Daily Reminder of Surviving Partner Loss


I was at the post office picking up the mail a couple of weeks after my

loss. It was always such a painful experience since Rob was dead but

continuing to get mail. Each envelope and package addressed to him was a

gentle reminder of my loss.


An elderly neighbor came in and told me how sorry she was for my loss.

She said, “Don’t worry about it. You’re young. You’ll meet someone

else.” At the time I was still so raw in my grief and could not imagine

such a thing happening, nor did I want it. I drove home thinking, “Why

me?” She still had a husband, so it was easy for her to say that. She

couldn’t understand my pain.


When we are early on in our grief the sadness and pain are all

consuming. There is not much anyone can say to change that thought

process. We miss the one we love and the life we had. Just hearing

someone say that it will get better can be frustrating and unbelievable.

Nobody can take away our pain. It belongs to us. It’s ours exclusively.


Surviving Partner Loss Continues


We need to feel the pain of grief to accept the reality of our new

situation. A place we are in that we never wanted or expected.

As our journey continues and time moves inevitably forward, we begin to

be more open to healing and going forward. We are more accepting of the

notion that life does go on and there are still relationships that

matter and love that exists all around us.


Beginning of Acceptance


That’s how it works. First, we feel the pain and then we begin to see

the meaning. We move from a place of asking, “Why me?” to a place of

asking, “Why not me?”. Instead of thinking how horrible it was that a

death occurred to us, we realize death is a natural part of life. It

touches everyone and then takes everyone. Just as we are all born, we

all die.


Acceptance takes time. It doesn’t happen until we stop thinking that we

had the power to change the outcome. That we had control over what

happened. If only we (or someone else) had done something different, the

outcome would have changed. The death wouldn’t have occurred. But we

don’t have such powers. We don’t have such control. The reality is that

there is no answer to “Why?” Life is full of the random.


If we ask any person, “Have you ever had something bad happen to you?”

Most likely the answer would be “Yes.” Not many people could say, “No.”

Nobody gets out of this life untouched by some grief or loss.


Making the Best of the Bad


It is the time on our journey when we become aware of the fact that this

bad thing that happened is not the only bad thing that has ever

happened. It may be the “worst” bad thing that ever happened but not the

only one.


Life has good times and bad times. The journey is as it’s destined to

be, and we walk forward through both. This bad time may not be the last,

but we must also never lose sight of the good times and those to come.


The journey is not over. We’re here for a reason. Perhaps to touch

someone’s life the way our loved one touched ours.


This is an excerpt from Gary Sturgis’ book, Surviving: Finding Your Way from Grief to Healing. It is available on Amazon.com.


Gary Sturgis

Gary Sturgis survived the greatest loss of his life and now works as a Grief Specialist, Bereavement Facilitator and Speaker, guiding and supporting others in their struggle with grief. Facilitating both Support Groups and Workshops, he finds it a gift to be able to help others navigate their way through the maze of grief in a very personal and meaningful way. He lives by the ocean in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

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