I am no longer surprised that every time I am online I find myself seeking out articles about grief.  Its been almost a year now and I am constantly checking in to see how I am doing.  I find lots of comfort in reading articles, posts, and blogs about other women who have lost their husband.  I mean come on, let’s face it, women talk about their feelings more then men do.   Thank goodness someone talks about what they are feeling while grieving.  If they didn’t, I would think I am crazy for feeling some of the things I have felt over the past year.  Grief is hard.

I think I have been pretty transparent for years; especially in my writing.  For those who follow me, you probably know me better than some of my best friends who haven’t read any of my stuff.  Thank you for all your love and support!

How am I doing? How am I handling my loss?  What does grief look like for me?

My canned answer for how am I doing is always, “Ok.  I have good and bad days”.  Really what I am doing is taking one day at a time.   One day is about all I can get through.  Those who know me used to tease me about how much I liked to plan.  Don’t get me wrong I like being spontaneous also, but it always felt good to have a full calendar.  Well, a lot has changed over the past couple of years.  When John became ill, I never wanted to go anywhere.  Now he has been gone a year, and my calendar remains empty.  A friend recently told me, after her cancer diagnosis, she told herself life is to short, and she says “yes” to everything.  She can’t stay busy enough.  I remember saying yes to everything in my past.  Today I have no desire to say yes.  Life is to short not to do what you want and right now I want to say “no.”  I hope in time that will change but for now, its who I am.

How am I handling the loss?  I think for the most part I am doing ok.  I get out of bed every day.  Sometimes that is an accomplishment in itself.  I do my best to go into the office at least three times a week.  I enjoy the movement and hearing other peoples voices.  I am not sure I love what I do anymore; I hope in time that will change.

I no longer enjoy my home.  It’s quiet.  There is not much movement anymore — only the sounds of the boys coming and going to work or school.   I don’t even enjoy my dogs that much right now.  Not like I used to when John was alive.  Now they seem like such a hassle.  Again, something I really hope changes with time.

I know myself well, and I understand a lot of this is because work, home, the dogs are all part of John.  They are all part of my past life.  The life I loved and worked so hard for.  Right now it’s hard to see where my future lies. I am not going to sugar coat it,  the planner in me is a bit lost.  I have no plan for my future and for someone like me that is kind of scary.  But I am also an adventurer, as a lot of you know from my travels, and I am not afraid to see where God takes me.

What does grief look like for me?  When I look at the new me, I see loneliness.  I see neediness.  I see a weak person who once was so strong she could take on anything.   I now see a person who no longer has any desire to take care of anyone, help anyone, or be there for anyone (now that is some real transparency).  I am burnt the hell out on life right now, and the caretaker, giver of all things, has retired.  At least for now.  Maybe it will change with time.

Knowing yourself well also gives you the capacity to let change happen.  Life circumstances have changed me in a big way.  John’s death is the most challenging to date.  I haven’t shut down.  I know it seems like I have, but I can assure I have not.  I still dream about what can be.  I wake up each day with hope.  My faith is still strong.  I will always hold onto the love John gave me while here on this earth.   I also continue to hang on with the certainty God is not done with me yet.  God is only just beginning and with time I pray an even stronger me will emerge.

Luv, Luv,

Julie 💙