Monday, June 20, 2016

#SOL 16: Moving through Grief

from my art journal, 6.19.16 - The Wisest Know Nothing
(stabilo pencil, gesso, acrylic paint, newspaper)
Grieving is largely days of normalcy punctuated by deep sorrow which gives way to feeling sad. Sometimes the triggers are known, like yesterday was Father's day, and sometimes the triggers are not. When grief sets in, I feel like I have been lying most days, faking this life I am making without Rob. Pretending that the loss is manageable when the loss feels so huge. This is what yesterday was like. This depth of sorrow feels as if I might die and no one can fill what has been lost, make me whole again. No one, except myself. And so, I also knew that the feelings would dissipate and I would feel differently again. I knew this because I have been through this pain before and I have marked it, named it. I knew even when I was sobbing that I would feel more normal than not, just not at the moment.

So what do I do when sorrow is deep?  I feel sorry for myself for awhile and I don't will away the tears.  But I don't allow feeling sorry for too long. It simply isn't helpful. In fact, feeling sorry for myself fuels the hurt. When I remember this and can identify what I'm doing as feeling sorry for myself, I get moving and doing instead.

Yesterday I meditated before anyone was awake in the house and then Jane and I hiked before she left to return home.  I prepped a few pages in my art journals with gesso and I wrote and posted on this blog. Writing helps me to name what I don't know I'm actually thinking. Naming is powerful.

Later in the day I suggested to Devon that we go visit my brothers and Dev drove us north for our visit and got a little highway driving under his belt (he did very well). Being with my brothers is bittersweet as it is still strange to see them and not have Rob there.  Yet, we talked and as we did the grip that was tightening around my stomach eased. When we got home I made dinner and Dev and I ate and talked as we do most nights. I did laundry, watered plants, cleaned the kitchen, and I felt really sad throughout most of it.  Now and then I came across something of Rob's and cried a bit. Later in the night, I returned to painting with the idea of painting what I was feeling. The result I have posted here: The Wisest Know Nothing.  Like writing, making art also helps to ease the pain.

When I was ready to sleep and had turned off lights, I felt a bright blue light cover me.  Yes, cover me. I thought at first this must be because I had moved from light to darkness but I know not to doubt what I do not know. Watching Rob die and listening to what he had to say as he edged closer and closer to death has taught me that mysteries abound and that we cannot know all there is--all the possibilities simply through our five senses.  During the night I recall waking and for the first time, feeling as if Rob was lying next to me. This was so comforting.

Today feels more normal than sorrowful. I woke, meditated and wrote. For today, this is enough.


  1. You name and describe our journeys so exactly. I feel that need to pretend especially now when I'm coming to the 10 th month and I don't want to keep burdening friends .
    The element of surprise continues to dismantle me not matter what I do and how I try and move forward.
    A concert in at Bethel Woods just wasn't Tangelwood. Nothing's the same... Nothing's what I want it to be exactly...
    But writing keeps us anchored and clearer...
    So good that you have creative outlets, a son, family and good friends. It's almost perfect but...

    1. Exactly, Bonnie. Loss cannot be fixed. It must be accepted. And that's what cuts so deeply. Not knowing how to accept the loss in a consistent manner. I do believe that time does heal. Nothing replaces the hole from having Rob gone and yet I have to believe that the hole--the very essence of the pain--can become something different. Nothing holds still.

    2. I can identify the healing jumps I made over the last 10 months. But of course, the road is not paved or familiar or clear. I've been loving Sex and the City- very therapeutic in its way.


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