstructured and not linear. There are no stages and no rules.  

I’ve come to understand that there is pain that comes with the territory of our loss, and that we can also create additional, unnecessary suffering by judging ourselves and our journey. 

I had such a small amount of energy and it wasn’t long before I realized that I could spend all of it on judging myself. Analyzing whether I was grieving “correctly,” and “on schedule.” Lamenting my brain’s inability to read a simple paragraph and understand it.  

To use my small amount of energy in those ways didn’t serve me. So I made a decision to give up the judgement.  

If I was a mess by 9 a.m., I simply made that observation without judgement. If I fell apart in the canned food aisle, I wiped my tears and kept shopping. I didn’t make my tears mean that I wasn’t doing it right, or that I should be further along or that I was somehow failing at grief. In fact, I didn’t make it mean anything at all.  

I decided that I would grieve my way, on my terms, on my timeline, and without the structure of the stages of grief (which were created for the dying, not those left behind…which must be why they never helped and in fact, made me angry every time I read them).  

Although I still had the same, microscopic amount of energy, I could use it for other things. It was one of many waypoints in my journey.  

Yesterday I had several work meetings via Zoom. On my desk is an electronic picture frame that rotates through photos, many of which are of my husband. The more photos of him I saw, the more I ached for him, and the more tears I fought back, hoping none of my coworkers would notice.  

More than seven and a half years later, it was a tough day for unknown reasons. Those days happen less frequently now than before. But I still didn’t make it mean anything. I just observed it and when I had a moment to myself, I just let the tears flow and felt the ache.  

However today is for you, know that it’s okay. You are navigating some heavy things and there is no roadmap. There is no right and wrong, no timelines, no linear steps. If you’re not okay, that’s totally okay. If you are okay, that’s also fine. Observe what is, and let it be whatever it is.  

Although it seems like a small step, it can be a significant help in your journey.  

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