I found grace in pouring my love and care into the most unlikely gift I never would have wished for, my feathered friends or fondly called “the girls,” offered a tool of caring for others.
Caring for others builds happiness, offers structure and purpose but also gives us a reason to get up in the morning. Because so much of the first weeks, we are so traumatized and have so little energy, we function in unconscious automation.
For weeks, I pulled two plates out for dinner, an automated routine that I had performed for decades. Looking at the table, surprised that I did it again.
There are too many leftovers and the grocery cart needs adjusting.
“We” still exist in conversations, and I notice, I often speak in present tense. No one corrects me… His toothbrush is in place, and I fear if I throw it out, I will lose something irreplaceable.
The same with duplicate pictures and his emoji that waves at me. Some days I send it to myself, just in case for a moment, I relent my reality.
I resist leaving home in case I miss him somehow.
I feel guilty leaving him alone on the mantle. I regularly speak to empty walls and greet him every morning.
I often feel like I have forgotten something, or something is missing, and I can’t kind grasp what that might be.
I watch the same Netflix’s movies again and again, a mental reminder that I am not ready for new experiences, and yet I force myself to engage.
And, I have regrets. I wish I had recorded his voice or taken more videos or asked him where the water shut off is for the house. The stuff he would know, those everyday things we take for granted, are now out of reach. There are so many decisions to make, and they seem more difficult than before. And so, I change my mind often, wondering what he would do.
This is widowhood.
Then, there are the dreaded “firsts”. They often result in uncontainable sobbing, normal although inconvenient. I wear his oversized shirts and speak to him regularly. And I think about sex! Yup, strange but true and verified by other widows. And NO, I’m not looking. Possibly it a biological process deep within our reptilian brain that yells out; “find a mate.”
This is widowhood.
Evenings are deathly quiet. No one calls out to close my computer. I can watch every “chick flick” known to man. I have complete autonomy to do anything as I wish, except hold his hand. But most of all, I seem to have more time, endless amounts of time.
So, I take the time I need to heal. Because I must say yes, to my future.
Every day I make the choice, to place my feet on the ground. And my day begins with mindfulness. A spiritual ritual to strengthens and calms my inner world. Mindful practices generate resilience. Persistent practice creates and sustains inner harmony.
But on its own, it’s not enough.
I have found that healing is a body, mind, and soul solution.
For my mind, I regularly use NLP techniques; Neuro-Linguistics Programming; to release any anxiety. This puts me back into control and then I can talk about my loss without feeling devastated. Decisions about my future are restored. And, I stay in gratitude, so my focus is positive, and so I am tuned into my beautiful life again.
And my body requires activity as well, time in nature.
It is here, that I will share the tools, techniques that healed my body, mind, and soul
I consciously choose to lean into joy. To not become my trauma. To thrive, not just survive my grief, and I hope that for you too.
If your heart feels under siege, I encourage you to begin the process of healing now