You may have heard there are stages of grief we all go through. If you google it, you might see there are five stages. Another article may say there are seven stages. Still others say there are really no stages at all. Perhaps grief consists of emotions in no particular order and not everyone may experience all of them. Although I am no doctor, and I don’t even play one on TV, I choose to believe the latter. In fact, science is acknowledging that more today than they did before, realizing the so-called “stages” of grief were misinterpreted. Grief is not linear, nor does it follow a timeline.
When I first became a widow, I heard about five stages of grief. I looked at them, but they did not all pertain to me. One stage or emotion I did not experience was anger. I wasn’t angry at Randy, at God, or anyone else. I couldn’t be angry at Randy. He hadn’t asked for his illness. I wasn’t angry at God either. If anything, I was grateful that Randy was no longer suffering. My own personal faith told me that he was healed after death. That brought me some comfort. Your spiritual faith, your guidance, or your direction may be different from mine. I speak only for myself. I know there are many women who do experience anger. Sometimes there are lots of it. Sometimes it is because of the circumstances surrounding the death.
Another emotion some women go through is bargaining. Randy’s death, even though he was ill, was sudden and unexpected. There was no time to bargain. I don’t think I would have even if there were time. Neither did I bargain to take the grief away. I knew I had to go through it to heal.
We experience many emotional parts of our grief in similar ways. Still, there are differences in the way we choose to handle or get through our grief journey. There is no date on the calendar that states our grief time is up and we must move forward. Some people are ready to move forward after a short while. Some people go years before being ready. Still, others wonder if they will ever be ready. Let it be your decision and no one else’s. Don’t let anyone pressure you or make you feel bad because you haven’t moved on yet or that you are moving forward too quickly. In my nonmedical opinion, grief is just a jumbled-up mess that comes and goes. It is the price we pay for loving someone as much as we did.
Know that it is okay to move on when you are ready to do so. It is going to be a gut instinct you feel with a strong desire to put the sad, heart wrenching days behind you. You will be ready to discover and start living your new normal. I sometimes refer to this as your true north. Don’t be like I was and worry that the world might judge you for the decision you make. Only you know what’s in your heart. Only you know what your marriage truly meant to you and always will. Don’t let anyone diminish what your marriage meant to you because you want to move forward.
I personally believe we are not made to be alone. We as humans are social by nature. The loneliness I felt was not fun. My life alone was miserable. Being alone and not socializing with friends or family for long periods of time is not a healthy way to live.
I suggest you contact your friends and ask to go to dinner, coffee, or to a movie. Chances are they have already asked you and you turned them down. Consider contacting them now. Start with small steps. Find groups you can join in your area that share your same interests.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I am in no way implying that moving on means you must meet someone else and date or marry. That may or may not be for you, now or ever.
Moving forward means just what it says. It’s grabbing hold of that rope and finally making your way out of the dark hole. Moving forward means that you see things more clearly than you have seen them in a long time. Moving forward means you want to live the rest of your life. Moving forward means you look at your future now with more hope than dread. And lastly, in my opinion, moving forward means you are honoring your husband’s memory in a special way; to go on living.