Saturday, March 24, 2012

My Grief Journey: 2 Steps Forward...1 Step Back

A half a year had passed. This was a big marker in becoming a widow. But my life still seemed confusing and off balance. As I moved forward to find some sense of direction, without warning, I'd collapse in despair. Perhaps a memory was triggered from hearing a familiar song. This could cause me to instantly fall apart. Then sometimes I didn't care to move on and I just wanted to wallow in memories of my husband. I never knew if I was going to go forward or backward each day.

Since my life took a new direction, I had to reprioritize it. Every morning I read from Our Daily Bread devotional and then prayed in surrendering to God's will to feel peace in my soul. This was easier than to struggle with doing it my way. After all, my dreams were shattered six months ago. Now, all I could do was handle one day at a time. God's peace helped me along in a forward direction.

As I moved forward, I tried my best to also help my daughters. My oldest daughter enrolled in a gymnastics class that she liked to do. My youngest daughter was picked from her dance class for a competition group. Even though this required additional time and money, they deserved this happiness. I wanted them to pursue their dreams, and one day maybe I could rejoin life with new goals, too.

Since I had been a professional hairdresser, my friend Trish came over one day so I could do her hair. As I started, a Kenny G. song played on the radio. What freaked me out a week prior with a panic attack, this time I was totally at ease. I told Trish about the anxiety attack at Bonco. One story led to others from my grief adventures. "You should journal all your tales as a widow," Trish said. "You'll want to remember these experiences." The idea to write a book seemed challenging.

I felt like I was moving forward at a good pace when I thought about where I'd been compared to where I was now. But we should never become too confident. Because within a few moments or thoughts, we can be down on our knees in tears. We can be in so much despair and sadness that it sets us back. And as we take that step back, we want to stay there for security. It feels a little safer when we know what to expect then to keep going forward into the unknown.

I think if we continue to have a few good days in a week, it's ok to wallow a couple days in sadness and gloom. It's healthy to have productive days of moving forward in grief as well as having a few days of back sliding into a familiar place of sadness and depression. As long as we don't get stuck in our depression, we can continue to praise God for His help in moving us forward. Kind of like a few days of sunshine, after a couple days of rain. Any other analogies?

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