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Complicated Grief

When you took your last breath I knew it would be hard but what I did not realize is how incredibly hard it is. Hard to rediscover joy, rediscover yourself and simply put one foot in front of the other every single day. It's truly exhausting.

How can one day feel like you can take on the world and the next you do not even have energy to put on a bra? How is it that you second guess every single thought, encounter and moment. You simply trust nothing.

When you were alive I was a creative energizer bunny. Always thinking, planning and creating. Always on the move and planning for the next project. She literally died right along side of you. Her last breath with yours.

I remember your last breath while I held you in my arms. The breath in and then out and the limpness of your body. Holding your face deep into my chest while you grasped for that last piece of air. Then you were gone. She left with you in that exact moment.

I have tried so very hard to get her back. I have moments but they never last. When the sun goes down and the darkness falls; the pain, anger and hopelessness sets in. It is there for hours, days, weeks and now months.

It never leaves, I just hide it well.

At first I thought it was just time, then Covid, then moving, then isolation... then it became clear to me. I have what is called "complicated grief". It is a stage that passes all of the expected stages. It mimics depression however is not a chemical imbalance. You have no purpose, no energy, no passion, no drive and it is overwhelming and debilitating at the same time.

It literally wraps its large dark and heavy hands around you, squeezes you to the point you are unable to breathe and it takes every single ounce of energy to pull yourself out of the moment. You force yourself to move, you talk to yourself, you encourage movement and strength. But, some days the hands are too big and too powerful. You give in and you sit, sleep, cry, throw up or just blank out.

It is hard to have a conversation with anyone about it and I don't. You see people feel that you should be moving on, rebuilding and creating a new life. They are there to support you and do at times, feel your pain. However this is your journey and only you can move that mountain.

I do know that the first step in recovery is recognizing that grief does result in physical pain, loss of motivation and energy along with deep seated anger that can only come to the surface; moment by moment. Like peeling away that proverbial onion. It also causes an exhaustion that is not something that can be easily described. It is the deepest and rawest feeling of physical weakness that I have ever experienced. Adding to the exhaustion is constantly pretending that "you are fine". I have learned to say the words "it is not a good day", I have learned to honor my emotion but to also force myself to step out of the darkness. I have also learned that I only have myself now. I need to find strength within to keep pushing forward.

She died that day. The passion, the drive and the ambition; seems to have taken their last breathe when you did.

When you lose a life partner you also lose your future, your plan, your dreams and your love. We were together for twenty years, so you mold into one. Seeing yourself without your partner is terrifying, lonely and confusing. You not only lose your partner but you lose what you saw as your future.

BUT today I recognized it. I was finally able to connect the dots. For me putting a name to what is happening was healing. It allowed me to realize that I am not losing my mind. I can implement tools to work my way through the fog. So today I begin with the affirmation " I am good enough".

I am looking for the signs that you are still with me and I am reminding myself of my value.

Forever and Always

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