the new normal

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I normally get up and go set up my tent at the Stonington Farmers Market every Friday morning while in Maine. August is the high season and the chance to earn the most selling my art as our tourism is heaviest then. When I woke up yesterday I felt completely paralyzed by sudden sadness. I could not leave my bed, let alone my house. It’s so unlike me. Here I was thinking that I’m through the worst of it, that I’ve accepted Scott is gone.  I panicked… “Am I okay? Is this normal? Does Liam Neeson still feel like this?”…and I could not get up and out to the market. I sat in my PJ’s in my Anniversary Garden all day trying to get back to center.

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Today I feel better. In my research for help online I discovered this article at PsychCentral about Grief, Healing and the One-Two Year Myth . The author describes some of what I am dealing with now. Especially resonant for me is this passage:

“As noted bereavement therapist, Peter Lynch, MSW, said at an annual Holiday Service of Remembrance, referring to the many feelings associated with grief, “The only way through it is through it.” Medication doesn’t make the pain of grief go away. Clients need to understand this important point.

Most people expect to feel better after the first year following a loss and they become frightened when they instead feel worse as they approach the second year. For anyone grieving a significant loss, and especially for someone who has lost a spouse or life partner, the first year is a time of learning to adjust and physically survive. Consider noted psychologist Abraham Maslow’s “hierarchy of needs” (1998).

As Maslow observes, the basics of food, clothing and shelter must be established as a foundation to allow individuals to proceed on a path toward self-actualization. Whether real or imagined, the majority of our clients who have lost their life partner spend much of the first year worrying about their basic survival needs. Once these issues have been resolved, the emotional impact of the loss may dominate the subsequent year. This is when profound feelings of sadness may arise, which may be especially frightening if they are not expected or perceived as “abnormal” or “pathological.” In this emergence of feeling, the meaning and significance of the loss emerges more clearly. The press of business has subsided and the bereaved person is left with what the “now what do I do with the rest of my life” questions and fears.”

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So today I feel “normal” in that I appear to be right on schedule according to this article. I have been blessed this week with two dreams in which Scott was right by my side in his robust body, not the emaciated skeletal one that haunts the back corners of my heart. I have my beautiful garden and my lovable dog-kids. I have an open heart and I have enough sense to allow myself to feel the feelings as they come and not run away from them. Feeling the painful moments along with the joyful ones is the path to healing the heartache. Scott’s walking the path with me in my dreams.

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4 thoughts on “the new normal

  1. Pingback: seeing is believing | going to goa

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