... for those who mourn the loss of a soul mate
"He felt now that he was not simply close to her, but that he did not know where he ended and she began." - Leo Tolstoy

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas is bittersweet when you are mourning

You cherish the Christmases past and mourn the Christmases never to be and you miss with all your heart your soul mate who is no longer physically with you.
I had a couple of invitations to celebrate today with friends today but I chose to stay home. I can relive old memories and smile, or I can cry if I need to.
I can read, watch TV, sip some wine, and just be.
No pressures. No false smiles.
I am lucky and blessed because I have friends and family who understand what I need to do to get through today.
Maybe on future Christmases, I will do it differently. But this year, as in years past, I choose this.
And it's OK.
Do what you need to do this year to celebrate, to remember, to care for yourself.
And know that whatever you choose is okay.
Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Walk In My Shoes

Grief is not something you “get over.” It becomes a part of who you are.  It finds that hole in your heart and molds itself into the shape of the one you have lost. And it stays tender.  It becomes a painful part of who you are.  Those who want to help need to know that and understand that they cannot heal your heart.  They can only walk beside you, giving you a solid hand to reach for when you stumble on the often unstable ground of your grief.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Dream visits

Have you experienced dream visits from your soul mate?
Do you feel it was real?
Many have reported this phenomenon. I know I have many times and it's very comforting.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Filling the Hole

This is a time of year when the loneliness of loss is magnified by nonstop celebrations, events that always before involved two and now fall to one. This is especially the time to reach out to the one left behind.  Offer to shop with them. Invite them to a Holiday concert or dinner.  Or simply ask them to share a quiet evening at home with a favorite Holiday movie accompanied by hot chocolate and Christmas cookies.  They may refuse, but don’t stop trying.  One day you will ask at just the right time.

Friday, December 11, 2015

This is why grief is so hard

This is why grief is so hard. It is all-pervasive. We mourn all the little everyday, wonderful, precious moments of our days with our soul mate.
One of the first things I remember feeling sad about was that John no longer prepared our morning coffee. Every night, before we went to bed, John would set up the coffee-maker for us. He would grind the beans and fill the water reserrvoir. All I had to do in the morning (I was usually the first one up) was push the On button.
After John passed, I made the coffee but the coffee wasn't the same. There was no John-love in it. It was just coffee.
And that was just one thing that changed. John and I were joined at the hip, as some would say. But we liked it that way. It was our life and we loved our life.
Life without John will go on but it will be forever different.
And that difference is enormous.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Touch Me

I once asked a friend what she missed most after her husband died.  Her answer surprised me.  “Touch,” she said. “I miss being touched.”  The sadness and isolation in her voice were palpable and I wanted to cry for her.  Instead, I reached out and enfolded her in a deep, heart hug.

How often, I thought, do we wrap ourselves in a lonely bubble, its outer perimeter ever rebounding off the bubbles of those around us?  We can clearly see the grieving or lonely or needful person beside us and yet it is so very easy to just bounce away without reaching out to make a very human connection. And the need is there. Oh how ever present is our need to be touched.  For the person who is grieving, that sympathetic touch and a genuine question of “How are you doing, how are you REALLY doing?” may be all that is needed to unleash a flood of tears.  Unshed, they have kept a heart bound and aching but your simple, honestly caring question opened the floodgates.

Serving as both shield and mask, our skin is so much more than a simple barrier.  It protects all that we have inside, shielding our delicate inner body and masking so much of our vulnerable psychic selves that we choose to hide. But, no matter how tough we try to be, its thousands of nerve endings still connect us to the outside.  Through touch, we can stir fiery demons, soothe their painful fires, or just simply connect with another human being. Research has shown that touch is perhaps the most essential of our five senses and can affect our wellbeing, regardless of age.  It is a proven fact that babies need human contact to thrive and elderly people who receive even the smallest touches are often noticeably healthier than those who do not.  Even snuggling with a beloved cat or dog can satisfy that need for contact and help us feel accepted and whole. I’m not saying we need to run around mauling each other or even engaging in huge full-body hugs with every person we meet.  But a gentle pat on the arm or a compassionate hug to connect human to human goes miles toward reassuring others that they are not alone on this planet.

My friend Joy tells a story of working with premature babies.  One in particular has stayed with her for years.  Born very early, he had been confined to an incubator for the first months of his little life, had been fed via feeding tube.  He always seemed to be tense, cranky and restless. Finally the day came when Joy was asked to give him his first bottle feeding. She carefully swaddled the squirming, mewling infant in a soft blanket, picked him up and cuddled him.  It was his first human contact.  Before she could even start to feed him the bottle, he relaxed and quieted, closing his eyes in blissful contentment. Just that one touch, that’s all it took.

In a marriage, every day is filled with those small connections that come in the form of a brief hug or a kiss, a touch on the arm, a warm and loving body in bed beside you or a myriad of other small unconscious moments of reaching out. Take that person away and it is as though there is suddenly a void there each time you reach out to connect.  The hand you instinctively reach to hold is gone.  Where there was once a familiar aura drawing you like a magnet, there is a void and that side of your energy seems to fray away into empty space.  It is as though you have forgotten to eat for far too long and realize there is an emptiness permeating your very being.  Your skin is starving. You may attribute the feeling to grief and that may well be a huge part of it, but your body, your psyche is craving the smallest hug or gentle touch on the arm. It needs connection. It needs to feel the food of touch.