A volunteer from Hospice sent me a few articles the other day; they gave me a new outlook on love and marriage…
The print on love is by Elizabeth King:
Debi Winstead has seen her husband cry twice in 10 years. Once was when he took their dying dog, Aggie, to be euthanized.
I had no idea you could feel that much sorrow for an animal, she pondered.
Grief surprises many of us, partly because we think of it only when a loved one dies. Actually, grief is the natural reaction to loss of any kind, including losses that accompany happy changes, such as sending kids to college.
Darcie Sims is a psychologist and grief management specialist. She insists that grieving is not a sign of weakness, illness or lack of faith. “Grief is the price we pay for love.”
No two people pay that price the same way. Experts no longer believe that the grief process follows a predictable progression of linear stages. Today they tend to view grief as a highly individual process made up of four phases.
First comes shock, followed by a yearning to return to things as they once were. It can be triggered by glimpsing a stranger who resembles someone who has died, says Patricia Zalanik, certified death educator and author of a curriculum used in teaching about death.
For example, the uncle of a deceased teenager boards a city bus, sees someone who looks like his nephew and is so upset he has to get off.
Then comes disorganization and despair. For a widow, disorganization may mean worry about how the check book will be balanced if her husband handled the finances. Despair is the feeling of not wanting to even get dressed.
Eventually, a phase of reorganization brings a return to normal functioning, though it may be different than before.
Grief is neither neat nor easy. There is no schedule for grief and no “right way” to grieve. People may move back and forth among the four phases and all phases may last hours, days, weeks, months … even years. Along the way it’s normal to feel anger, confusion and depression.
To get through grief means to feel the hurts and express them; find a support group, a therapist, or friend who will listen. It may help to keep a journal. Even simple tasks can make a difference, like pounding nails to dispel anger or look at a scrapbook when sad.
Despite the pain, it’s possible to find hope. We will lose people and things we love, yet never have to lose love itself.
“My son died 14 years ago,” reveals Margaret Metzgar, founder and director of the Transitional and Loss Center in Seattle. “He’s physically not here, but the goodness of him lives on. All the love didn’t just vanish because he died. He’s still with me.”
As my beloved David will be with me always.
May Your Glass Always Be Half Full