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Being a Widow

My experience of dealing with grief as a widow

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More than a person

05 July 2011

When your partner dies, you mourn the loss of your buddy, your lover, your life coach and the person who loved and trusted you more than anyone. The first few days and weeks, you miss the person. It is lonely and quiet.

After a while, the bigger picture becomes clear. It is not just the person you lost. It is your life. It is the way you do things, the way you talk, the things you used to do.

Every couple develops their own language over time. Forged through shared experiences and memories, expressions only the two of you understand become common in your relationship.
When your partner dies, this language dies too. You try to keep it alive by explaining bits to other people but it will always feel forced, unnatural. If you ever meet a new partner, you will try to use some of the expressions, because it reminds you of who you lost and it gives a comforting feeling that not everything has changed completely. As if through that, you can recapture part of what you had.

It won't work.

And so it is yet another thing you have lost.

Jane & I had a tradition on F1 Sundays. We would bake some bread and spend the afternoon watching tv and eating bread and French cheese. It is something we just started doing and turned into a tradition. I mourn the loss of that too.

Together, Jane & I discovered we love to fly kites. I can still fly them with friends but the effortless understanding of looking out the window on a windy day and packing the kite, that will never return.

You can not simply try to carry all those things over in to a new relationship (if you are lucky enough to find someone) because that will feel forced and it clearly shows you are not ready to form new traditions with your new person, trying instead to turn your new relationship into a copy of the one you lost.

So the first few weeks, the mourning and pain are very acute. I mourn the person I lost. As time goes on, a new pain will appear. The life I lost.

Maybe this is why so many people say that after about 6 months, things suddenly get worse again.

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