Monday, December 18, 2006

Bereavement

I find myself in a sort of trough out of which I am unable to climb - a place where the spirit seems to have drained out of me, leaving me unable to resume the activities that made up my life before my husband's death. Somehow the blogging kept me going during these past difficult months, but now I am finding it really hard to connect again and write.

I didn't think about bereavement in advance, although I am usually one to think - and worry! - ahead. There was time enough to do so, but caring for Michael was sufficient unto the day, and I was aware only that I would be thankful for him when he was finally at rest, and for myself and the family when the burden of care was lifted from our shoulders. I did not expect to be deeply affected by his going, as we had lived apart for more than twenty years, and I did not think to miss him as I do.

So I have been surprised by this sense of emptyness and aimlessness, and the sudden feeling of being alone when, I now realise, I was not alone before. Of course, after knowing each other for 60 years, the fabric of our lives is inevitably made up of threads that we have woven together, as well as individually, and that will never change. Thankfully, we remained good friends throughout the years, and so, in its own rather unusual way, our marriage remained intact, as I had always hoped it might.


But there has been more than just the final parting, the knowledge that we shall weave no more of the fabric together. While living again in Michael’s world for a time, I have learned things that I had not been aware of before, because he was never able to talk of them to me, and these have had a profound if complex impact.


I learned from the congregation of his church how readily he gave his love, his time and effort, and his possessions for the benefit of others, and how they all loved him.

I learned from children and adults alike how much his hugs had meant to them – hugs which he had never seemed able to give to me in the same spontaneous way.

I learned from his good friend and neighbour how much he missed me after we had separated, although he had made no word of protest at my going. And his pain became my pain, and I felt remorse.

I learned from the young woman who cleaned and cared for him (and who was like a granddaughter to us both), how often, right up to the end, he asked her to “Look after my Judith for me”.

All this has revived old pains from the past. But it has meant too that, through others, I have at last been able to understand the full extent of Michael’s love for me, and in doing so I feel my love for him renewing itself.

But it leaves me with a new pain, as I wonder how two people who loved each other could nevertheless have missed each other somehow, on the road through marriage, and ended up at different destinations.

8 comments:

avcr8teur said...

Dear Judith,

Again, I sorry for your loss. I can't imagine how difficult it must be for you to lose someone you loved for so long. Time heals all wounds as they say. I think talking to others who suffered similar losses might help. I hope your blog friends will help you heal in some small way.

Take care,
AV

Avus said...

It is healthy and needful to grieve, Judith. Michael loved you and you him, of that there can be no doubt. Nothing can change the past. Remember with love the good times.

Pauline said...

The shortest path out of grief is the one through it. Unfortunatley, while we're walking it, it seems the hardest path. I think, in a way, you and Michael ended up at the same destination. It's just that the ways in which you loved were different. Missing him can be a comfort, letting you know that you are capable of loving and of inspiring love. Read Rumi. His poems offer such hope that perhaps your spirit will be lifted. I hope so - you have such a wonderful way of looking at life.

Pam said...

Judith, I don't know what to say here; I read this blog with tears in my eyes. Maybe - hopefully - expressing here has helped a bit.

My guess is that yours is a normal reaction, hard though it is. My impression from reading your blogs here over the last year or so has been that you still cared for Michael, maybe more than you realised, and he knew that.

Maybe living apart has gone some way to strengthening a relationship that might otherwise have collapsed or something. And you will emerge from that trough.

Hugs x x x

I loved the Free Hugs video! I was a recipient of a free hug in Piccadilly Circus in London in November last year, while walking with thousands of people to draw attention to the Climate Change situation. A young woman was offering free hugs there - so I went to get one! What a great idea it is!

There's a virtual hug in this message ;o)

Avus said...

Dear Judith
I have added you to my links.
I hope you have family and friends around you at Christmas.
As Churchill was fond of saying "never, never ever give up". He also said "KBO" - which, being interpreted, is "keep buggering on"!

herhimnbryn said...

J. Through the grief is a hard path, but a necessary one. Take care.

M said...

I am just a random reader of your blog, so my words may not be that important. However, I still need to share with you how amazing it is that you were able to stay connected with your husband even though you were separated. Really, it does sound like he loved you. He let you go, and that is the greatest of love of all.
It also sounds like you loved him because when you left, you never totally let him go. And now, you bring his ashes home for a final goodbye. That is true love. That is true marriage. All the hogwash about living under the same roof for 60 years and always feeling exactly the same about your spouse is unrealistic.
You had a real life marriage and real life love. What a blessing.

Judith said...

M, I am responding to you and all those who have commented in my main blog, as I want to be sure I reach you all.