These three things will destroy finding our new purpose
Updated: Jan 6
In her new book, “Option B”, Sheryl Sandberg* lists three things that stunt recovery from this tragedy of losing this significant person in our life.
The belief that we are at fault.
The belief that an event will affect all areas of our life
The belief that the aftershocks will last forever.
“The three P’s play like the flip side of the pop song “Everything is Awesome” – “Everything is Awful”. The loop in our head repeats, “It’s my fault this is awful. My whole life is awful. And it’s always going to be awful.””
These feelings are normal.
To give into these feelings and to let them rule our life is what becomes the destroyer of our healing.
On the night before Terry passed, she had fallen and hit her head. When I checked it, it didn’t look bad. So, she went to bed, and I checked on her a little later, after I went to bed. I awoke to her struggled breathing at 3:30 and she didn’t recover.
When at the hospital, I was suffering through so many thoughts and feelings, emotions and numbness. My honey was in that hospital room, and I felt so much fear that I was losing her. Afterwards, I started the “what if” questions. What if … What If… Too many to describe, and too many that will bring up another round of remorse. What I did, eventually, reconcile with was that this was God’s timing for her. Many of my medical friends explained that the head bleed was so severe, that nothing would have helped. As I reflected on our life, I started to realize how strong of a lady she was; putting up with so many trials, troubles, and circumstances. All the while, never a complaint; always a smile and an encouragement to me and so many around me. My lady had spent 45 years with me. These were the best 45 years of my life. What I can dwell on is that, not beating myself up over something that I couldn’t control. I can’t, and won’t, take it personal.
As this grief continues, I often find myself wondering how I am going to replace a “45 year hole” in my life. Will these feeling continue, forever. Well, yes, these feelings will continue forever. But the feeling that I describe here are not the feelings of hopelessness. But, feelings of love, happiness, memories of good times, seeing her smile in so many things. Feelings of joy (yes, that is starting back into my life) when I sit in “our spot” and gaze at a lake, river, stream, and ocean. When I do these things, I remember how much she loved to look at the water; even when traveling down the highway at 70 miles an hour trying to spot a quick glance at a water fall. This pervasiveness is in all parts of my life. I still hurt when I think of her. And, I can feel her joy in so many areas of my life.
The aftershocks of grief continue every day. This, too, is normal. In the song “You Make Me Brave”, by Amanda Cook, there is a verse. “Your love in wave after wave crashes over me”. When I heard this, it got me to thinking. Like the ocean waves, my grief keeps crashing over me from time to time. The waves of grief, like the waves of God’s love, crashing over me, are washing me cleaner as the days progress.
Today, these waves provide me with God’s comfort. I know it is OK to cry, laugh, love, remember, and cry out to God. The waves of Grief may be permanent, but God is using these as a cleansing stream to, as the song says, Make Me Brave.
As I continue down this new path in life:
I am taking it personal. I want to fulfill the life that my honey and I started and to live up to the promise I made to her to live my life in service as an honor to her memory.
I am using these feelings and this experience to allow this change in my life to be pervasive. To invade every part of my being to push me and motivate me to remember that this is not a 45 year hole, but 45 years of love, life, happiness, memories, and to use these in my efforts to find my new purpose in life; a purpose that is an honor to my honey and to my God.
While these feelings are Permanent, the permanency of all the good things are what I am working on to be the relevant parts of this new life. A life that keeps my honey in my heart, but also allows me to be me.
As I saw in another post – “Celebrate the life of your deceased by living yours”.