I received this email tonight:
Survive Your Grief
It’s okay to fall apart!
Death shatters us on so many levels that our natural reaction is often to try to hold everything together. We try to be strong. We try to stay positive. We try to go on.
It’s totally understandable, and we all do it to a certain extent. The problem is that it doesn’t serve us well to be strong or positive all the time. It doesn’t serve us at all.
We need to fall apart before we can put the pieces back together.
It’s somewhat like a jigsaw puzzle if you can think about it that way.
Someone we love has died and our lives are broken into a million pieces that just don’t fit together right away. It’s like emptying out a box of puzzle pieces and not seeing any picture. All we see are the backs of those pieces, and even at that point we feel quite sure we’ll never get all those pieces to fit together…and there must be pieces missing.
In time, we turn the pieces over, and begin to find a couple of pieces we can put together. We find the corners. We find some edge pieces that at least help us get oriented. We get the edge put together even though there may still be a piece or 2 we haven’t found. Then we begin looking for pieces of the same color, and maybe fit a couple of those together. Later we may discover the pieces we thought went together don’t so we have to start again. And we keep at it until we have all of the pieces where they belong.
Grief is very much like that only in grief we are taking the pieces from one picture and putting them together in a new one. And in grief we have new pieces to incorporate and old pieces to transform. It’s a complicated business, and it takes time, but falling apart is the first step.
P.S. Falling apart often doesn’t feel safe because it feels like you’ll never be able to put the pieces back together again. Lack of understanding about what is normal and what is not, just adds to the confusion and fear. How to Survive Your Grief offers reassurance by answering most of the most common questions.
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It puts things into perspective. I keep trying to hold it together. I don’t want my friends to see me sad; it might make them sad. I don’t want my kids to see me sad; it might make them sad. I don’t let anyone in the general public see me sad; grief is raw and painful and uncomfortable for most people to handle. About the only place I let my grief out in it’s rawest form is here in this blog and on forums specifically for widows.
Of course sometimes it sneaks up on me and gobsmacks me when I least expect it, like a movie theatre… LOL
But this helps. This helps me to see that in order to put things back together I have to first be torn apart… On one of my profiles, I say that I’m good at tearing things apart and putting them back together nicer… this could be true of myself… I have to allow myself to fall apart and break in order to be put back together. Sometimes… what’s together needs to be ripped apart again… sometimes what was put together is not how it should look.
My neighbour has been working on a house for several years now – he has several more years of work to do… its not that he’s slow… its that the owners of the house keep changing things, so it keeps having to be ripped apart and put back together.
And that’s where I’m at…I am trying to put my life back together… occasionally I’ll have to rip some of it apart to make sure it’s exactly how I want it to be.
The puzzle will eventually get put together though. It’s helpful to understand what’s going on. There’s no picture yet… but I can see some pieces coming together.
Skating it out really helped tonight. I’ll be having a shower then heading to bed shortly… feeling at peace.