Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Archive for December 10th, 2019

To The Grieving…Some Thoughts

with 2 comments

Folks, I have written about this subject before, most notably here, here, and here. And I’ve also pointed out the many difficult problems when it comes to grief in a few essays, most notably this one on Lois McMaster Bujold’s GENTLEMAN JOLE AND THE RED QUEEN and this one on Debbie Macomber’s HANNAH’S LIST. But I have even more thoughts on the subject of grief, so…here we go again.

Grief is incredibly hard to deal with. I know I’m not telling you anything new. But it’s because I want to give some sort of comfort that I’m writing again about grief, loss, and the frustrations at expressing all of it in words, in the hopes that someone out there will understand that he or she is not alone.

I have a number of friends who are grieving. Some are recent widows and widowers. Some have been widows and widowers for quite some time. But all are hurting, because their spouses and the loves of their lives are not here on this Earth anymore. Yet they are left behind, powerless to do anything except remember what was, and what never will be again. And none of them, not one, knows what to do except putting one foot in front of the other, because it hurts so badly to go on when you’ve sustained such a deep loss.

I don’t believe in platitudes or weasel-words. So I refuse to say that eventually it’ll get easier to handle the loss of your spouse to anyone. Especially as I haven’t found it to be such at all.

But I can give at least a little comfort to those of you who are suffering, because I’ve been through it. (Sometimes, still going through it. One slow step at a time.) I do understand where you are, why you hurt so badly, and why you’re angry that you’re in this place at all.

Death comes for us all, yes. But sometimes it comes so early, it’s impossible to process. As advice columnist Carolyn Hax of the Washington Post put it recently, “Here we were, thinking we were X. And now the universe says, ‘nope, now you’re going to be Y.'” (My elaboration on that theme is, “And too bad that you enjoyed being X, ’cause you’re not going to get to be X again.” So no wonder why we hate it, no? But I digress.)

What I have found is that over time, I can handle the pain a little better.

But I’m not going to lie. I still hate it. The man who understood me, loved me, and appreciated me the most in all the worlds and time is on the Other Side, and I am still here. I defy anyone to tell me why this is a good thing.

Yet I have also figured out — slowly, painfully, and painstakingly — that as long as I live, at least a part of my husband lives on in me. (In the “two shall become one” sense, if nothing else.) And that gives me great comfort.

But I want to say one more thing to those of you grieving right now. (Ready?)

Your life matters. Not just because you were the spouse of someone wonderful who’s passed on to eternity. But because you, yourself, are an incredible person with much to offer the world. And unique gifts of your own that your spouse, were they here to tell you, would want you to continue using to the best of your ability.

I know it doesn’t feel like that now. It can’t. You are hurting, you wonder what in the Hell the point is, and you wonder why on Earth you’re still here when your spouse isn’t.

But it’s still the truth.

You matter. And as long as you live, you can still affect the outcome at least a little bit, while keeping the memory of your beloved spouse alive.

So walk on, with your memories and your love intact. And never listen to the fools and idiots out there who may say “get over it” and “move on,” as those are both impossible and irrelevant to the grieving process.

Written by Barb Caffrey

December 10, 2019 at 5:26 am

Posted in Widowhood

Tagged with , ,