wings and things

An ‘aha’ moment

on October 10, 2017

Since Anthony died, I have, of course, experienced all of the stuff I’ve already described – the emotions, confusion and shock. But, over the last week or so, I’ve also been bothered terribly by my struggle to figure the grief out. For example, I couldn’t understand why, when I was feeling more at peace, all of a sudden it felt horrible again, really horrible.

Why did the bouts of sad, wretched sobbing keep coming back when I had already accepted that Anthony was dead?

I suddenly remembered the 23rd Psalm and that line “even thought I walk through the valley of the shadow of death” got to me. To be in a valley, and also under a shadow, is like being in some sort of dark, inescapable horror movie scenario where there is no escape. But the psalm does continue to say that “I am with you” and that is comforting.

And then it hit me: I haven’t just lost my beautiful husband, I have also lost my identity as his wife, i.e. my wifedom is gone. Yes, of course I am still a mother, daughter, sister, cousin, auntie, friend, but I am no longer a wife. And, over the last several years of Anthony’s illnesses, this wifedom had become an absolute priority – a purpose even.

It has come as a bit of a relief to have figured out why the grief over the death of a loved one is so ferocious, unpredictable and relentless. Not only have you lost that loved one to death, you have also lost your identity as his/her someone. So in a way, you lose some of your own self.

A sense of identity is one of the most vital human needs so when you lose a big chunk of it (as millions of us have, of course), the job of grieving becomes terribly complicated and difficult. Recovery seems impossible at times. Outside you there is this gap that the person you loved left, and inside you there is this gap that used to be the ‘you’ who loved him/her.

Understanding this helps me to accept that this is a brand new situation, a new experience, a new way of living. I can either look at it as an adventure and become curious, or I can deliberately refuse the notion of new. I choose the former and am even getting a bit excited about it.

I think Anthony would approve.


13 responses to “An ‘aha’ moment

  1. Anonymous says:

    Grief has so many facets, different to each of us but all real. I fully understand your questioning your identity. I went from a confident hostess who loved to cook for family and friends, to being so nervous having just two people for dinner!! Just go with it darling girl xxx

  2. ksbeth says:

    i have no doubt he would approve. he fell in love you with you and your identity before you were ‘wife’, for the person you were, and you are that person once again after you were ‘wife.’

  3. susanpoozan says:

    I am sure that Anthony would approve of his brave wife.

  4. Writer Lori says:

    I so admire your wisdom and strength, Julie, and I am confident you will sort out your new role and embrace it with the passion you gave to Anthony those many years….

  5. so glad you are choosing adventure

  6. Judy says:

    Viewing this whole, new territory you are entering as an adventure is spectacular. How we think about things really affects how we feel. I believe strongly in that.
    Of course, grief goes with you everywhere but moments like this one are inspiring. Hoping you have more and more of them! Sending much love.

  7. thesoulscare says:

    That’s absolutely great! I love it; “wifedom”! Just hours ago I was sharing with my daughter that since my husbands/ her father’s stroke I realize I have lost my husband. Of course I am still married but am lacking the normal interaction and sharing of the tough things, the decisions must be made alone as he has a very low threshold for stressful matters. I now realize what it means that the Lord is my husband. I have to run things by Him , ask Him to help me make wise decisions and so on. I pray for you as you adjust to life as a huabandless wife.

  8. You are such a teacher, chook. Reading this was an aha moment for me too! Thank you.

  9. I think he would too!…. Diane

  10. Yes he would approve because he loved you so deeply

  11. I think Ants would be pleased. I am happy you are finding your way and writing about it.

  12. I believe Anthony would approve and support you through everything.

  13. You are still his wife in his absence, but your role has changed to keeper of the memories.

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