Little By Little

So many things worried me when my husband died.

I lost sleep over my worries, and if I managed to work through a worry, five more came flying into my mind, and they just kept on coming, flooding in, taking over my exhausted mind. It never stopped.

They fell into two types.

The first ones, I expected, so things like worrying about how I would cope financially - makes sense right? You go from two salaries to one, with no life insurance cover, money is going to be right up there on the list of things to stress about.

I worried about how I was going to go on living without him and just how I'd cope. He was my everything, he was my best friend, and he'd always been there at my side to listen and support me, I was terrified about what the future held.

Then there were things I just didn't even consider. I was worried I'd forget his voice, how he smelt, just everything, and then there was the one that I found really hard, and only really transpired as a worry over time. Worrying about "letting go" of my loss.

Letting go of it felt like treachery. I felt I should feel the pain 100% forever, and that I should never feel okay. Being in a permanent place of sadness and mourning felt respectful, any sign of happiness, no, that's just not allowed. We'd promised to love each other forever, and I felt I was betraying his trust somehow.

My mind is an awful place at times. When I think back to these times now, I feel so sad at what I believed, felt, and thought back then. It was bad enough that my husband had died, never mind punishing myself at the sign of anything other than sorrow.

I learnt that letting go of loss was not a bad thing. I learnt that if I was to ever find my new normal, I needed to be kinder to myself.

Slowly letting go of the loss made space for other things, it made space for feeling love and joy from all the memories er made together. Photos started to make me smile instead of making me cry because I would never make a memory with him ever again. It was so difficult but I had to do it, my life really did depend on starting this shift in my brain.

It wasn't quick, it's a real internal fight, you want to feel the pain because it shows you loved them, hurting means love, pain means a commitment to what you've lost. It isn't true.

It can be done. Just remember that you're never letting go of love. That love will stay with you forever. How could it not? Love runs deeper than the wedding vows, "til death do us part". You love them in life, and in death.

My "now" compared to "then" is a stark contrast. Now I am content, I miss him and always will, but I feel so lucky for the time we had, and so many people never have a shot at love, never mind find true love and their soulmate. I'll take that.

Helping Others Understand

I will never forget the first time I tried to explain this to a friend who'd never experienced a death, and their reaction to my feelings, they were appalled, and really upset that I felt the need to try and hold on to the loss as some "badge of honour".

That felt harsh, but I did grow to think they might be right. Not that I felt proud of feeling sad, but when you're sad, people know you're grieving, and in pain. I will never forget going to the cinema with some friends to see a funny film, and afterward being told how lovely it was to "see me back to my happy self". It is comments like this that make those who grieve feel awful. I was not my normal self, I am not happy, I just happened to be present in my life and found myself able to laugh without remembering the past or worrying about the future.

A moment of happiness does not equate to us being normal, it often equates to just living life in that moment, a distraction from the grief. We don't need you to tell us that it's nice to see us smile, or see us happy, really we don't, it just brings on the guilt. Just accept any moments of relief from the grief, and smile, knowing what it means to us.

As always, four very simple ways you can help us:

Just be there, be present, be kind and listen.


Recent Posts

See All