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 I enjoyed, 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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