Every Wednesday

Every Wednesday I will post something about grief. Sometimes it will be a reflection on an aspect of grief’s landscape. Now and then I will share from my own journey of grief, because in the sharing of our stories we find strength and build a community of people that support one another.

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Monday, July 12, 2010

Cabin in Grief's Forest

February 11, 2009

My heart has been broken and love has died, but I will survive with the compassion of friends.
The kindness of others has kept me going when my wife Evelyn suddenly died. I did not know what to do, and could find no resources that explained grief's journey — what it would feel like or how long it would take. So I went searching and found answers.

I write this blog for those who begin to grieve after me, sharing what I have learned about the way ahead. I also write for those who haven’t experienced grief and want to know what they can do and say to help friends who are grieving.

During the first year of grief, I lost touch with who I was. My new identity as a widower in his 40s felt strange. I didn’t know how I was supposed to act, and I no longer cared about the future. Rather than make bad decision for the wrong reasons, I made no decisions at all and drifted for months on a current of indifference.

Eventually I started taking chances because life had become boring. Each morning I looked at my options and made myself choose one. Each night I thought about the day to see where it had flowed, where it had blown up, if there were any moments that were enjoyable, and if anyone had said something that seemed important for me to remember. I wrote everything down in a journal to help me deal with each day’s grief. 

I could handle grief if I focused on getting through one day at a time.

I wanted to face the struggles as they came, deal with them and let them go, so that I could start fresh in the morning.

For months it felt like I was living alone in a cabin out in a forest I did not know. Slowly the hours began to connect into days, then weeks, as my journey through grief continued.

I suspected there were other people who felt alone because of their own grief, people in other cabins scattered throughout grief’s great Forest. And I began to meet them.

May we find the paths that lead us to each other.

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