Grief and Loss

Surviving the Death of a Loved One

Reflections of Vietnam

A Look at Relationships – Past and Present

Since my memoir, in part, is a story of what love means to me, I thought it might be a good idea to depict my view of life and how relationships developed in the early 1960s, without the aid of social media, when dating often developed into strong bonds which led to marriages that seemed to last.  In my opinion, back then, the mindset of many teenagers was to commit to finding a compatible partner in life, settle down and raise a family.

But, I also believe it was the beginning of a new generation where financial responsibilities were shifting, which began to affect the changing social attitudes young men and woman were feeling about love and marriage.  Since I have not done research into my theory, I am merely making off-the-cuff remarks based upon my view of how finances seemed to have changed the landscape of young marriages at that time.

To connect the dots, my purpose for discussing relationships, past and present, is to look back at pleasant memories, which is part of my own grief therapy.

As I said before, there was definitely a transformation occurring in our American Culture as far as the term breadwinner was concerned, as opposed to the personification of family life as depicted in the popular television series,”The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet” or “Leave It To Beaver.”  These idealistic family shows portrayed a stay-at-home mother, whose husband went out into the workforce to support the family.   I do believe my parents’ generation was the beginning of the end of this familiar way of life, since it was my experience that in order to survive financially during the time when I was coming of age, it took two paychecks to pay the bills; which eventually led to women seeking a higher education in order to provide a better future for themselves and their families.  From my observation, during the decades that followed, this financial burden put marriage on a back burner for many couples, until after they graduated from college.

Hypothetically speaking, I believe it is quite possible that the delay higher education imposed upon social commitments, which would previously have led to earlier marriages in prior generations, combined with the high influx of drug experimentation that developed . . . might have resulted in the explosion of a desire for the sexual freedoms that occurred during the 1960s, which ultimately changed the course of history as far as family values were concerned.

Unfortunately, I am getting off track, which is easy for me to do.  So, therefore, I will get back to the subject at hand, instead of providing my opinions about how relationships differed in the past.

In my manuscript, I briefly discuss how my love story began, in order to set the stage for the reader to understand the bond my husband and I were fortunate enough to develop, which solidified into a 49-year committed relationship.  It is the loss of the unity this bond represents . . . at the time when the bond is broken . . . that creates the struggle, the lack of desire to want to live on alone, that so many survivors must deal with.

Therefore, I bring to the table a story of survival.  It is not just an epitaph of the survival efforts of a terminally ill patient who valiantly fought an unsuccessful battle against pancreatic cancer.  It is also a story of survival of the one who was left behind.

As I have said before, and will most likely repeat many times again, the decision to create my website and write my blogs is intended to open a line of communication that I hope will provide survivors, who are struggling through grief, a place to find encouragement to get their life back on track.

So, you are invited to share the events that swept a young girl off her feet and created a love story which continues to this day.  And after reading my memoir you will understand that Till Death Do Us Part did not end the relationship for me, for I believe my husband’s spirit lives on through eternity.

During my melancholy moments, which still crop up like the crocus in the spring, I await the day when my spirit will undertake the mysterious journey which awaits me; at which time, I will discover the truth which lies behind the mystical veil I believe exists between my husband’s realm and me.

An Introduction to Alone in the Darkness, In Search of Hope.

Some people do not read the Introduction preface of a book, so I wanted to highlight a small portion of mine.  It was written to give my readers an opportunity to contemplate an interesting theory that I present as a thought-provoking philosophy regarding my perception of the meaning of life.

This short narrative alerts the reader, right from the start, that my book is not your average account of the five stages of grief that most authors highlight as the standard steps taken to survive the death of a loved one.  Instead, I focus on my life’s expectations, love, illness, and loss, as well as my experiences with the essence of the spirit’s existence after death.  Yes . . . I do mean literally speaking, free from exaggeration, experiences I have encountered with my husband’s spirit after his death.  But, in order to reach the point where I will discuss the effects my husband’s death had upon my life, I want to explain the philosophy my husband and I both shared, a bond we believe existed before we ever stepped foot on earth.

 “How many times have we heard the question, What is the meaning of life?  In response, my query would be: When we were born did we start life with a blank manuscript or have the opportunities we have been presented, which fill infinite pages, been eloquently written prior to our birth?

None of us know for sure.  So, given a choice, my belief that the achievement of the completion of a soul’s journey through the positive and negative events we are meant to encounter is the reason for life itself.  Therefore, I have faith that God, in His Almighty Wisdom, provides us with a life of constant change through various predetermined trials we are meant to endure to fulfill the purpose of our life’s journey.  

Because we have free will, we may either conquer or succumb to these challenges; but in the end, the quality of our existence may depend upon our willingness to travel difficult paths we would prefer to avoid.

When faced with adversity, my faith in God helped me learn from my life’s lessons, grow stronger from the experience, and pass on the wisdom I gained for the benefit of others. 

Each day is a new beginning, and the journey we take is intended to improve our life as a result of our experiences, both good and bad.  We need to learn how to overcome destructive forces we encounter, for we all have the ability to remake our lives after a catastrophe.  More important than the tribulations which test us during life are our reactions to these events, and how we handle their consequences.  It is the end result, that is to say, how we finish the course we travel, which counts the most.”

So, as we travel through a maze of unexpected events we are meant to encounter along our way, I believe our personal tree of life splits its branches into smaller tributaries which become our choices.  Multiply the tributaries by infinity and life as we know it is experienced.  Now, it is the choices we make when we grieve that determine how we handle our sorrow.

The direction we are meant to travel in life can be confusing after the death of a loved one.

In order to gain any benefit from my theory, you need to realize that I believe in God’s gift of free will, which allows us to choose a path that we determine fits our specific purpose.  My message merely suggests that without predetermined options, there would be no opportunities for us to pursue.

Although I will delve into the specific aspects my grief played upon my mind in subsequent blogs, I believe it is important to note that turmoil overtook  my life upon my husband’s death.  Never, in my wildest dreams, did I expect the negative psychological effects his death would have upon me.

Overburdened by my sorrow, my mind went into sleep mode.  Confusion became my constant companion, and I found it impossible to envision a useful purpose for my life.  That is to say, I was a lost soul until inspiration, what I call my encouragement from God, lightened my heavy load of grief, and I slowly found a path to follow that would help me heal.

So, how did I accomplish my goal?

Admittedly, early on, I found little consolation to help me handle my overwhelming grief.  There was a long period of time when I needed to be isolated from the realities of my situation.  But then, slowly, I discovered that by realigning my thoughts to fit my current situation, I found a way to let go of some of the anguish I associated with my loss.

I don’t want to mislead you into thinking it was a simple solution.  It was a lengthy process that took time and effort to recreate my life in a manner that allowed me to chip away at the subconscious concrete box my grief had encased around my mind.

Therefore, in order to recover, I took control of my future by not dwelling upon my past.  This statement is not intended to marginalize my anguish because sometimes the unthinkable thought that death might be preferable to the anguish I must endure would somehow creep into my mind.   I could only assume that these low moments of despair were meant to test my resolve, since this type of sinister consideration was not of my own conviction.

So, in order to find some resemblance of happiness in my shattered life, I looked to God for inspiration, since I believe we are all able to overcome the catastrophes that invade our lives.

I am here to say we can survive the death of a loved one.  Although my resolutions may not be the exact solution for everyone, my story renders the blueprint I used, which lay within my reach, to overcome my grief.

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