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Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Waiting for the cloud to lift.

What is 'normal' when it comes to grief? It's now eight weeks since my precious Suzie passed away, yet the aching sadness that greets me as I awake each morning seems more intense than ever. Some people tell me I'm expecting too much of myself and I should be more gentle with myself.... others have said things that make me think I should be 'getting over it' by now.
I'm trying to 'do' all the right things and I'm certainly not just sitting at home feeling sorry for myself. I'm spending a lot of time with my family and with one or two close friends, and I'm trying to push myself to go out, however difficult it may be. Some days I succeed, other days I don't. Sometimes it feels like I'm just filling my days with distractions while I wait for the black cloud to eventually begin to lift, and for me to feel able to get on with the next chapter of my life. Occasionally I get a glimpse of hope that I have 'moved forward' and that it's getting easier, but those moments always seem to be followed by an ever more intensified sense of increasing desolation and sadness.
Crying in front of other people is something I've never been comfortable with, so it's very hard to cope with the uncontrollable tears that seem to come so readily these days. I have yet to get through a church service without spending most of it crying, and conversations with friends usually trigger the same response. When I'm alone I am often overwhelmed and totally exhausted by the constant stream of tears that I just can't seem to control. Should I even try to do so? Is this a normal reaction?
Having suffered from clinical depression for many years it's difficult to know how much of what I'm facing now is part of the normal grieving process and how much is an exacerbation of my ongoing depressive illness. I'm grateful for the counselling and the various therapies that I've undergone in the past because they have certainly given me techniques that help me cope with these intense feelings.  I've been advised to accept some form of bereavement counselling, so I am looking into various ways of accessing this. The closeness that Suzie and I shared, both emotionally and on a practical level, must surely add to the sense of emptiness and the lack of purpose or direction that engulfs me now. Every single aspect of my life was integral with Suzie, indeed, motivated and driven by her, so I shouldn't really be surprised that I don't know who I am or how to move forward without her. Sometimes I look at her photo and I just can't take in the fact that she has gone and she's not going to be coming back.
But, however much I wish it weren't true, I know that it is, and I know that I have to continue to try to live some kind of meaningful life without her. I am certain that God allowed things to happen in the way they did in order to accomplish His plan and purpose, and that I am seeing only a small part of His perfect picture. I constantly draw on His grace and strength to get me through each new day, and I trust in His unfailing love as He gradually allows the future to unfold. I thank Him for the precious love of my family and true friends, and for the understanding and support that they offer. I continue to make it my conscious decision to look beyond the pain and try to focus on all the good things that I know are still there.
One day the tears will begin to lessen and I will be able to embrace the beauty of the wonderful life Suzie and I shared. One day my thoughts and memories of her will be able to stretch beyond her illness and her final weeks and days. One day a warm glow of love will replace the ache in my heart when I think of her. One day........