Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Stages?

Vermont seems to be pulling out all the stops this year and giving us the kind of autumn it is known for--bright colors popping out on the trees, cool nights, and brilliant blue sky.

It doesn't seem fair that Mike isn't here to enjoy it...not to mention be here to help me button up the house before winter.  Let me tell you, this grieving thing is just plain hard.  And it hurts.

I've heard about the Kubler-Ross stages of grieving.  I wish there were stages, that this could be a step-by-step process.  I wish that I could check off "denial" and "anger"--check, check, check, check--move on to "acceptance" already.  It doesn't seem to work like that.  It is more like a roiling pot of all those emotions burning in the center of me and I never do know which one is going to bubble to the surface or when.

And then there are times when I feel okay.  I am doing my normal things--writing or making cards or sewing,  reading or watching something on the television, going out to the store, volunteering at the library, taking a brisk walk--and I feel, for whole bits of time, normal.

The sense of loss comes crashing in again.  Mike is gone, my friend, my love, our plans for the future.  It feels exactly like apart of me is gone as well.

Still my mother was Ukrainian and I have that fatalistic, Slavic acceptance of death being a part of life as a part of my own genetic make up.  So absolutely, while a part of my spirit has gone with Mike, a part of his spirit remains here with me.  I do know he believes I am strong and that I am capable of moving forward.  I know that I will be okay in a different way than I may have imagined not too long ago.  I kind of wish I didn't have to be, but I do.

20 comments:

  1. I am so, so sorry for your loss. Please know you are in my prayers. I wish you much strength, comfort and peace.

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  2. You express these emotions so well. I so many times thought of grief like waves. Sometimes things were going along without a ripple, than in just moments the torrents were drowning me. I learned grief is best taken moment by moment.

    I was thinking of you preparing for winter and all the tasks of closing up your house the other evening. I am assuming you are going to Florida. This is good. I just wish you would be taking your Mike with you. He will want you to carry on with those dreams and live as well as you can. I think of you often. I hope for peace and comfort and strength and for the growth that comes from loss. Take care, dear one.

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    1. It will be hard to stay at our place in Florida for many reasons, all of them coming down to I will miss Mike and our life together, but I am planning on spending the winter just as we have done for the past eight years.

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  3. Your expressions of your emotional struggles are so beautifully written. I try to imagine what this would be like if it suddenly happened to me, and my mind doesn't want to linger there. We can't really share your grief, but we can learn from your words. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.
    I wish you strength to carry on, and peace of mind to come in bigger chunks as each week goes by.

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  4. I am learning from you. Also, thinking of you a lot.

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  5. I am so sorry for the pain you are experiencing, yet I know as you say it is part of the process.

    Perhaps I am too fanciful but do you think Mike has a hand in the brilliant colors and the cooler temperatures of fall? Maybe he is saying "I am still with you, in the change of the season. and this is a celebration of our love".

    Take care and know that we are all thinking of you.

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  6. I feel your pain. What more can I say?

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  7. I remember thinking the same thing, as I am sure every grieving person has. Let's get on to the NEXT stage, already. But it goes back and forth and around and around for a long, long time. Some say not to expect any kind of Normal until a year has passed. In some ways, it's probably longer than that, if ever. It may be that the grieving ends when a person is just so worn out with it that the burden cannot be picked up and carried through another day.
    No way to the other side except through it, though. Dammit. I can tell you that you're going to feel quietly proud of yourself when you do get the house buttoned up for the season.
    Be gentle with yourself. Take it as it comes.

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  8. You have described the so called stages of grief so well. Sadly, they just don't appear, then get checked off. I guess the only consolation is that the rest periods eventually get longer. Keeping busy is a great help.

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  9. Olga, I can only imagine what you are going through... and even the imaginings scare me silly. But I do believe that keeping busy and having lots of support will pull you through. I find this journey into widow-hood about as frightening (if not more so) as the journey with cancer. Strength of mind, faith, love, family, and friends may be the key. And I find your blogging inspirational...

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    1. My sister's husband has battled cancer for nearly ten years. I used to say the Mike. "I can't imagine it." Then we would both be grateful for our lives. I never imagined that I would be the one to find out the unimaginable. In a way (perhaps selfishly sick and twisted), I am glad Mike did not suffer through protracted illness. He went out on his own terms and I respect that immensely.

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  10. Olga,

    One of the standard cliches of expressions of sympathy is "there are no words..." or "words can not say...." And of course like all cliches it is true, there is nothing we can say that will bring back the love of your life or ease your heart. Words are mere symbols trying to masquerade as the deep emotions that we feel.

    It is a two way street, we have little in the way of words to ease your pain, but also there are no words that really tell us how you are feeling...but Olga you are coming damned close. There is a poignant beauty in your descriptions which are down to earth and easily understood. You are blazing a path, I hope to never walk, but in the hope is the horrid truth of what I spare myself, I simply hand to my wife. Love is cruel.

    Meanwhile for you, the pot roils, the tides of grief will roll in and out, and yes some of those waves will knock you off your feet and carry you back to a very dark place. The only thing you can do is get back up and keep going.

    I think you and the Ukrainians are right. When we bond in love, we hand a piece of ourselves to our love...for safe keeping. Mike took a piece of you with him but you are right, you kept a piece of him. You will keep each other safe. Maybe love is not so cruel...it just seems that way.

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    1. Thank goodness for writing. It is how I cope.

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  11. I really wish there was something we could do to make it hurt less -- all I can do is send hugs.

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  12. I think when that whole "stages of grief" thing was written, it should have explained that the steps do not follow an orderly or time-bound pattern. Nor does each one end and another begin. Sometimes they're all there at once; at other times, they're totally absent. And even more, sometimes 'acceptance' can really be 'resignation.'
    You remain in my prayers.

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  13. Muffie's comment reminds me of a passage I just read in a novel:

    “There is no timetable for grief,” said Bronwen Morgan. “Grief isn’t a train which you catch at the station. Grief has its own time, and grief’s time is beyond time, and time itself … isn’t very important. It’s the English who think time is a straight line which can be divided up and labeled and parceled out in an orderly fashion, but time isn’t like that, time is a circle, time goes round and round like a wheel, and that’s why one hears echoes of the past continually— it’s because the past is present; you don’t have to look back down the straight line, you just look across the circle, and there are the echoes of the past and the vision of the future, and they’re all present, all now, all forever.”

    Howatch, Susan (2012-10-09). The Wheel of Fortune (Kindle Locations 6784-6789). Open Road Media. Kindle Edition.

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  14. I do know you will be ok, too, but I wish you had someone to help you button up the house. Will be still be going to Florida? How do you feel about that?

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  15. I guess we all live with the fear that we could lose our spouses and identify with your pain. From what I've read, there aren't a lot of shortcuts in dealing with our grief. I wish there could be. I wish Mike could be there with you to enjoy another beautiful season of colors. I have to imagine that he is still always with you, right at your shoulder enjoying it in your heart. Your post touches us all so very deeply. I wish I could be there to give you a hug.

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  16. I wish I could have a magic ball to look into and say OK here's the date. Unfortunately it doesn't work that way. I know there will be a day that you can talk about Mike, the funny things he did, the things that made him mad, and what he stood for, without crying and hurting. You do remain in my prayers for the healing of your spirit and soul. (((Hugs))))

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  17. And I kind of wish the same thing.

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