I’ve grieved before. My brother and my mom died within 6 months of one another, back in 1996. It knocked me senseless for…hmm…4 years or so?
After the first year I volunteered at a local hospice and sought out one training after another, getting certified in various aspects of grief and crisis response and compassion fatigue. Which led me to training that allowed me to facilitate bereavement groups for the community.
I knew shit, you know? Ask me a question about grief and the impact of grief and the many ways people grieve and I could tell you shit that would make a difference in your life. I have stacks of notes and testimonials citing the many ways I helped people.
And then Chuck died.
I don’t know shit about grief. Or rather, I know a shit load of stuff about grief and what I know doesn’t make a damn bit of difference to how I’m grieving and I question my sanity as much as any newbie and I feel the same disconnect between my heart and head as many in my groups expressed to me in their time.
I don’t know shit.
And I depend upon my friends in the bereavement field to tell me naw, you ain’t crazy. You’re grieving. Make sure you hydrate. Remind yourself to breathe effectively. Call me when you think you’re crazy and I’ll listen.
Even more so I depend upon my widowed community. Those people get it. Big time. I’ve met numerous widows who fucking rock their widowhood. Not because they’ve gotten it all figured out but because they are so open and vulnerable about it and with it. Which I admire to the nth degree. Honesty also makes a person vulnerable to judgement and criticism, of course, and cries of oh you must be positive you must flip that switch so that you’re happy instead of sad you are choosing this way of reacting…and blah blah blah.
Life in the hood, as my son laughingly called it and I loved that he laughed when he said it, is fucking hard. I’m beyond blessed that I have a strong, supportive, community around me for the most part. And by that I don’t mean people who yes me to death how fucking boring that would be but people who understand that there is a difference a ginormous difference, between encouragement and judgement.
Encouragement is I’m right here with you this sucks the big one want to talk about Chuck or would you rather be distracted? It’s understanding my blunt response when you ask if I’m having fun and I say fuck no because that word and its’ definition don’t even register with me and that’s okay. It’s just cheering me on in my sometimes huge strides and my more often desperate yet intentional attempts to make something of this new life in the hood. It’s not just moving your lips when you say there is no timeline to grief but meaning it in your heart and giving me that space while I figure this shit out. It’s working with me on ideas to earn money and stay on the road or just joking with me about how fucked up all this is. I’ll take care of the emotional shit. Help me with the practical and/or logistical. But no trying to fix that, either. Just work with me.
Look, grief is hard. I know it. You know it. I think you do. I hope you do. Except actually not because it means that a loved one of yours died and I don’t wish this shit on anyone. I’m not going to sit here and compare one grief over another; it sucks no matter what. What makes life in the hood just a difference in matters of degree is this: most often, when 2 adults partner up for life, is that every fucking area of your lives entwine and entangle. In a good way, not in a and this comes with judgement in tone but as a woman you’re supposed to be your own person even if you’re married! How horrible that you weren’t your own person! Where’s your own identity? How could you lose your own identity?
Fuck that. Keep your judgements to yourself, right? Also, let me introduce you to what being really, deeply, passionately, in love is like, hmm? In that most wonderful way that you feel stronger and more confident in your own sweet self as you have ever felt. Ever. Because you were married to this incredibly cool guy who pushed you and encouraged you and supported you and your dreams in all the ways that he could. Because he, you know, loved you just as much, if not more, than you loved him.
Let me be totally and brutally frank and honest here, okay? Cover your eyes if you need to, peek between your fingers if you wish, clap your hands over your ears, or don’t read beyond this point if your sensibilities are too delicate or you’re one of our kids.
What takes widowhood to that whole different level is, let me put this delicately, or try…the continual exchange of bodily fluids over the course of a healthy marriage. Passion? Sexing? Doing the nasty? Okay, fucking. You know, that thing that married people love doing I hope you loved doing it as much as Chuck and I did sorry if you don’t. When you have that with your person, when you do that regularly because you are in a really amazing, excellent, loving. relationship/marriage, it brings a whole level of intimacy to the life that you share and is the very basis of everything else that you share. Sex, finances, chores, more sex, love, jobs, kids, daily life, sex…it all entangles you, hopefully, in a gorgeous package of intimacy; legs and arms and hearts and minds and tongues and words and souls and bone and I swear, cells of your damn body and thoughts in a sweaty heap on the bed. Or the floor. Wherever.
And that is what takes life in the hood to that deeper level. No comparisons to other grief, I promise. Just sayin’, right?
Did I just veer completely off my original talking point? I think I did.
Anyways…encouragement is a good thing, okay? Let’s do a judgement free zone, hmm?
*I blame the raw honesty of this blog on those of my widow sisters *you know who you are* whose favorite word is fuck and the widow sisters who write openly about sex in the widowed community *gasp*. It’s your fault and, also, thank you*
*Also this does not apply to my own support community because they you, pretty much rock*