A Reflection on Grief

How was it possible that I identified with the dry, curled up petals that fell from my poinsettia? I’m alive, but sometimes my experience of “widow-hood” means the lack of energy and enthusiasm I’ve felt since moving forward alone. Everything looks and feels different now-every minute. Fifty one years of marriage are now history. Even 9 years dealing with Bob’s lung cancer didn’t prepare me for this. Women willing to share their experience try to help since my husband passed. Friends and professionals guide me through urgent legal/ financial tasks. I’m thankful for that help which grounds me.  

Considering countless choices, I’ve begun constructing a new life after my “fork in the road.” What makes me feel alive? My energy is sorely limited. I seeking activity that builds rather than draining my spirit?  The many items we gathered together during our travels represent treasured memories. The photo books, art work, and music surround me in our home spark joy. For now, staying here seems my best choice. 

Grief hits hardest at the lonely end of the day. We enjoyed recapping our days together. Now I miss that more than anything. Stories pool in my head and heart. Stella, our Golden Doodle is a great listener, but her stories are sorely limited. No one is here to rely on my compassion, share frustration, joy or angst or let me know about theirs. I still have lots of love to share, but with whom?  I become restless without knowing how to deal with the problem. My daughters are busy with their own families, and I realize my active contribution to their lives is basically finished. I’m thankful for their families and busy lives. I know they love me, but I still feel a void in my heart-brain *. 

This quote seems to clarify my experience. “The worst part of grief is losing the outlet for my love.” God has certainly taken care of me since Bob passed. But I miss having someone to benefit from the love God still showers on me, keeping me alive.    

Playing one of Amy Grant’s early CD’s, her “Greet the Day” describes her daily prayer. She asks God to “lead me to the ones I need, and to the one who needs me”. Meditating on that, I know God has carried me through tough times. He can also guide me to connect with the people who are willing and able to give and receive what’s best for next steps. 

In the fatigue and fog of widowhood, I found myself more comfortable alone at home, sometimes pulling away from those I needed and those who needed my God-given gifts. People would ask “I haven’t seen you in ages! Where have you been?” The “in house retreat” was important for my healing.  But God’s love and provision is constant and free flowing. To keep it fresh and vital, it needs to be passed on to others, not to pool in my own spirit. Opportunities have begun presenting themselves, allowing me to pass it on.

Friendships and exercise, working out and laughing over coffee with WaterBabes gives me a boost, and the chance to enjoy friends. Threshold Singers allow me to channel love as our group sings for patients. I feel new peace each time we sing for someone. The recipients and their families appreciate our gift, and my relief at expressing that love brought my spirit back to peace. 

Looking back on the past years, I recall the theme words I prayerfully chose to guide my mindfulness and energy. While I was researching and writing Max Your Mind, 2014 the word was Study.  2015 required me to Trust as we travelled whenever the oncologist gave the green light, and as the book progressed through its growing pains. Beginning 2016, I chose Joy was the focus, but realized Boundaries were necessary as foundation for creating Joy. That took two years during Bob’s worst times. 2018 could only be Abide before and after he passed. 2019 was clearly my time for Self-Compassion.  Now, for 2020 I’m focusing on Gratitude, one of the big three elements to brain and body health as I gingerly make my way through writing, speaking, coaching, volunteering, creating, and enjoying friends-while honoring my energy limitations.Seeking the ones I need and the ones who need me feels like a comfortable way to start the New Year and new decade. 

Thanks for taking the time to join me on this journey. Bless You!

If you’d like more on the “Brain Team” of Head Heart and Gut, CVLR (Chippewa Valley Learning in Retirement) registration for the spring session will be held in February or on www.CVLR.org

We invite you to make healthy life changes for 2020.  Max Your Mind: The Owner’s Guide for a Strong Brain has suggestions that could help. Give it a try! 

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