healing the pain of grief
My name is Turquoise; I am 62 yrs old, a retired horse trainer from the State of Washington. My precious, most beloved husband, Michael, made his journey home, June 20, 2005, 10:40 PM, after a devastating, decimating, bravely fought, 3 yr journey of stage IV stomach cancer. We shared our married life for 37 yrs. We were closely entwined sweethearts from the instant we met to our final shared breath. Had no children and neither of us had any family. We were each other's family. We had bumps, curves and potholes in our life but the clear spirit of the pure synchronicity we shared, blessed us with the crystal clarity to love deeply, freely and beyond eternity. Yes, I lost my spiritual soul mate, my kindred spirit......the love of my life.....whose face was my moon, his smile my sun, his eyes my stars, but Michael will always be a part of me and my life. I will never, ever forget my Michael or our devotion to each other and our shared love. But, I choose to be happy again. My life will never be the same as the one I shared with Michael. However, I choose to create a new life that will make Michael proud of me. By creating a new life, the essence of Michael's beautiful spirit will live on THROUGH me.
Hours after Michael's Crossing Over, I nearly went insane with the overwhelming, devastating, macerating pain that became an unwanted companion. For a short, horrifying time, my strong, well-tended Beliefs flew away and hid in distant, giant trees. I was thrashing in an ocean of confused agony. It felt like my entire being was slashed and ripped by dull chain saws and shredded by shards of broken glass. The agony felt like the force of a million cannon balls slamming explosively into my mid-section. I was battered from every possible angle with explosions of dark, suffocating desolation. I screamed out to anyone and everyoneŅŅ"What do I do? How do I make it through the next secondÂÂ..the next 10 secondsÂÂÂthe next 60 seconds???" For answers, I received blank stares and averted faces which only sped up the perceived draining of my soul.
A few days later, I was at our local office supply store making copies of Michael's death certificate. Shaking with an empty weariness only the bereaved can understand, I saw a poster lying on a nearby copy machine. It was a quote from St. Francis of Assisi which read "Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible." Just those few little words of guidance opened my heart and began allowing the strength of my Beliefs to return and nurture me through the greatest of all lessons of learning and enrichment of my lifetime. That quote became my Mantra. It was a tool, an aid, a beginning.
I am deeply & humbly grateful my darling is free of the pain and damage of cancer and chemo. Now, he is whole, beautiful, healed, free and joyful. I know he is laughing and running and shining with the brilliancy of the beauty of his true spirit. And yet, when you see me weep, worry not, as it is merely the expression of the human part of me watering the beautiful memories in the "Garden of Our Togetherness" and, also, a clearing out any remaining particles from the agony of loss. By doing so, it makes room for many more loving memories to fill in the empty spaces. I held onto the pain of grief ever so lightly, so it's lifting was gentle and swift.
Immediately after Michael made his journey Home, I made a conscious choice to heal the pain of loss. I searched hard for positive, forward-moving guidance. I tried 11 different support groups, to no avail. I did not want to remove the pain of grief, nor did I want to get stuck in a puddle of grief. I was seeking guidance of how to FACE GRIEF AND MOVE THROUGH IT to learn the lessons grief needed to teach me. I only desired support for healing and NOT the enabling of perennial suffering. I did not want to become a bitter, hand-wringing, whimpering caricature of my former self, living life dragging grief around like a ball and chain. I knew, even at the earliest stage of loss, I did, indeed, have a choice of whether or not to allow anger and destructive behaviors to be a part of my grief. Instead, I chose healing.
With the tenacity of a badger, I forged on, telling myself daily, hourly and even moment to moment, that I knew, without a shadow of doubt, I would make it through the fires of this great adversity intact and become even stronger. I wrote out those very words and other words of affirmation and read them to myself at least four times/day. I read a total of 75 books. I scoured the internet. I called......I sought help.....I faxed whomever I could, to seek guidance and healing. I found the Grief Recovery Institute, located a qualified GRI trained counselor and embarked on gifting myself with the tools of healing. But, in reality, I literally trained myself to heal the pain of grief.
I totally believe and accept grief is not a life sentence of pain. It is, though, the vehicle of necessity to move me through the transition from being Michael's wife to being Turquoise, newly single, healing, beautiful and loved by Michael. Although grief arrived uninvited, free will is mine to choose how long its tentacles are able to clutch at my being.
My healing can only be activated in the moment of the present. I cannot exist in the past. Mourning ended when I realized strengths could be brought from the past to help create my new life in the present. The mourning of Michael ceased the instant I accepted living once again. For then, my focus shifted from loss, pain & devastation to concentrating on the new life being created. The loss, pain and devastation then became added strengths by being reabsorbed into my healing.
Oh, yes!! I do miss my Michael and I do feel moments of great sadness. Michael will always be a part of me. For, he is the warm glow of love that will forever reside in the entwining of our spirits. Our beautiful relationship is now of the ethereal form, woven into the golden tapestry of the fibers of my heart, soul and essential being. A sweet melancholy has replaced that sharp, gnawing, all encompassing pain that had taken up residence deep in the core of my soul.
I strive to remember that what is a burden on one day will be a gift on another. So, with the grace of my strong Faith, I hold on tight when the ride of healing gets a little bumpy, knowing that the new life I am creating will become all I need it to be.
