Coping with grief

The beginning

Unfortunately life has not exactly gone to plan. Losing the only person who truly understands you and accepts you, warts and all, is catastrophic. To be frank, life has never been the same or even close to what it once was. In the very beginning it was all about getting up in the morning and walking the dog knowing that the rest of the day was going to be impossibly slow to get through. Having to repeat the story of what happened was agony and more than once, hours were spent just sitting numbly in a chair  listening to the hum of the refrigerator or the sound of the world outside. Of course, nights were even worse. The silence was unbearable and yet sleep seemed elusive. Crying until exhaustion was the only way to find peace for a little while.

As the years passed, I find that I still can't accept it. The paralyzing depression has seemed to have lifted somewhat despite also losing another member of the family and the dog who had been with me through so many years before and after the accident. Thank God family was supportive and loving and never felt that they were not loved even when I shut down. 

Baby Steps

Having a grief councillor was a bold move for someone so private. Have to admit there were times not much was said but she bore witness to my pain and always provided a safe place when the events of the week were confusing and unbearable. With time I went back to work and stayed until it was apparent I could no longer be the kind of team member the job required. Again the support and patience of my peers was amazing. I count myself lucky to have worked with each and every one of them.

Involvement with a few charity projects helped and I continue to be be part of them today. Rescuing an abandoned animal remains one of the best decisions I could have made and despite all her baggage I have never doubted her love and loyalty from the first moment I met her. Loving her made the adoption of a vegetarian diet seem like the only choice. No regrets in that department either. 

Moving Forward

If there is any advice I could give it would be this.

Cut yourself some slack. Understand that everything you do for the first while might not seem logical to an outsider and that is OK. It's not their grief. 

When all the grinding paperwork and societal expectations are finished, take some time to figure out how to build a new life. It doesn't have to exclude what you did together and it will never be a replacement for the life you once had. It will just be different.

You never get over something like this. It just becomes easier to bear with time. 

Don't do things you don't want to do just to please someone else. Own the pain, don't mask it. You can never heal if you don't acknowledge that you are hurting. Write letters, keep a blog, share it or not.  If it helps to keep that person in your heart even for a time each day, there is nothing wrong with that. 

Remember the good stuff, forgive the imperfections. Don't beat yourself up for not being flawless. The essence of who you are is what made the love work in the first place, not every word you spoke or thing you did.