I am still wrestling with the recent loss of my beloved wife. It is still early. I understand that. It is still a raw and open wound. Too fresh to have begun healing. Still bandaged in grief.
They say there are 5 stages of grief and, like most things, it manifests itself differently in each of us. The first is denial. I did not experience this stage. I was there when it happened and it is real. Although I fantacize that she will walk through the door and great me with her pleasant “Hi Hon”, I know it will never happen. That was yesterday and I can understand that.
Next they say is anger. I guess I am still entertaining this one to some extent. Not anger at people or things, but an internalized one. “Why Me”. “Why was she taken”. “I was not ready”. But no one ever really is. However, my anger is selfishly focused on me. How this hurt me and how unfair it is. I do not blame her. She did not choose this either. It is not her fault. Death happens. My adult self knows this whether I am ready to accept it or not.
I have spent a lot of time with the next phase which is bargaining. I think of it more as the “What if” stage. Replaying our last days over and over in my mind. Second guessing myself. What if I had been more attentive. What if I had forced her to go to the doctor. What could I have done that I didn’t do. I think of this also now as the guilt phase. Was what happened in some way my fault? As with all things, I have to try and rationalize the event. Try to make some sense out of it. It will not happen. I know that, but instinctively, I will try anyway.
The next is depression. I don’t think I am there and will consciously try to avoid this stage. She wouldn’t want me to do that. But, of course, I am experiencing the sadness that comes with a loss. That will remain for some time I am sure, like a shadow that you feel more then see. Little things, innocent things, niggling around the edges of your psyche. Encouraging you to dwell on the hurt you harbor. To concentrate on the loss and the heartbreak. I can’t let that happen. I will seek instead those things that bring a sense of joy, made easier by the support I have received from so many around me. I think of it as a wound that needs time to heal. And when it does, you tend to put it in your past, it’s impact diminished.
And finally, there will be acceptance. A return to reality. I saw this put simply. It said “acceptance is not ‘it is okay that my wife died” but instead ‘my wife died and I am going to be okay”. That day will come, or maybe it won’t be a day at all. It may be a conversation with a friend, a laugh shared with others, or a memory revisited. And slowly, almost unconsciously, I will one day realize life did not stop. It simply changed and I am living in a new and different environment. That there is so much more to see, to do , to live, and to love. I simply have to embrace it. I look forward to that day.