Ahhh, my blog. I am glad it is still waiting patiently for me! There are no excuses for not writing before now; in fact, I have often wondered why I no longer wanted to write. The only redeeming factor is this non-desire has been an equal opportunity offender; along with this blog, I have not written much in my journal, and absolutely nothing in the way of the three books in various stages or an article.
So here goes nothing, as they say. My wife died two years ago Saturday, which explains why I have not written. Additionally, I was taking care of her for about four years before that, and while her death was not unexpected due to the residual effect of the chemotherapy she received just before I met her, it obviously hung around my neck like an invisible weight since that fateful day.
This brings us to today’s topic, grief. I have said in the past that I am lucky to be watching all the developmental psychology I studied in my late-in-life change of professions unfold daily with my grandchildren. Well, I have now experienced the emotional and psychological effects of grief unfolding. And has it!
For some background, my maternal grandparents died the year before and after I was born. Then, my paternal grandfather and my bio-father died when I was five and six; my mother did not let me go to either funeral. I do not have any memories of their deaths or any grieving; I had to see everyone was sad, crying, and grieving, but if I felt anything, I kept it all in.
There were no more deaths until I was in my teens, and then it was a cousin I had only seen a few times and an uncle that had been sick for years. My paternal grandmother and uncle died in my early thirties; I did feel some sorrow, but nothing as I saw in other family members. Further, my grandmother was a huge figure in my life until then; why would I not have felt deep heartache?
Up until my mid-forties, I was the quintessential male engineer. How do I feel? “Good.” If a somatic psychologist had asked me where in the body I felt good, I would have rolled my eyes! Additionally, I liked having no emotions, or as I called it, living in the middle of the road. However, as I later learned, while I did not feel any deep despair, I also did not feel any huge joy.
My Master’s in psychology changed all that; I really worked on my issues and got in touch with my feelings. So when my best friend died in 2007, I finally cried and felt the pain. More so when my closest cousin, chronologically and friendship, died unexpectedly, and finally, my mentor in 2015.
I was no longer in the middle of the road; I felt life’s wide range of emotions. Sure, the losses weighed heavily, but I also felt the joy of being married to the love of my life. And then, she, too, died. In Barb’s indomitable way, she unlocked all the grief still held for my grandparents, bio-dad, and others.
I received many well-wishes, some books, and therapy these past two years, riding the grief waves, which are luckily getting smaller and further apart. One particular source that made a difference was a Facebook page, One Fit Widow. Mostly it was just remembering all I had studied; sometimes, I just could see the forest for the trees.
And now, as the Terminator said (probably not a great metaphor), “I’m baaaacccccckkkkkk!” In somatic psychology, unlike talk therapy, we say the way out is through. Writing is the way out of these writing doldrums, so here I am. While I have been noting events in my journal more lately, what pushed me to write this blog was something I was talking about this evening with a cousin and good friend.
I was eating out tonight with my granddaughter, and I thought of all the blessings that living in an attached apartment with my daughter has brought into my life. Of course, I would not be here if Barb had lived. When one door closes…; more on that next week!