The phone rang that day… I picked it up, and most of you that know me, know this is something I rarely do. I’m a texter, not really a phone talker.. but I answered this incoming call for some reason. I’ll never forget the way my stomach felt as I heard the words… “He’s gone”. It felt like my stomach fell through my entire body, and through my feet and crashed through a hole in the floor. My head spun, I tried to wrap my mind around the concept of losing the one person in the entire world I had ever loved completely, unconditionally, and knew he loved me the same way. My eyes darted around hearing the words, but not fully comprehending what I was hearing. I dropped to my knees in the middle of my kitchen, and a guttural sobbing came forth from the depths of my soul.
That was the day my life changed FOREVER. The next couple of months are an absolute blur, the wake~ the funeral~the wide awake nights, sitting on the floor in my bedroom against the two walls in the corner of the room sobbing.
Loss and grief washed over me….One cloudy memory of the funeral I recall was I remember standing at his casket, draped with the American flag and sobbing, and someone big (maybe my brother, Jarrod, my cousin or my uncle (?) I’m not even sure who because my eyes were practically swollen shut from crying so much~and still to this day I don’t know who it was); as he wrapped his big arms around me, pulled me to himself and I cried out with an aching in my soul
“Ohhh I loved him so much”
… and as the grief overwhelmed me I bent in half, from the waist… sobbing like I’d never stop. He held me by the shoulders and picked me up and said, “and you still do…and that won’t ever change”….
That was an eye opening moment for me… after experiencing such a PROFOUND loss in my life, not knowing how I was going to go on… realizing this was FOREVER, and then coming to the gradual and horrifying realization that I would not see him again until we were reunited in death, in the afterlife. The pain as the truth slowly set in, realizing I had to get up everyday without him. Wishing I could have had just ONE MORE conversation with him. Wishing I could see his face… because when he first died, I couldn’t see his face in my mind… that took a couple of months to have a memory again of him talking, smiling, laughing~or even the silly way he would put his elbows on the table at dinner time. I couldn’t remember him, I was in such shock initially.
A friend of mine suggested a book, “Living with Loss: One Day at a Time” and at first I was angry..I was thinking, what does SHE know about loss?? what could a book possibly do for me? all I wanted was him back. I didn’t want to read. I didn’t want to do ANYTHING at all, I wanted to die… I wanted to be with him… and then one day it struck me to open the book and just SEE what it was about. Living with Loss: One day at a time (by Rachel Blythe Kodanaz) is almost like a devotional… you read one page at a time to help you get through THAT day.
We’ve all heard of 12 step programs that tout the “One day at a time” concept… you don’t have to worry about the big picture, you just have to get through the next 24 hours~ and that is somewhat like this book. Each day speaks to the mourner as they begin to navigate the many planes of their personal grief process. It addresses SOOO much faced by the individual grappling with the indescribable loss. Whether it is real life tasks (like taking care of your children, or grocery shopping), remembering to eat (which is something many people sucked under with grief forget or neglect to do), how to relate to other people as they move on with their lives and you still feel stuck and alone.
The book was so incredibly helpful to me, it covered not only the emotional phase of grieving but also the physical and spiritual toll it can take on the mourner.
I was so relieved toread there are many stages of grief, and it ranges from person to person. Each person grieves differently, there is NO right way, or wrong way. There is no timeline you should hold yourself to, it varies for each person and can vary based on the type of death that was experienced, whether sudden or prolonged due to illness, perhaps. The book also helped me open my eyes to the fact that the people around me were grieving too, they loved him and missed him too~and sometimes they might say something that I felt was insensitive, or uncaring but they were just trying to be helpful~ and I should give them grace and understanding because they truly didn’t realize how what they said made me feel. I learned to be less reactionary and more laid back.
I learned that it was ok to celebrate milestones, birthdays, holidays and NOT to celebrate them if I didn’t want to. It has been a long process, and the pain and grief truly never goes away, it just changes over time.
“Living with loss is a fountain of hope for those who are wondering HOW they will get through another day after a profound loss. The pages are filled with daily gems of inspiration, advice and common sense”~Dr. Gloria Horsely
You can find Living With Loss: One Day At A Time all over the internet, as well as on Amazon:
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