Getting On With Life After A Partner Dies

June 15, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog

lov1fetA friend of mine sent me a NY Times article (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/15/health/15brod.html?scp=1&sq=Jane%20E.%20Brody%20Personal%20Health&st=cse) “Getting on With Life After a Partner Dies” written by Jane Brody.

The article describes how she and other widows and widowers have coped with the loss of a partner by filling up their days and trying to turn their loss into something positive.  She goes on to site examples of different people whose energy and attention turned to concrete accomplishments after the loss.  She writes experts call this phenomenon “psychological resilience”.

I really liked this piece as it described me to a T.  Since my husband’s passing on August 15th 2008, I have written a book, started this website, produced a film in Brazil, started blogging on the Huffington Post, had the house painted, changed the wiring in the house, got a new dog, bought and renovated a loft, among many other things.  I’m not saying that to pat myself on the back.  I’m just sharing it to confirm why I have identified with the post.

I started on my journey of turning my loss, my pain, into some kind of accomplishment six weeks after Chris’ passing.  I didn’t sit there and thought “I should have psychological resilience”.  I just knew if I didn’t get going, I would drown.

I also knew I had a lot to cry about.  I had loved my husband more than I had ever experienced before and his pain of two and a half years of illness was still difficult for me to process.

So I cried, hurt and got busy, and while doing all of that I also gained some wisdom into my life, became more patient and compassionate.

Each one of us has a different way of grieving and coping.  I remember the people that were shocked when seeing me soon after Chris’ passing, with my hair brushed and my clothes clean, and would blurt out:  “You look so well”.   In time that almost felt like a criticism, as if I should be so torn that I no longer had any interest in keeping myself presentable.

All of us experience loss in our lives, there is no way around that reality, but how we deal with it, it is up to us.  Understanding that with each loss and set back our lives take a different turn and with that comes the opportunity to be and see things differently is a way to respect life and its journey.

Remembering that at the end it is not about the accumulate power and riches but about the experiences, the love, and the compassion, is psychological resilience.

Honoring the fire within gives us the clarity to keep going no matter what comes our way.

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