Recently, I wrote about a new direction in my life. I began reading other blogs.
Suddenly, I felt far less alone. There were so many wonderful words and I found myself reaching out to other writers. As a result, I also had a new audience of readers with whom to share my story.
I was particularly touched by a searing post, written by a grieving widow. I often reach out to other bereaved parents because I am one. It was interesting for me to be so affected by the grief from this widow.
I had never read anything more desolate before.
The post was named: My Mystical Quandary.
The blog’s title was: Doyle’s Widow / searching for a way home. (Please note that all of the blue post-titles are links back to the author’s blog.)
Reading her despairing words, compelled me to comment. But what could I possibly say? I was going through a divorce and certainly could not imagine a widow’s pain. I never considered myself a grief counselor.
But I deeply believed in healing and felt compelled to share my optimism.
And so it was that a month ago, that I wrote my comment and an exchange with Doyle’s widow began. Her name was Relinda.
Our correspondence inspired me very much and actually allowed me to clarify many of my own feelings about healing. After writing my first comment to her, I expanded upon the metaphor of grief being like a wildfire on my next blog post.
Here are excerpts from our first exchange. Her words are in brown and mine are in blue.
As you pour out your pain, which you express beautifully – one day you will discover joy again. It is not your destiny to suffer. I pray for some hope to gently whisper something into your ear. Listen carefully, because it will come. Grief can cause total devastation, but like after a fire burns – growth and life are possible again.
I will agree with you in that I believe that is true for most; however, I do think my destiny is to grieve forever. Thanks for your thoughts, Judy.
I continued commenting to Relinda about my optimism related to healing. No matter what I wrote, she politely thanked me and then reaffirmed that she would never stop grieving.
On her story “A Mystical Quandary” she wrote that without her husband’s encouragement, she had little desire to write. She also felt no one wanted to read her sad writing and she was a fraud for hiding her grief.
After two weeks, I went back to leave her another comment. I wanted to encourage her to write.
I also knew that holidays are awful when grieving, and I was especially sad for her.
I wrote her this message:
Relinda, do not hide your grief. Keep writing. I will continue to read whatever you write. I am waiting for more. Holidays are very hard when you are grieving. I want you to know that I am envious of you. I never experienced the love that you lost. I’m 53 and wonder if I’ll ever experience it. I don’t expect to because I feel condemned to being alone. It’s my choice with divorce now and that leads me to a different form of grief. I support you, Relinda. Please write more.
Thank you, Judy. I appreciate your support. I will write more soon. The holidays are especially difficult for me because I buried my love two days prior to Christmas Eve. Today is the three-year anniversary of his death. I believe that you will find that kind of love, Judy. It is there when you stop looking. Thank you for your encouragement.
I am so sorry for the pain on this 3rd anniversary! I believe you will soon reach a turning point. Although you are certain about your grief lasting, trust me, you are wrong. Open your heart to the possibility of healing. Even if you do not believe it, you will find signs of feeling better. Your encouragement to me is the same. I find it unlikely that I will find that kind of love, and you said I would when I stop looking.
I am going to tell you that when you stop telling yourself that you will grieve forever, you might actually start to see signs of healing. Healing does not mean you love him less. A sign of a good relationship is the ability to love again. But start with yourself. You are beautiful and worthy. You will help many people with your insight. Keep writing about it and on this sad anniversary I am thinking of you.
Thanks, Judy. I appreciate your optimism. I don’t tell myself that I will grieve forever, my heart tells me. For some, the love of your life comes along once, he and I shared that kind of relationship. Thank you again and you are in my thoughts as well.
I envy you for experiencing that kind of love. A broken heart definitely speaks – in my deep grief I wrote many things that I feel differently about now. I have thought of you throughout the holidays and hope you will write a new post soon. You have eager new readers! Do not hold back. You are absolutely entitled to your feelings and I am expressing my optimism because I never had any for many years.
I am glad that you have optimism now. It is hard to live without optimism. Thank you for thinking of me and for reading my blog, Judy.
This story continues. I did not know Relinda. I only knew her grief was endless and that was all.
