No; grief is not good. Not one bit!
So I signed on for six grief counselling sessions with a small group of people who’ve all recently lost someone near and dear. As the saying goes; misery loves company. But really, if we haven’t already been there, then we will be there at some point in our lives. Be it the loss of a parent, partner or pet; when it happens, it’s devastating. And it can make you question your own mortality.
After losing my husband, the loss hit harder a few weeks later because I was so preoccupied taking care of arrangements, paperwork, banking and other stuff almost immediately after he passed.
When the floral arrangements that were strewn all over my house dried up and I took away the sympathy cards which were sitting on my mantle…I had a good cry. And I’ve been crying ever since. Not continuously mind you. I find joy in little things every day. But off and on, here and there I feel sadness and void.
There’s a photo I took of Don and his brother George (who surprised him with a very welcome visit in July) that was sitting above the fireplace mantle with other photos. It was taken on the day George was leaving to fly back to Toronto and we were trying to coax Don out of his hospital bed to the outside courtyard for a few last photos of the two of them together. Seemed like an easy task but he was pretty bed ridden at that point and it took a lot of effort for him to get up and get out the door even with our help. But he managed, and I was able to take a few photos of the two on a nice summer day, both wearing blue shirts against a colorful backdrop. But I could see the strain on Don’s face. It was a very emotional time.
I ended up taking that photo and placing it in a less prominent spot because it’s such a bittersweet moment. Even now whenever I look at it I can burst into tears…thinking about his decline and his good nature, how he never complained, didn’t like to put people out and still wanted to look after everything. It’s painful actually. More than a husband, Don greatly influenced my life and I will forever miss him. Somebody said “You miss Don, but he won’t be missing you because he is still with you – you just don’t see him.” Ahhh…nice sentiment. And his energy is all around I know but still…
Therefore counselling is worth a try to hear other people’s stories and find out how to manage the pain which comes in waves and at unexpected moments. A good friend sent me a book entitled “When Things Fall Apart” written by Pema Chodron. She said it helped her get through a nasty divorce which although not a death, is a death of a partnership in life. I’m reading it now.
Grief takes as long as it takes and no one knows how long that will be. In the meantime here are a few books that may help in the process if you are experiencing a loss:
Great Books on Consciousness, Death, and the Afterlife
I haven’t read a so-called “self help” book in a long time. Don provided for me all the “self help” I required because he was wise and pragmatic. He made sense of everything and gave me confidence in my abilities.
Another month has just crept up on us…