Heart Full of Hope

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Christine Geery

Christine Geery
February 17
I've never played by the rules. I was absent the day they handed those out. I believe in being kind, playing fair, laughing often, not judging others and drinking red wine. And I always kiss my Sweetie goodnight. It may lead to other fun stuff. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Life is short!  Break the rules!  Forgive quickly!  Kiss slowly! Love truly, Laugh uncontrollably... And never regret anything that made you smile. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Always remember that stressed spelled backwards is desserts. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Part of the secret of a success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside. ~ Mark Twain


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APRIL 23, 2012 12:22PM

Grief...Life Does Get Better

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Last night I had a profound dream. I was wearing my wedding ring, something I hadn't done for quite a while because my husband of twenty eight years passed away almost six years ago. For some inexplicable reason, I had to keep holding on to the ring, even though this once beautiful piece of jewelry was falling apart. I remember arriving at the jewelers. How I got there I have no idea, but when I showed him the ring, the gold looked tarnished; also, it was worn so thin that it was crumbling before my eyes. The ring had the appearance of sand, like that which is panned by gold miners. The diamond in the center slipped out of its fittings. It tumbled so gently on the table that it hardly whispered a sound.

One look at the jewelers face and I knew that my beautiful ring was beyond repair. Instead of reacting like I normally would, namely to break down into tears, I carefully picked up the diamond, put it in my purse, and heard myself say, “Well, I guess it is really over now, it is finally over.”

I am not a woman who takes things lightly, especially the death of a loved one. My husband, Bob, was one in a long succession of people whom I have lost. In the sixteen years that I nursed him, I mistakenly thought that I had already grieved as much as humanly possible. Little did I know what awaited me.

They say there are five stages of grief; they are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I believe that this is true, however, I do not believe that you pass through these stages in the sequence given as if navigating your way to a particular destination. On any given day I passed through any number of stages in random order.

In the beginning I thought about my deceased husband every minute of every day. My grief was all consuming. I couldn't believe that my body could hold so many tears. I maneuvered my way through the days, numb to everyone and everything around me. I performed my tasks mechanically. I forced myself to get out of bed in the morning. Sometimes, small acts such as brushing my hair and putting on makeup, seemed so futile, because after all, there was no one I needed to please any more. Or so it seemed to me then.
A      After a while I began to notice that I didn't have to tell myself to get up in the morning. Then, for the first time, I went through my whole working day without thinking about Bob's absence. But then, late in the evening, I felt guilty for not thinking about him for the entire day, and the sad dance began again. My feelings were like a yo-yo, and for a very long time I felt as if this was the way it would always be. I was doomed to a life of depression, this was it; this was my life, now and forever.
Up and down the roller coaster I rode, until one day I realized that I made it through an entire week feeling quite normal, or how I thought normal would feel. I even wore perfume for the first time in years. In the beginning, every time the twenty-third of the month came by, I would remember that was the day Bob died. Then, remarkably, one month the twenty-third came and went unnoticed.
Only after that day was over did I stop and look at the date on the calendar. Often, when I would dream about him, Bob would leave me all over again, and I would wake in the middle of the night screaming, crying or both. It was only after five years that I felt I could go on, even when one of those stages of grief briefly re-visited me.
Friends have told me of their personal experiences with loss due to divorce. They have shared the anguish and the pain that they endured before, during and after the final papers were signed. Some have been able to carry on an amicable relationship with their ex-partner, saying that they make much better friends than marriage partners. They seem genuinely happy with their new lives, and their children seem to have adjusted to the divorce much better than if their parents were not on good terms.
For most however, this is not the scenario that plays out. There is bitterness, on-going legal battles and stress, and a tremendous amount of guilt felt by both partners, because in their minds they have failed in so many ways. Near as I can tell, the grief of going through a divorce is much the same as losing someone to death. Sometimes I think it is worse, because in death you usually lose someone through no fault of your own. In divorce, I have been told that a part of you always feels guilt and/or the need to blame the other.
I now understand my dream much more clearly. I will always love my husband, but it is a tremendous relief to finally be able to put that lovely ring away, knowing that my life will go on, that my grief will not consume me forever. I have no way of knowing if I will love again, but I do know that I am finally free to make that choice. I don’t think we ever completely stop grieving for someone whom we have loved, but because we risked loving and losing, our capability to love deepens significantly.
Addendum: It has now been almost ten years since my husband's passing. I am happy to report that life does indeed go on. I met and eventually married a wonderful man in June, 2010. Sometimes it still feels strange that I am married again, but I am happy and completely satisfied with my new life.
I read somewhere that loss brings us to our knees. I have experienced that to be true, but also that a faith that our constantly changing fortunes ultimately works for the best, and trust in our unique life force can ultimately raise us up again.


