Maybe it is the fact that I have recently moved from the home Peter and I lived in for so many years, or the awareness of my own vulnerability, but I am experiencing more feelings of loss than usual. I know that dealing with house deeds, movers, and finances can elicit high levels of anxiety. But, for me, it triggers the cavernous need I have for Peter’s enveloping and swooping arms around me saying “it will all be OK.” I have been having moments, particularly at night, when the sobs come in torrents of wet undulating waves, and I feel my aloneness magnified to new heights.
Peter was a touch-oriented husband. He would kiss me good morning, and that was just for openers. He would nuzzle me on the nape of my neck to show his love. He would caress my hand while we were watching TV. He would brush up against me any chance he could get. He loved to know I was near and I did the same for him. I would burrow into his neck to get the scent of him; I would wrap my arms around him when we were standing near each other: and I wouldn’t miss a chance to reach out and grab hold of his wonderfully comforting hands. We clearly didn’t miss an opportunity to love each other which makes the lack of his touch even more poignant for me.
Loss is a new way of life for me. My grief sits somewhere inside my core, yes like the core I also work on in Pilates for strength. But this core is a weight which pulls down on my soul. It started out as a massive pile of hefty bricks, but over time, the pile has diminished in size as my surrounding self has expanded and grown in ways that I never believed possible. At first the weight of grief was unbearable and I was decimated by its power. I couldn’t get out from under it. I couldn’t find a way around it. The pile of bricks laid heavily on my being. But, in time, little by little, some of the bricks lifted and disappeared into the grief stratosphere.
Grief shapes my world. Grief defines who I am. I am a grief writer who vociferously enunciates the pain that grief foists on me. When widows and widowers write to me on my website, they tell me to keep talking about my feelings which makes them feel less alone. They are comforted by my words which mirrors their pain. I am changed forever by the loss of my loving husband. I am seeing the world no longer through rose-colored glasses, but through a pair of spectacles that sees the universe from a different and clouded perspective. By accepting the journey through grief, and traversing its long and windy path, I find myself damaged by my loss, but surprisingly able to move through with the growth in my life. By writing more, and receiving small specks of joy from helping others, I am able to diminish the bricks of pain inside me, and have the surrounding evolution of my new and different life have more significance.
At first, I was waiting to emerge as the person I used to be. Others said of me, “she’s doing so well, she will be back to normal soon.” They were rooting for me to be my old happy self but that disturbed me, because it diminished the love I had with Peter. I will never be my old self. Normal departed from my life. But I will take acceptably different, and work with that. I will try to reduce the amount of bricks in my core, but leave just enough to access the remembrance of my loss, when I get anxious. Having a moment of tears and longing for my husband’s arms is part of my restoration. When I least expect it, I will hear a bit of music; look at a breathtaking view; or go to a movie that triggers a wave of anguish that blindsides me and has me in a puddle on the floor. Somewhere in my psyche, I know this pain is situational and short-lived, and the assault of tears will abate and fade as quickly as they came.
I am acutely aware I will never get over the sadness of missing Peter’s warm touch on my being, but I will try to surround myself with good works, good friends, good food, and of course, good wine. My goal is to build up the positive area surrounding the bricks of grief which will put me on the right path to move forward as a transformed, and hopefully, improved persona.
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