There’s a lot related to grief that we never discuss as a society. In fact, most people avoid talking about grief altogether. I don’t know if it’s because no one else deals with it or because people are too scared to talk about painful emotions. Regardless, it makes living with grief incredibly lonely for people like me.
Personally, I’ve noticed many situations that trigger my grief, even on days that start out positive. It’s difficult, it’s frustrating, but it’s my life now because I lost the love of my life.
Doing Things Without Her
When Emily died, I didn’t realize how hard it would be to do even the simplest things for the first time without her. Unfortunately, it seems like all of these little things are exactly what triggers my grief.
For example, I recently ate lunch at a local restaurant with a friend and ordered their tater tots as an appetizer. My partner, Emily, was the last person I ate those tots with before that day. I didn’t think about it until the waitress brought them to the table. Then, as I stared at them, it hit me like a truck.
This situation isn’t the first time I’ve experienced these overwhelming moments of grief as I simply live my life. Everything from walking into our favorite bookstore to attending a niece’s birthday party brings on tears.
Watching Television Shows and Movies
I have watched many television shows and movies since my partner died because the TV provides a distraction and fills the house with sound when I am home alone. Unfortunately, it’s not always a helpful coping mechanism because it can trigger grief.
Sometimes these shows remind me of the relationship Emily, and I shared. They remind me of sweet moments from when we started dating, like our first kiss and “I love yous.” It makes me smile and laugh, but it also makes me cry.
Other times I’m reminded of the end. I see situations that remind me of our final hours in the hospital while the doctors ran every possible test to determine what was wrong. Visions of watching the love of my life die right before my eyes play out on the screen and it breaks my heart.
Continuing Our Plans For The Future
At the funeral, I made a promise to Emily in front of everyone we know. I told her I would continue many things we planned for our future to keep her spirit alive. Of course, doing these things without her triggers its own form of grief.
It feels bittersweet as I check items off Emily’s bucket list. I can feel her presence as I visit a new state or attend a concert. Yet, at the same time, the fact that she’s not actually there beside me is incredibly painful.
I know that, ultimately, this is what Emily would want. However, it’s hard to explain to people how difficult it is to get out of bed in the morning, let alone continue the plans we made together.
We Need to Talk About Grief More
Since October, I’ve become acutely aware of just how little we talk about grief with others. However, I think it’s important to share these things.
I need to explain to my friends why I suddenly start crying over tater tots. I want to post pictures of myself standing at a state line with bittersweet captions and have others understand. Most of all, I want to use my own experience to help other widows like me feel seen, validated, and less alone.