Below is a very personal account from Mary Gardner who has suffered a sizeable loss, but kindly volunteered to share some experiences of her journey!
“Have you heard ‘time is a great healer’?
If you have lost your husband, wife, or partner the pain never leaves you; you just learn to live with it.
We are all different and deal with loss and grief in our own ways; everyone’s grieving process is unique.
Kubler – Ross (1969) identified 5 stages of grief:
Denial – this cannot be happening.
Anger – why is this happening?
Bargaining – make this not happen.
Depression – I am too sad to do anything.
Acceptance – I am at peace with what has happened.
We don’t all experience each of these stages and some phases of grief last longer than others.
Dealing with grief is an ‘emotional – rollercoaster’ and one that you can only truly comprehend if you have experienced it. I found that there is nothing more patronising than being told ‘I know how you feel’ when really – they don’t!
You have to deal with being ‘labelled’; you are now either a ‘widow’ or ‘widower’. Why are you not just – ‘you’?
You’ve got to adapt to being alone; particularly if previously you socialised as a couple. It is difficult to pluck up the strength to be a ‘gooseberry’. However, what are the options? Unfortunately, not everyone has a large circle of friends to socialise with as a single person.
Eventually, you do get to a stage where you want to return to ‘normality’; but you realise that life is never going to be the same again. Reminders of your loved ones are everywhere; it could be a song on the radio, a television programme, or a special place. We can prepare for remembering birthdays and anniversaries and how we want to commemorate these, but memories can be unexpected and ‘catch you off- guard’.
Life changes beyond belief but with the support of family and friends you can continue down an alternative path. I do not think that there are any ’perfect’ solutions to help you through your loss. But it helps if there is someone that you feel that you can trust to talk to”!
In a subsequent Positively Befriending session, with the expressed permission of Mary Gardener, she again shared, “When you have lost your partner, can you ever love again?
Initially, you feel like your world has fallen apart.
We think that no one can ever replace our loved one and the mere thought is inconceivable.
Family and friends will fuss over you and you don’t want them feeling responsible for you, keeping you company and checking up on you.
The thought of meeting new people is scary. Are you interesting, will you have anything in common?
Will guilt allow you the opportunity to ‘form’ a new relationship.
Mitch Albom (author, journalist, musician) wrote ‘death ends a life, not a relationship – love will continue’.
If this is the case, how will a new partner cope with this; will they feel threatened or insecure?
You will always love your partner that has passed, but you can find space in your heart to have another relationship when the time is right.
There is no guidebook.
There are no rules.
You must remember that you still have a life to live and do your best to fulfill this”.
The above extract is a positive example of someone who is optimistic, about turning a new chapter and entering into a ‘new’ relationship, and looking forward to the future.
A special thanks to Mary Gardner who has kindly shared things her thoughts and has given a verbal undertaking to share further insights at regular intervals, which will hopefully be of benefit to others.
This invitation is also extended to others who wish to contribute to the Progress Community.
I know that you have all have got something to contribute – ‘so just say it’!
You are all most welcome!