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Grief and Depression – Practiced What I Preached

“Wednesday, December 29, 2021” stares at me from the laptop monitor. What have I accomplished in the past year? Truth is that I squandered precious time, trying to cope with impending loss. Two fine men in my extended family, ages 51 and 54, lost their battles to cancer, one at Thanksgiving and one at Christmas. The most recent deaths were from my children’s generation. Both left grieving parents, who questioned why they had not been chosen to go.

Writing, my daily therapy, was left untouched for months. I turned to wine, food and TV for solace. I had no focus to read and could not concentrate on a television program for more than twenty minutes. All I wanted to do was seek the security of my bed and crawl under the covers. To others, I appeared in control, but deep down, I knew that I was on the brink of depression and had to dig into my grounding toolbox, to avoid falling into the dark hole.

My husband transitioned to the other side seven years ago from leukemia. I am proud that I had the strength to work, write, move to another state, volunteer and redefine myself. I still have difficult moments, but I ride them out, confident that they will pass.

I am back on track from the latest heartbreaks, practicing what I preached in previous postings.

  1. Limit alcohol. It is a depressant
  2. Eat nutritious food
  3. Exercise- I walk at least three miles a day, plus golf, dance or take exercise classes via zoom
  4. Learn something new.  I took golf lessons
  5. Volunteer. Helping others keeps your mind off yourself.
  6. Write a gratitude list.
  7. If you are grieving, talk to your loved one and watch for signs. They will appear when you least expect them. Coins, feathers, songs, numbers, misbehaving electronics, memories and scents are a few ways to let you know that he/she is closer than you think.

Mind, body and spirit are connected. Keep moving. They require daily attention.  Be good to yourself, find quiet time and connect with nature. There is no magic bullet. It takes effort to hit the curve balls life throws.

Divided at Death

Death is inevitable, the looming reality, that the journey on Earth is temporary. Although we observe the life cycles of all living things, we are devastated by loss and fear our own mortality.

Grief is an emotion that cannot be avoided. The pain is excruciating when loved ones, including pets, transition to the other side. A piece of us dies with them. Functioning like robots, we tend to daily tasks, but our hearts are non-participants.

Psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross developed a theory that we go through five distinct stages of grief after the loss of a loved one: Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance. I experienced all of these, but some during the five years that my husband fought leukemia. Denial came when he was diagnosed and relapsed from a bone marrow transplant. Bargaining was in the form of prayer during his treatment. Because he was suffering without hope of recovery, I felt acceptance and relief at his transition. Two years later, when time had dulled the illness and treatment nightmares, I was angry because he had left me to navigate life’s challenges alone. The last item is depression. Over the last seven years, I monitored my mood. Was I clinically depressed? No, but I felt a dark cloud overshadowing everything. Nothing felt the same. It was as if a nerve had been snipped from my body. I felt and enjoyed with all my senses, but the intensity was missing.

There is no time limit on grief, but we can take charge to avoid being devoured. Our loved ones are in a place of unconditional love and light. We remain here because there is more learning, growing and loving to do. Regardless of your beliefs concerning perpetual life, while here, you must survive. Reality bites when the loved one’s death puts you into financial hardship. You may have a family to feed, mortgage and other debts. Nobody is going to rush in on a white charger to save you. After the initial shock, there is no time for pity parties or for sitting in the corner to suck your thumb. Moving forward is the only way to survive. The progress may be slow. You may feel like you are slogging knee deep in molasses, with tears gushing from your eyes. The path may seem dark as pitch.  Keep going, if only by baby steps.

With time, the journey becomes easier. Set realistic expectations. Become friends with grief. Know that dates, songs, pictures and places may trigger waves of sorrow. Feel and deal with the emotion when it arises. Have a good cry. When the intensity recedes, continue your healing journey.

Love and pamper yourself. Work on mind, body and spirit health. Stay open for signs from your loved ones. I experienced electronic irregularities, coins, feathers, scents, songs on the radio, random memories, a chill, tummy blips, butterflies, dragonflies, birds and bells ringing. Repeating numbers may be messages from the angels. Multiple fours appear to me throughout the day, every day. They are on the clock, computer, license plates, receipts and car odometer. Other repeating numbers include my birthday and 1111. Your loved ones are reaching across the veil to give you comfort and support. Be open to their love. Their vibration is higher than ours. Raise yours to meet them. Deep in sorrow, you will miss the messages.

Grief hurts and is merciless. Struggle through the void. Find joy and be grateful. Beauty surrounds. Open your heart and look around.

Single lit candle with quite flame on black background

Through the Veil

Messages from those beyond

Shunned in disbelief

Man rejects unseen attempts

Comprehend cannot

 

Spirits made of energy

Not of solid mass

Subtle twinges unexplained

Love from nearby realm

 

Feathers, pennies, dragonflies

Birds, the love they bring

Open heart and mind receive

Songs through veil they sing

 

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Crossing Bridges

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Gentle spirits hover close

Giving guidance

Feathers, pennies, butterflies

Signs from loved ones

 

Comprehending, understand

Catch the meaning?

Foggy, fuzzy, message be

Earthly limits

 

Gifted wonder, medium

Communicates

Souls who crossed behind the veil

Sharing wisdom

 

Love eternal, never dies

Crossing bridges

Living life with clarity

Thank you, helpers

SUPERMAN

If I were Superman, I’d fly around the world backwards

To turn the time upside down

I’d go back to when my boys were small enough

To hold upon my lap

When we were all a family, my husband, boys and grands.

Go back, I say, to simpler times.

I’d lay beside the man I chose for better or for worse

To feel his heat and love forever.

 

Accept, Forget and Live for now.  This moment’s all I’ve got.

No argument from me.

But I cannot forget what was, my life, my love, my boys.

It’s burned forever in my heart.

The boys are men that need me not. My husband’s gone back home.

Life is good, but much is lost, never to retrieve

If I were Superman, I’d fly around the world backwards

To turn the time upside down.

Human Condition

Struggle through the birth canal

The baby fights for life

Tiny lungs that gasp for air

A slap across the butt

 

Pattern set for human life

It’s cruel and cold sometimes

Fraught with tests and challenges

To teach life’s lessons best

 

Question not when things are good

Enjoy the respite time

Love will keep your spirit whole

Resilient, strong, inspired

 

Time to leave will come with death

For most another fight

Struggle through the veil to light

Cross over, job well done!

Another Soul

Another one has left this place

Never to return

As parent, friend and confidant

Strong until the end

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It takes belief and open heart

Know that she lives on

Her home is peace, love, harmony

Painful body shed

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Five senses do not see her soul

There behind the veil

Be still to view her messages

Love sent from afar

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Rejoice she’s found her way back home

Angels there to guide

Another soul has left this place

Resting in the Lord.

Unexplained

Unexplained symbols

From places unknown

Numbers repeating

Feathers and dreaming

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Signs from the loved ones

Sent from the heavens?

Only your heart can

Translate the meaning

Final Act

Final act of letting go

Cast to ocean currents

All that’s left of life well lived

Flesh to dust and ashes

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Gentle spirit living on

Freed from Earthly trappings

Soaring as the circling hawk

Time and space forgotten

Destiny

Loss, disappointment are not the end

But a reason to push past comfort

Open a chapter to destiny

Path to fulfill your divinity