Grief-is defined as a deep poignant distress caused by or as if by bereavement. Cause of such suffering; an unfortunate outcome.
When I started this blog a few years ago it was going to be about the ins and outs of grief. The process of moving through grief and the different stages. Needless to say, I am still learning about this process and the stages of grief. I assumed that losing a spouse would be the most significant kind of grief. I still believe that. I started "grieving" long before Shane ever passed. I've said before that I started grieving our lives as we knew it before chemo, pain meds, catheters, puke buckets, doctors visits, needle sticks, hospital stays, bad news after bad news. I grieved a man that was full of life and desired to be a part of every aspect of his kids lives. I still grieve that. The difference was I had him to grieve all of that with. He grieved with me. We were smack dab in the middle of the crappiest part of our lives...but he was with me to do so. I guess that may be the hardest part of this whole grief process, having someone to go through it with me, that truly understands. Yes, I have my 3. They, as children, grieve differently than I. They are responsible for their own grief, but me, I feel responsible for mine and for theirs. I try to guide them the best way I know how to deal with it. I admit, holidays are hardest. Starting in November we grieve more because of Shane's birthday, Thanksgiving and Christmas. I told a fellow widow the other day that I would have rather not decorated this year but with the kids, I needed too. I explained to her that this year while unpacking the decorations it felt like I was unpacking one. memory. at. a. time. Each ornament placed on the tree was an ornament that has some significance to our lives together or now our life without him. As Miss M would bring home a homemade piece of artwork, ornament, poem how I thought about the desire to share it with her daddy. Yes, 4 years later the grief is still raw, comes in waves, and you just never know when it will bring you to your knees, stop you in your tracks. I dread taking the decorations down. Always have. Always seems I am packing away such a happy time of year, getting ready for a new year. This year I dread it even more. As I unpacked one. memory. at. a. time. I will be packing them back up into bins for yet another year. Ebbs and flows.
For some reason I was thinking about how I have always hated the "new year." I blogged about it either before Shane passed or after, time runs together. I've always fought depression at this time of year. All the anticipation of Christmas- the love, joy, hope, family time, different routines, slowing down and especially the anticipation of Jesus. Then the 26th comes and its back to normal, pack up the joy, hope, anticipation and the "new year' smacks me in the face. I HATE change. I even hate changing the date from 2013 to 2014 on checks, etc. Hate it. Always have, always will. I find myself dreading the changes that come with a 'new year'- one more year closer to my kids growing up and away from me, a year of me getting older, a year of changes-good or bad. I was thinking that in a way I have always been in a state of perpetual grief. Grieving change even as a youngster. This past year I have grieved changes with my children, one growing into a man, one heading into puberty and my youngest going off to "big" school. I grieve each and every day she gets out of the car with tears in her eyes. I grieve the fact that she has now lived longer without her daddy than with him. Each passing year takes memories a little further away, a little more distant. I've grieved a new relationship coming to an end and with it relationships with a wonderful family, and the wonder of if I will ever be loved again. I've grieved with others as they watch their marriages disintegrate. I've grieved the fact the babies in my preschool class are walking, giving up bottles, growing up. Silly, I know, but I grieve these things. I grieve for neighbors that spent Christmas in the hospital with their son, after what was suppose to be a surgery to help him but has changed him, even if for a while. I grieve for an old friend that has just received the news that there is nothing more they can do for her husbands cancer. I grieve the fact that there is a tiny girl just beginning her battle with cancer. I grieve for an acquaintance that has recently lost her husband, which was also her only family. Know it all sounds gloom and doom, and some days it feels that way. Most days, however, the grief turns to joy. Somehow. Somehow, the grief of the every day, the grief of the smack dab in the middle of life turns to joy. The fact that I am able to watch the changes in my children-their growth, their tears, the changes they face brings me joy most days. The fact the we even HAVE memories of Shane to share in the middle of every day. The fact that Miss M had just a little time with him. I find joy that for a short time I found joy in a relationship. I found joy that God let me know that my heart was not in such disrepair that I couldn't feel love for someone. That my heart is big enough to allow others in. I find joy in knowing that I can talk to those who are hurting and let them know...I know how they feel. I find joy in seeing a mom's faith play out while she watches her son work so hard at rehab to become himself again. I find joy in knowing that a tiny girl will beat cancer and live to tell about it. I find joy in knowing that God allowed me to endure the past few years so that I can surely help my old friend facing the same that I've been through. And joy that her husband knows exactly where he is going and finds joy in that. I find joy that the acquaintance that recently lost her husband has reached out to me because she knows I can relate. Joy through grief. It can happen. I'm proof. Yep, some days you can see me and I may be full of gloom, doom and yuck. But most days you will find me smiling through it. We all grieve. Some have big reasons to be in the process. Some, like me, pre-cancer, pre-death of spouse, grieve the every day, smack dab in the middle of life stuff. Some are grieving the big stuff, death, divorce, sickness, but we all do grieve. Question is-- what we do with the grief. Do wallow, drown in it? Feel sorry for ourselves, feel helpless? Or do we pull ourselves up with the help of others and God? Thankfully, I choose the latter- I grieve with the help of others and God. I pray that JOY helps you grieve even in the big and small stuff. As you reflect on the past year and the upcoming year I hope you chose JOY in the every day, smack dab in the middle of life kind. Happy New Year!!
" The Joy of the Lord is my Strength"(Neh 8:10)-- through my grief.