Last night, I saw she had a new post on her blog. It was named The Promise. It held a lot of information for me about her. She began her post by sharing a very moving graduation speech. She wrote:
“It was during semester finals time that my husband fell ill and my instructors were so kind and worked with me to ensure that I did not drop out. Before he died, Doyle wanted me to tell those instructors what wonderful people they are—I am doing that now. He made me promise that I would finish college.”
After I read more, I was crying. I hardly could leave a rational comment, but I quickly typed a message to her. For some reason, many feelings began to erupt within me.
Relinda, this is so beautiful that I am crying!
I am touched that you found it beautiful, Judy; however, please don’t cry. You deserve to smile.
Her words touched an even deeper nerve in me. More tears began to flow and were unstoppable. I gasped as my feelings became clear to me:
I am crying because I wish I had experienced that kind of love and I am not optimistic about ever having it in my lifetime. You are my inspiration for being able to fulfill Doyle’s promise while crawling with your overwhelming grief. I wish I could smile more, but I am mourning many decades of settling for an empty relationship. I do deserve to smile and will keep trying.
My heart goes out to you, my friend. I sincerely hope that love finds you because it is obvious that you have a big heart. Look at your reflection and say, “I deserve to be loved the way that I love.”
Relinda, perhaps we are alike after all! I cannot imagine myself ever finding that kind of love just as you cannot imagine your grief diminishing. For me, the ultimate love is to find the strength to smile and go on despite grief. I seek to feel complete and find my joy within myself. I am blessed that my music does that for me.
I think you are well on your way to finding the love you deserve. Music is a gift indeed.
Thank you, Relinda. I would love to share some of my music with you. I am not confident about my singing, but do feel my songs are touching. If you send me an address, I can mail you a CD. No worries if you are too busy for this either! I would just love feedback if you felt inclined.
I would be honored to hear your music, Judy, and more than happy to provide feedback. Your comments mean so much to me. I appreciate the support and kind thoughts you send my way.
I was completely touched that she would listen to my music. Then I saw she had written a new post again.
It seemed that she had a lot more to say on the topic of optimism and grief.
Her post was named Killing Optimism.
Every word was searing and the amputation of her soul was complete. It made me realize how foolish grief comparisons were between the loss of a child versus a soul mate. Clearly her amputated soul was nothing I would ever want to measure.
Below is an excerpt:
“To live without hope is to cease to live. Hell is hopelessness. It is no accident that above the entrance to Dante’s hell is the inscription: “Leave behind all hope, you who enter here.” — Jürgen Moltmann
It seems that optimism surrounds me. As much as I try to avoid it—it just keeps calling to me. I despise this time of the year. I despise welcoming some new year that offers so little to me.
Grief killed Hope long ago. Hope is no longer pulling at the drawstrings of my mind. I wished upon all the falling stars I could find and I pretended all that one can, prior to completely breaking with reality.
Oh, it was a mighty battle when Hope and Grief tangled. Hope had resorted to hiding among the corners of my mind, just prolonging the inevitable. When Grief found him cowering, he struck a mighty blow, but Hope stood strong and fought to the end. I watched as the two battled like worthy knights battling for the love of a woman. I watched as Grief dealt the deathblow that would silence Hope forever. I cried. Hope was the only chance at renewal. Hope is dead.
How solemn it is to live without Hope. I think knowing him for 44 years makes his absence more devastating. I was an optimist. I always had Hope, even when Hope wanted to go away.
I see the way people look at me now, or rather do not notice me. I suppose that when I had Hope it just did not matter. I was once loved. I was once adored. When you are loved, you perceive a reflection of the person your lover sees. When love goes away and Grief murders Hope, you see an accurate reflection of yourself. When I gaze into a mirror, I see an image so haggard it makes me gasp in disbelief. When Hope is dead, you see only reality. There are no rose-tinted glasses or dreams blocking the accurate view. There is only reality. Reality is lonely.
I found Optimism hiding with all the Others and I asked what it is they are so frightened of and Optimism said they did not want to live in hell anymore.
©2012 Relinda R.
© 2013 by Judy Unger and http://www.myjourneysinsight.com 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Judy Unger with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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