I recently began reading a book that was given to me about the grieving widow. It's called "I'll Be All Right" by Paulette Shockey, Ph D. I'm about half way through it now. I find that parts of her book are difficult for me to relate to my own processes and feelings. I opened this book knowing everyone's grief is different. But, at the same time, I was longing for some connection. As I forged ahead, I did discover a few passages that I could connect with. Things I was experiencing, or feelings I was having that I didn't know what to do with; and still don't. But, boy, she nailed it.
I'd like to share those passages with you now. All credit on the following passages goes to Paulette Shockey, PhD; excerpts from her book "I'll Be All Right" published and copyrighted in 2004.
"Gradually my friends and others close to me returned to their normal lives surely thinking, and even expecting, I would soon do the same. I didn't and couldn't. I no longer have a 'normal' life. When the numbness began to wear off, my comforters were no longer close by. For them, this time of grieving was over. They didn't realize that for me it would never be over, at least, not completely. Meanwhile, the reality of the situation slowly dawned "I am alone..." "
Paulette later goes on to discuss how to handle this type of change in dynamic with those around us. She says:
"It is important to find several friends who will allow you the luxury of grieving and 'talking sad'. You will need to share honestly with them that you just need someone to listen long enough to allow you to 'think out loud'. Assure your supports that you are not obsessing or looking for answers. The listening friend only needs to nod and speak a few 'uh huhs' from time to time. Most of our friends just don't know what to say when we bring up the subject of our husband. So, tell your friends what you need to hear or what you need from them. Because your grief work will extract great energy from your supporters, remember to share with only a few very close friends who will promise to listen, and not try to give answers".
I am happy to say that I have been in contact with Paulette directly, and I have a feeling she will become someone I can 'talk sad' with. I feel that having her to talk to will continue to help me through this process. Between her, and all of my friends and family, I already have so much support. I love all of my friends so very much. They are the most amazing people. I am so very blessed to have been able to surround myself in love. But at the same time, I fear that I may become a burden. A Debbie Downer. Of course, this is to be expected; my sadness, that is. But as Paulette said, for those around me, my grief is very draining for them as well. I have already learned this and it is something that I've been trying to work on. Feeling that need to reach out, but not wanting to drain those that I love. It's a fine line to have to walk. I concentrate often on how much I choose to express, and to whom. I'm sure this will get easier with time. And easier as my grieving process continues.
The more I work at this, the easier it will get. It will take time. A whole lot of time. But I know I can make it. It's just trial and error at this point. I'm going to make mistakes. I will find myself doing things that won't work for me. I will say things that don't come out right, and may offend. I will stumble. But I will learn. And I will grow. I just need to make it known, to all of you out there, that I could never do this without your love and support. As confused as I am, there is no question in my mind about the love of my friends and family. I need you all desperately, and I want you to know it. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. With all that I have, I love you.