How we cope with grief and loss is a personal issue:
Coping with grief and loss is a personal issue, but until the day arrives when you become the designated recipient of this earth-shattering experience, it is impossible to understand how deep a loss can be suffered by the one who is left behind.
My life, as I knew it, was about to change forever . . . when in the spring of 2015, I told my daughter that her father was diagnosed with a terminal cancer and he didn’t have long to live. Her immediate response was that it wasn’t fair. She actually told me she was mad at God.
So, to comfort her, I told her we are all born to die. I explained that Our God is a God of Love, but unfortunately we cannot enjoy the tenderness of love without ultimately facing the grief the death of a loved one brings.
At that moment in time, I am not quite certain who I was trying to comfort more, my daughter or myself . . .
My memoir delves into the details of my husband’s sudden and unexpected proposed diagnosis of a terminal illness, and discusses how life’s uncertainties created turmoil in our lives. Although during his diagnostic period there appeared to be little hope, my husband fought a valiant battle to live life to its fullest for his remaining time on earth, instead of dwelling in self-pity. His resilience helped me handle many of the sad and difficult steps we needed to take, in preparation for his death, as we traveled down a path of no return.
Life goes on:
Over three years have passed since that fateful disclosure, through perseverance, I learned how to deal with my loss. You can be certain that it wasn’t a quick or easy fix.
In my youth, I had never experienced the emotional turmoil associated with grief until my material grandfather died about six months prior to my wedding. At this time, I was 22 years old. Since no one in my immediate family had died as of yet . . . fate, so far, had spared me the anguish of this difficult part of life Even though my family had moved away from Brooklyn, NY, six years before my grandfather’s death, and we didn’t visit often, I remember suffering through lingering bouts of sadness that only my tears could relieve. Although I can’t remember the insensitive person who told me to “get over it” when a month had passed and I still suffered through the pain my grief inflicted upon me, I do recall that it hurt to think people thought I overreacted to the overwhelming loss I felt as a result of his death.
This revelation has had a lasting effect upon the way I view grief, and the empathy I feel for those who suffer through their loss. Oddly enough, I find it difficult to attend funerals for acquaintances because I feel the pain suffered by the survivors who are associated with each death, even when the decedent may be unknown to me. Nevertheless, I try to keep my composure when I attend these gatherings in order to offer my moral support for the living, who benefit the most from the condolences they receive.
Taking all of this information into consideration, it wasn’t until my husband’s death that I experienced life-altering effects upon my mental capacity that disabled my abilities to think. Although I understood what it meant to suffer sorrow as a result of the loss of a loved one, I tried to explain my disheartening thoughts in my book when I said, “As a result of my devastating loss, grief had also stolen my personality. My heart had been swallowed by my anguish, and I needed to find a way to climb my way out of the depths of despair. I learned how dark the world could be, even when the sun was shining and the birds were singing, because their love songs were wasted on me. Contentment became a word without meaning.”
Don’t look back:
So, when I found myself to be an involuntary member of the society of mourners who suffer daily from the side effects of grief, I was unprepared to deal with the anguish that followed. After my husband’s death, I often wondered if I would ever be able to appreciate life again without him.
As the reality of my situation quickly sank in, it resulted in unimaginable negative effects upon me. In time, I learned that the answer to healing my sadness didn’t lie in hiding from my pain; it was to be found in my ability to confront my current situation and deal with the feeling that I no longer had a purpose in life.
Finding a solution to overcome my grief seemed unattainable, but I slowly healed as I stumbled through life, especially since I had no other choice.
Where do I go from here?
In order to enjoy life, we search for love, which comes in many fashions.
Obviously, it is the sudden loss of this profound emotion that causes us grief. But, when you think about it, it is better to have love in our life than to live without it.
If I could go back in time to change my life in order to avoid all of the pain and sorrow coping with my husband’s illness and death bestowed upon me, would I? Of course not! Especially, since it is my belief that God granted our spirit the precious gift of love in order to allow humankind to enjoy this wonderful emotion, which is unparalleled in design to any of the other experiences we are intended to explore as we travel through life.
Therefore, it is my intention to open the pages of the book of my life in order to inspire hope and encouragement to the grief-stricken souls on earth. Please listen when I say that it is possible to rebuild your life after the death of your loved one . . . it just takes time.