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
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
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.