Navigating the First Year by Roselle Weinberger

caleb-frith-129986.jpg

It’s been nine months since my husband passed.  I’ve experienced his birthday, my birthday, Thanksgiving, our anniversary, and Christmas is almost here.  Each event has brought on different emotions.  How I dealt with each event was different.  Everything in my life is different but in some ways the same.  I have the same love for him and I still feel my connection to him.

 

The challenge came in when well meaning family and friends interjected their thoughts on how they think I am doing.  I suppose it’s because they don’t know what to say or think they know what I want to hear. Regardless I can’t judge them for not knowing how to reach out in a manner not to cause me hurt. On our recent anniversary I received several messages regarding the day.  They were all issued hopefully out of love and concern but mostly because they felt sorry for me.  I don’t want or need pity.  What I would have rather received perhaps just a thinking of you, is there anything I can do for you today or do you need to talk?  These options would be much better than “I know this day must be tough for you” or “you don’t have him but have so many good memories.”  Even a shared happy memory would have been better choice/message. 

 

The team at ID has been working diligently to prepare me for all the firsts.  I was actually having a good day, having good thoughts until I was hit with the pity comments.  My mistake was in not responding truthfully letting then know how the comments made me feel and given them a better option so in the future they could avoid making them same comments to someone else.  This was a learning experience for me as well.  Reminding myself to be honest and speak the truth.  

 

Thank goodness for my caring adult children!  No pep talks, pity or unwanted comments, just a simple text asking how I was doing.  Brought the light back into my day.  I was able to let them know I was having a good day and what my plans were.  I was also able to share a sweet anniversary story which brought a smile to my face.  In sharing the memory with them, they were able to learn another special quality their dad had.  They weren’t aware of the romantic side of him.

 

Doing nothing to change my outlook, my way of dealing with the obstacles in my life would have been so easy.  Change for me before ID was never easy.  I was great at avoiding difficult situations and confrontations.  I’ve learned that you can only avoid so long before whatever you didn’t want to deal with comes back around again. During that time of avoidance I would experience at times physical pain, worry, raw emotion, all of which wouldn’t have occurred if I had dealt with the situation in the first place.  ID has given me tools to work through the difficult times.  It’s amazing how changing the way I process emotions, reactions to situations has made such a difference in my life.  I am a totally different person than I was five months ago.  I am no longer an emotional wreck.  Do I still grieve?  Yes, of course, but I don’t let it overwhelm me.  When I feel sad I think of a happy time and that makes me smile. I focus on the many wonderful years I had my loving husband instead of the few short months we dealt with his illness.  I was allowing the way his life ended to be front and center blocking all the fun loving times.  No more!

 

Taking the classes, using the tools, and then following through has been life changing.  Even though I have completed the classes, I continue to learn, evolve by surrounding myself with like minded people. Holding my truth and not allowing others to bring me down.    My hope is to enlighten others and make their lives better in the process.  Teaching by example and not preaching.