Who makes the rules on grieving?

20 06 2011

Today marks 2 months since the love of my life passed away. Three days ago I had a routine doctors appointment. I am fine. My doctor is the same doctor that took care of my Mom, and for the past 19 years, took care of my husband. As soon as he walked into the room and said he was sorry that Ed passed and that he misses Ed, I cried. Now, it is not in my normal behavior to cry this much but I do find myself crying at least once a day. I think it is normal.

I have also gained a considerable amount of weight in the past several months. Hospital food and stress will do that to a person. After Ed died, I took all restraints off my food intake with full knowledge that I would get back to it when I can handle it. Well, that time has come and I am starting to eat more responsibly and exercise again.

The way my doctor responded to me made me take inventory of where I am in this foreign process of grief. He asked me if I need a little help to get me through. Have I considered grief counseling? Do I need something to make me less anxious?  If I am still grieving six months from now I should contact him for some help. That seems to be a pretty responsible offer from a doctor but here are the things that I am pondering…

Really? Six months should be my limit? Why not 5 months or seven months? Who sets the limit on how long a person should feel some sorrow about losing their life partner? If I cry for 5 minutes every day for the next 6 months, does that mean I am depressed and should be on medication? If it takes me seven months to find the new normal in my life should I go into grief counseling? (disclaimer- I am not against getting this kind of help if a person needs it. There are some great programs and groups out there that help with this process and I am strongly in favor of finding and using them IF you need help. There is no shame in reaching out.)

These are some of my thoughts as I muddle through this process:

  • Grief is profoundly personal and there are as many ways to grieve as there are people.
  • I am not sad for Eddie in the least.
  • I do not grieve as those who have no hope. Ed has won his race and I have a sure faith that he is with his Savior right now.
  • I am grateful that I have known real love and Ed and I have completed our wedding vows.
  • Nobody gets out of this life alive.
  • There is appointed a day to be born and a day to die. (for everyone)
  • I miss my husband every day.
  • Nothing in my life is normal right now.
  • I will give myself a year before making any major life decisions.
  • I will give myself permission to cry whenever I need to.
  • I will be gentle with myself.
  • I will reach out to my friends and family when I can.
  • I will reach out to help someone else when I can.
  • I am going to find my new normal and I will continue my journey with Jesus.

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2 responses

23 06 2011
carolyn mejia

trying to comment… typing and deleting over and over. i have nothing to say except i love you and i think and pray for you often.

mostly, i just didn’t want to leave your comment section empty…. i love you.

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27 08 2011
Rebecca Carney - One Woman's Perspective

I have found, by experience and from extensive reading, that most of those who “deem” themselves to be enough of an authority to partition grief into tidy segments or put it on a specific time line have never actually experienced deep grief and the successive journey. It sounds like you are doing what’s most important – grieving for your loved one in your on way and on your own time schedule. You are taking care of yourself. I pray for God’s precious presence to comfort you on your journey. Yes, we grieve…but we do not grieve as those who have no hope. We will see them again someday…and I look forward to that day.

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