You're Not On A Timeline
I haven’t read many books or sought out much advice when it comes to handling my grief. I’ve thought about it and considered seeing a grief counselor just to make sure I’m behaving normally, but in the end, I’ve made the decision to feel this through on my own instincts. This theory has worked for me throughout my life so far, but losing a spouse is a whole different ball game that is shorting out all of my working brain and heart circuitry. However, I have accidentally come across, on a few different occasions, the advice to not feel like I’m on a grief timeline. I like that. I like the thought of that, and I’ve always hated to be rushed, so I’m clamping down hard on this piece of intel.
Pete’s last few days of life were spent in a coma at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. It was a time that was excruciatingly painful and full of panicked feelings as I came to realize that this was the bullet that we wouldn’t be able to dodge. I had a lot of support during those days. Family and close friends came to our side as we tried to keep his condition private and off of social media (not an easy feat). My grown children were the epicenter of my strength. One night, in the wee hours, my daughter called to check on me as she knew I was sleeping (or actually not sleeping) by Pete’s side. She quoted from a book she was reading. Pema Chodron’s When Things Fall Apart–
I was taken aback by the appropriateness of the words. The next day Sean brought me a copy of the book. I didn’t open it until a few days after Pete passed away. It’s not necessarily a book about grief, but as the title explains, it’s about any sort of life issue that throws you out of your comfort zone.
For me, the essence is that you should move toward these uncomfortable feelings and not fight them. Chodron explains it so beautifully that I won’t attempt to paraphrase, but I seized on her idea. I’m not putting myself on a timeline, and I’m not comparing myself to anyone else or how they work through the process. I have enough deadlines to meet in my life without adding the weight of a grief deadline. I think people who haven’t gone through this sometime assume there’s an endpoint. After almost a year in this state, I can tell you there’s not an end in sight, and I’m not sure that I want there to be.
Do you feel like others want you to get over your grief? Have you imposed deadlines on yourself? I’d love to hear your feedback.