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grief, coping

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This is a re-worked post from 2010. I don't know why I felt the urge to re-post it, because it is not a happy subject, except for the ending. It could be that my late husband prompted me to do so
Thanks for this piece, reading it, as I am, on the 16th anniversary of m brother's death. Life indeed does go on. Good that you found someone to be with at this time.
I know that you will love again. The dream was quite possibly a prelude to what happens when we realize letting go won't hurt us or our loved ones.
I'm in a place where I can't see the healing ever taking place. Wonderfully told and cheered me up. Thank you for that, Christine. Glad you reposted and reworked.
Christine, I'm so sorry you lost your husband; I didn't know. I am glad that you have moved forward with your life. The dream was very telling.
Christine...It drive me crazy that I answer posts by saying I've had that happen to me. But I have. In this past week my daughter...who I rarely think of as a young child came to me in a dream. She was so clear..every detail of her face. I tried to reach her but the she slipped away. My father was in a dream two nights ago. And this is the second time this phenomenon happened. I woke up and the image was still there. And then it too faded. I often wonder if there is something more to this...because in no way was my dream connected to either of them. Do we actually open up another sense when we dream? Just before my daughter passed..my husband visited me in a dream, we had a conversation. He wanted to go with him. And I refused.

And yes grief lasts a long time. It lingers, like smoke around you.
And then one day...a breath of fresh air clears the space around you. I am so happy that you are in a wonderful relationship. We can love more than one person...I still love my first husband, and my husband still loves his first wife. I think it is natural.
I'm glad you re-posted this, because there is always going to be someone new to grieving that will see it and have hope.
maybe he wanted to remind you how happy you are.r
It seemed that my life had stopped when I lost my puppy love, then again when I lost my father, then again when I lost my mother. I guess some, like me, do not adapt well to the loss of a loved one. Yet, time sure helps. Words of wisdom, Christine. Excellent piece. R
There are a number of our fellow OSers who will benefit from reading this beautifully written post. I have just one reaction: I think the difference between a loss through divorce and one through death is that there is some degree of hope left in the divorce because the person is still living. The finality of death is gut-wrenching.

Fascinating and well written account, Christine. You've shared some hard-earned wisdom here and I was happy to see that you've found peace in your heart at last.
What a wonderful entry I'm so pleased you reported. Truly an inspiration and I'm so glad you've found love again.

I still grieve every day for my parents even though I realise they both had long lives. Sometimes I think I will never feel truly happy again, but it hasn't been long since they passed.

There are other factors but I relate to those feelings you described so well and your post gives me hope. Thanks.
Beautifully written, and insightful and so honest. I know this has helped and will help many people. As someone afraid of loss, it gives me hope. Thank you, and I'm so glad that you were able to heal and love again.
I'm happy for you that you have found happiness and moved on Christine. Your feelings are relatable, although I haven't lost a spouse to death, I've often wondered if the pain of grief would have been any less had it been so. In one kind of loss we have absolutely no choice, in another there may be bitterness which overrides the love that was shared. In any case, the grief I felt was all-consuming, like yours, and it will always be part of who I am for the rest of my life because it will have shaped me from that point on whether it was my beloved Babacim or a spouse I lost.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Inspiring post, Christine.

I could see your diamond as it " tumbled so gently on the table that it hardly whispered a sound."
Thank you for sharing your wonderful comments with me.
this left me speechless...you are truly amazing.
Coping with losses is the supreme test of character. The ultimate loss, of course, is life itself. Before that happens, most of us have to learn how to cope with the death of friends, parents, and partners in life. The death of a child has always struck me as the one that would be the hardest to accept or put in the past. Memory works both ways. It can make us sad and inconsolable or it can be a source of joy and hope. My mother died of a heart attack when she was only 48 years old. I was still a teenager and didn't think I could live without her. I told myself that she would always be alive in my heart and mind and I dwelt on happy memories of her. It helped then, and all these many years later, it still does.
OMG I am deeply moved by your story here.Thanks for sharing.
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I don’t think we ever completely stop grieving for someone whom we have loved, but because we risked loving and losing, our capability to love deepens significantly.

Thank you for bringing this post to my attention on the anniversary of your husband's death. Your words that I pasted above describes well a final conclusion that needs to be reached. I find those words to be very comforting. Thanks.