It’s been just over 10 months since I lost my husband. It still doesn’t even feel real, yet it somehow simultaneously feels like yesterday and forever all at once. All I know is that there is this deep ache and foggy existence, this hollow feeling in my body that has become my bleary eyed reality. The hopelessness, the emptiness, the questions, the confusion, the loneliness in a room full of people and how it feels all-consuming in the worst way possible. So many days I don’t even want to get out of bed, so how I can possibly even consider a path forward. It wasn’t until I realized I needed to carve a new type of path, one that’s less traveled than it should be. A path that will transmute my heart wrenched souls exhausting and never ending sadness. A path with my husband’s spirt, rather than a path without him. So you may be asking yourself, how can one young widow and her crossed over husband possibly travel a new path together? By hearing and empowering grievers, by communicating with our loved ones in spirit, and by educating society on what death and grief really are.
One thing I’ve learned over the last 10 months is that people are very uncomfortable with death and grief and anything that revolves around such somehow taboo topics. People ask how you’re doing, but really, they don’t want to know the truth. They want to hear what they’re comfortable with, not what the reality is. What they’re really doing is making sure you’re ‘okay’ enough that you don’t get you’re grief all over them. Like its some undesirable stench they don’t want to have to be around. So as a result of this, do you know what happens? We widows (and all grievers alike) placate the uncomfortable by reciting to them the now hallmark “I’m fine” so we don’t have to watch them wrinkle their noses in discomfort because they can smell the stench of grief looming around us. We become such convincing actresses that we almost convince ourselves some days. Almost. And you know what I think of that? Enough. Drop the act. It’s time we change the conversation about death and it’s time to honour the sacred experience that accompanies it – grief. Grief is a chasm that can only exist in conjunction with love. Without love there would be no grief. So in fact, the deeper the grief the deeper the honour because it means you were (and are – because let’s get real, death is just another room) in the presence of deep love. We are so societally challenged and massively uncomfortable in this area and that needs to come to an end. It’s time that we, as an empowered army of widows, rise up from our own ashes and start being honest about how our hearts are aching and our lives feel empty, about how pointless and confusing it can seem and how twisted our guts feel, about how we feel like screaming rather than whispering, and about how tired our souls are.
It’s time for this long overdue change, and I for one am dedicating myself to the fearless pursuit of normalizing grief by listening, by eliminating the fear of death, by connecting you in conversation with your loved ones on the other side and by being a walking display of surviving a loss so deep that it permanently alters the core of your being. Death and grief aren’t something to be afraid of, and I guarantee I can convince you of that. After all, none of us are getting out of here alive, so lets not spend our lives in fear of the inevitable and instead lets cultivate and embrace a healthy and understanding relationship with death for the rest of our lives.