Grief. I've learned so much about this very difficult and painful emotion. When I think about it, my grieving started several years ago when I first became aware of what was happening, that dementia was taking over the life of my dear husband. I grieved every day, some days were harder than others. And once he had transitioned from this life, the grief of course did not go away. It was there, and is still there today and every day.
I remember shortly after he passed, I started thinking that eventually I would be able to move beyond all this grief and sadness, and find my way to an emotional equilibrium. I should be able to eventually get over it, right? I mean, I'm not going to be grieving and sad for the rest of my life, am I?
Not that long ago, I came to the realization that I'm a different person now. I can never go back to who I was before dementia came into our lives. Our life together, and then the subsequent loss of his life is a part of who I am now. This is who I am. Forever changed by our love that we had for each other, by our life together, and then by the loss of his life. And that's OK.
So what does that mean for my future life? I'm still figuring that out. Healing is taking place; I find great solace in reading. Two of my favorite authors, May Sarton and Mary Oliver have been a source of comfort to me. Oliver writes poetry exquisitely with a theme of nature that is so comforting. Sarton journals insightfully about her life, her observations, and her healing from life's difficulties.
I also find great comfort in reading Thich Nhat Hanh. He has helped me to open my heart and my mind to a more spiritual way of thinking.
This is my reading corner. My condo overlooks a stream that is just beautiful. Such a peaceful setting, providing tranquility. I'm so grateful for such a lovely living space.
I still see Dr. M. on a weekly basis. From the beginning, she reassured me that I would not have to walk this journey alone. What a tremendous support she has been, providing me guidance, insight, and helping me to heal. Her deep compassion and empathy have allowed me to begin the journey of healing.
My dear friend Jabberwalky is still in my life. We have developed a lovely friendship over the last 4 years; first by following each others' blogs, and then through email correspondence for a closer connection. She too, has a spouse with dementia and knows only too well how difficult, sad and lonely it can be. Lately we have been doing FaceTime, which has been great. We're hoping for an in person visit sometime in the future, once it becomes safe to travel again. The support that we have been able to provide for each other has been nothing short of amazing. So grateful for this connection and friendship.
Jabberwalky shared with me 4 words that have helped her, and that I have taken to heart.
It's OK to grieve, it's OK to feel sad. And breathe, just breathe. This is all part of the healing process.
The hard part; Accept. But so important. And that is where I am at now. Starting to accept that this is who I am; forever changed by life experiences. I am a different person. And you know, I think I'll be OK. I've become very introspective as I sort things out and figure out my way forward.
I still feel his presence every day. I know he is with me, and there is joy and comfort in that knowledge.
So will I be sad and grieving for the rest of my life? I think the answer is yes. Will it change and become less intense as time goes on? I believe so. I do manage to find joy in my life. Family and friends are so very important.
An irony of sorts, that the deep grief that I feel is evidence of the deep love and connection that we shared. I'm so grateful for that life of love that we shared.
Life is precious as it is
All the elements for your happiness are already here
There is no need to run, strive, search or struggle
-Thich Nhat Hanh