Living Through

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.  



About oldmainer

I am a retired manager living in Southern Maine and a would be writer of poetry, narratives, short stories, and random opinions, and that's how Oldmainer was born. Recently, I decided to try an experiment. I added photography to the mix, using only a cheap cell phone with a limited camera and the editing software that came with it, and added the blog site Inklings at to showcase the results. So, feel free to use whatever you find interesting or worthy, but please honor the terms of my copyright when and if you do. They may not be much, but they are still a piece of me. I appreciate your checking me out and hope that you find something that will encourage a return visit. Thanks for stopping by.
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6 Responses to Living Through

  1. There is nothing anyone can say in times like these to make things better. But I am so sorry for your loss. I can offer you a description of grief that I have found to be pretty spot on, though.

    Think of grief as a box. And inside that box, there is a little red button, that is the “pain” button. Also inside that box is a ball. The ball floats freely around the box, all day every day. At first the ball is huge. Pretty much the size of the box itself. It is constantly pressing that pain button because there is nowhere else for it to go. As time goes on, the ball gets smaller and smaller. As it does, it hits the pain button less and less, because well. Physics I guess. But whenever it does, the pain is still there, still the same intensity. I think for a lot of people the ball remains large for a long time. And that’s ok.


  2. It sucks. That’s the truth. It will never make sense. I skipped the stages and went right to fury at how stupid the world seems. It’s not actual acceptance for me, it’s forced acceptance because I can’t do a single thing about it. It’s been years since my son died and 8 years this summer since my husband died. There’s never a good time for anyone we love to die. They are never with us long enough, even though we live for such a short time, in the scheme of things. I accept that life is insane, cruel and heartless, and that pain is a trap, so I don’t do that. If we let life get us down…it wins. Unrealistic, maybe, but it works for me. And for me, all those sayings about miser, pain and suffering teaches us things is the dumbest thing I ever heard, unless you want to learn just how terrible life can be. Pain is just that and who needs it? I certainly don’t. So, I kick it to the curb and never let it near me. We have choices and all the hateful things, all the misery and suffering, can steal the good things we do have in life. I’m taking advantage of that stuff and letting other people learn the horrible things. You’re still in the beginning. You have to find your own way, we all do. Any advice is personal and has nothing to do with how you get through it. I kept waiting from everyone to walk through the doorway as well. Normal. But they went through a different door, one that only goes one way. That’s a fact. I’m sorry your hurting but if you can…don’t let the bad things in life win.


  3. Edwin Best says:

    There are many types of loss but the death of a loved one is the hardest to bear. To write about it as honestly and eloquently as you have done here may help the healing process – I don’t know. But if it reaches one person who is experiencing a similar loss and helps them, then it makes the world a better place – and that is no small thing.

    May “that day” come to you sooner rather than later.


    • oldmainer says:

      Thank you. I almost didn’t publish this. I wrote it more to myself while trying to sort through my feelings. But, if it in some small way helps someone else, and I will never know, it will have been worth it. Let’s hope so.


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