The Problem With “Getting Used To It”

May 2, 2017

Some days, it seems I’m almost getting used to not having my husband here. I’m sobbing less and smiling more. I think of him hundreds of times each day, but with less debilitating pain. Is this what they call healing? If so, why does it still feel bad? The idea that I’m getting used to it makes me feel terrible. How could I ever “get used to it?”

This brings me to the realization that my grief is a connection between him and myself. It’s a direct tie to the love I had during my life with him. The tears and the pain are like evidence that he lived, proof that we loved, and confirmation that his life mattered! So healing, moving forward, finding joy again is a potpourri of confusing emotions. On one hand, I know this is healthy. I know it would be what he would want for me…to be happy, to move forward, to remember him with laughter and not pain. But it also feels like I’m abandoning him and diminishing the magnitude of love I had/have (grief tense problems again) for him.

I certainly don’t want to be a person “stuck” in grief for years and years, but yet how do I embrace healing when it means moving farther away from him? I recognize it is human nature to move forward, even when we think we can’t, but these better days are playing games with my head. The human spirit is a miraculous thing, but matters of the heart, which grief certainly is, is so complex!

I’m thankful for less paralyzing moments of pain and heartache and also a little distraught that I’m not feeling those things as frequently anymore. I’m able to joke about him more, talk about him with laughter and smiles and sometimes the tears don’t even follow that.

I also know, after a little over a year of grief practice, this may not be a permanent condition. Tomorrow I may be on my knees, face in my hands with sorrow. But the stretches of doing ok are becoming longer. The unpredictability of my emotions is lessening. I’m growing slightly accustomed to life without him. You can tell me it’s natural, normal, human nature, healthy, whatever you want to call it, but it doesn’t feel right just yet. It feels sad to be happy without him. It feels wrong and almost obscene to have days where I feel normal.

It’s quite the internal struggle and emotional tug-of-war, to genuinely desire healing but almost need the grief as evidence of the love I felt for him. I suppose at some point I’ll be better equipped to fully accept both pieces, together. But right now, they don’t feel like emotions that can or should go together. Right now I feel it is an either-or scenario, even though I know that’s not how it works.

I’m working on accepting this new change in the way I’m grieving and trying to give myself permission to mourn differently than before. I’m trying to accept these new feelings and understand they don’t mean I’m missing or loving him any less.

Grief… specifically the ways we do it are certainly unpredictable, impermanent and evolving, am I right?

Thanks for your patience with me as I work through these new, complicated, confusing and messy parts. Someday feeling better will feel…well…better. Until then, thanks for staying with me.

Extra Grace,

Jodi

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13 Comments

  • Reply Carol Hendrick May 2, 2017 at 1:23 pm

    I remember many years ago when our young next door neighbor died unexpectedly on Good Friday evening. They had two young children and one on the way. We did everything we could for them, but let me tell you I was not interested in hearing about Easter that year. And I found myself the next spring getting angry at the grass for coming up and the flowers for coming out. That feeling came back from time to time. And this was not even MY husband. So I think you are entirely normal, dear heart and very full of grace.

  • Reply Linda Allen May 2, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    It’s been about 15 months, I too, still battle with these feelings. I’ve become stronger & thrown myself in a few activities at church but only ones that we hadn’t done together. But sometimes I still get heart-wrenching, punch in the gut sadness. During these times I don’t believe I can go one more minute. But I do, I’m so grateful for my precious Jesus, he lets me lean completely on Him. But there are those moments, when I’m overcome with the loss, that I don’t want to pray, I just want it to be over. I still go over the last days in the hospital, every moment he was still alive even though he wasn’t conscious. I don’t want to forget a detail, But it’s getting better, now I can remember without sobbing. Blessings, Linda

  • Reply Lisa Teichmann May 2, 2017 at 3:52 pm

    You nailed it. Just coming up on 7 months and while I’m grateful to get through one day without crying, I also feel guilty that I’m moving on without him. I have this overwhelming need for him to be remembered. Our wedding anniversary is coming up…I was so looking forward to celebrating 35 years and now it doesn’t count.

  • Reply Dorothy J Wright May 2, 2017 at 6:58 pm

    I love your blog – today was especially meaningful to me. My husband has been gone less than eight months and I don’t think I will ever stop grieving. We were married 53 years and it’s hard to live without my best friend.

  • Reply Jo Anne Zigan May 2, 2017 at 7:31 pm

    I love today’s blog. It hit the nail on the head for me in so many ways. I have been grieving my husband less time than you, just over eight months now. And there are times when my children and I remember fun times and joke about what a character he was. It feels good to include him in the moment and it feels good to celebrate his love of life and crazy personality. Like you, I sometimes feel guilty if I am enjoying myself. And now I am about to move from our home to a small apartment and I am feeling a certain amount of anxiety in that regard. But I know that he would want me to move forward and I did promise him that that is what I would do. Our 45th anniversary is also coming in May. Along with Father’s Day approaching and his birthday was in June. I have been very emotional. I am determined to keep a good positive attitude and enjoy what time I have left on this earth. I just wish I was enjoying it with him still Your experience and your insight regarding your experience has been enriching for me. Thank you.

  • Reply Bridget May 2, 2017 at 10:37 pm

    Hi Jodie! I’m so glad I found your blog. I to lost my husband just a year ago on April 15th. He just turned 49. It was very sudden and unexpected. I also have a young daughter who is 7 years old.
    Your post about moving forward is exactly how I have been feeling lately! He was my best friend and soulmate. I want to heal and feel joy again, but it just doesn’t seem right without him. I feel like I’m doing something wrong.

  • Reply Val May 3, 2017 at 2:19 am

    Thank you for your writing and your insight-its helping me so much.

  • Reply Stephanie May 3, 2017 at 3:40 pm

    You hit th nail on the head with this! I was thinking about the exact same juxtaposition of feelings this weekend. My son passed 10 months ago this past Monday, and my mom 3 years ago on Tuesday. I have been discussing with my therapist the concept of holding, and owning multiple emotions at one time and allowing myself that privilege. You’re experience is exactly that, holding joy and sadness all together. Last week also happened to be my 40th birthday and my husband surprised me with a trip to wine country with my two best friends and their husbands. As I found myself completely enjoying our precious time together, I simultaneously felt these small pangs of guilt and sadness for experiencing such joy. When you wrote about desiring healing but almost NEEDING the grief as evidence of the love you shared, that especially resonated with my heart. Thank you for sharing, I look forward to more of your posts!

  • Reply Ann Bolyard May 3, 2017 at 10:53 pm

    This is exactly how I feel. I am so sad, but getting better. Now I am feeling guilty about feeling better
    Thank you so much for these letters. They help so much.
    Ann

  • Reply Jamie May 4, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    I love you much, May God always be with you in every moment, sad or happy. Thank you for sharing from your heart, my dear friend.

  • Reply Shirley Shelbourn May 6, 2017 at 8:39 am

    Oh my my husband has been gone 5 years and I identify so much with what is being said. Amazing whether you are still raising kids or not which I am not we are still having the same emotions and the healing is very simular. Thanks for your writings.

  • Reply Sissy May 10, 2017 at 5:11 pm

    Thank you for your message. I, too, feel this same way since losing my husband 14 months ago. I will continue to hold you in my thoughts and prayers,as I hope you will do for me, too.

  • Reply Kristin L Flanders September 9, 2017 at 8:50 am

    Yes….

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