I choose to remember Michael with love and not sorrowful grief. I choose to honor the 'presence' of Michael's Love instead of grieving his absence. I choose to celebrate, with humble, loving gratitude, the gift of our time spent together rather than mourn the loss of it. By accepting Michael's richly deserved freedom, I have become whole! Grief has taught me that my life, now, has a different meaning, new depths and new horizons. To me, grief is the greatest lesson of all in how to CELEBRATE life. My interpretation of grief defined my reaction to grief. I chose to make it my friend and teacher. Recovering from grief was only as difficult and as painful as I chose to make it. For strength, courage and support, I keep these words of Maya Angelou close in my heart: "I can be changed by what has happened to me but I refuse to be reduced by it!"
My Beloved Michael:
Aug 11, 1944 Â June 20, 2005
U.S. Army Â Vietnam Veteran
Served with the 41st SIGNAL BATTALION
To my precious, beloved Michael,
Today, June 20, 2006, is the one year anniversary of your crossing over to the Spirit World. You have given me the greatest love I have ever known. Death does not tear us apart....for we are much closer now than even when we shared this earthly plane together.
The presence of your love fills my moments of missing you with the serenity of gentle acceptance. The Light from within you taught my soul the graceful lessons of Eternal Love. Thank you, my darling, for the priceless gift of this miracle.
Michael, I have absolutely no regrets and no guilt. I would not change even one tiny nanosecond of the 12,876 days we were blessed to share, as it would cause a chain reaction of missed beauty.
I believe, with every fiber of my being, you are always closer than my next breath. Time and space can never separate us. With the deepest abiding love, I accept our new relationship. I vow to live my life in a Good Way to honor our precious love and your beloved memory. This is not "goodbye" Michael, but simply "hello" to our new lives. As a truth to hold close, our love will last even beyond the Realm of all Eternity.
Dearest, Darling Michael, go with Grandfather. I release you into the eternal beauty and joys of the Spirit World. Be happy, baby, and keep my love with you!
MICHAEL, I LOVE YOU
I BLESS YOU
I RELEASE YOU.
I SET YOU FREE TO BE
I SET ME FREE TO BE!
(1st Year Anniversary) On June 20, 2006, I had a reservation at our favorite restaurant. I ordered our favorite selection and celebrated two very important things...........a one-in-a-million love shared between Michael and me.........and, moving on with my life. It was a delicious, momentous, healing event that I enjoyed to the highest degree!!! And, yes, I did shed a few sweet tears. In lighting the beautiful candle gifted to me by the restaurant owner and staff, I saluted Michael, the love of my life; for his never-ending love & devotion gives me the strength to stand alone as I face the world out on my own.
(2nd Year) On June 20, 2007, I celebrated the second anniversary of beloved Michael's Journey Home. The celebration was a grand affair. At our favorite restaurant, the Chef prepared a delicious meal for me. He chose an entirely new selection as a special tribute and symbol of moving forward and moving on. There were a few moments tinged with sadness but they were quickly transformed into happiness by the intense brilliance of the remembered love, gratitude, joy and thankfulness that we were so deeply blessed to have shared during our wonderful and loving life together. Our beautiful memories are forever held in the silvery entwining of the priceless treasure of our blessed loving devotion.
Michael is healed.
I am healed.
I love Michael.
I love my new life.
It is good.
All is well.
And so it is.
Within 193 days after Michael's Crossing Over, and over a period of 4 months, I attended a total of seven funerals of our closest friends.
Ten months after Michael left, I was brutally attacked in my garage late one night and left for dead. The injuries were severe and very extensive. However, I could not sense any healing in the hospital so I stayed only long enough for the medicos to inflate my left lung. I checked out of the hospital and healed myself at home. The real healing began when I chose to completely forgive the perpetrator and made total peace with the event of the challenge.
Sadly, the remaining people in my life couldn't identify with me anymore. They needed me to be the same Turquoise who shared life with Michael. With great care, I tried to explain why & how I was different, now, but it rattled the thoughts about their own mortality and was far beyond what they could grasp. They needed me to remain unchanged for that was the only way they could continue to feel safe in their own lives. I lovingly and gently released these beautiful beings back to where they needed to be to feel safe.
I loved them enough to let them go. (It did hurt and I do miss them.) Graciously and humbly, I am beginning to create a new circle of friends who support me with like minds.
I will never get "over" losing my beloved Michael but I have moved forward "through" the pain of Grief to the welcome shores of healing where I now experience joy, peace, love and a renewed zest for living.
My new life is entirely different from the one I shared with my Michael; but it is a good life and I love it!
On my journey through Grief to healing the pain, I willingly, graciously and humbly died thousands of little deaths that I might live on anew.
Now, every time I think of Michael, I hug him in my heart! (I hug him a LOT!!)
Sometimes the only form of transportation is a Leap of Faith. Even when I feel moments of terror in not being able to see the path, using my great Faith in the Universe as the only form of Sight, I will continue taking the steps ever onward and forward in the creation of my new life.
I have been through many great challenges and for that I feel humbly, deeply blessed. Challenges are only lessons and not attacks.
Thoughts become thingsÂÂÂÂÂÂso, I choose the good ones. My life is formed by thoughts I project into the future. As I think, so I create. My thoughts go forth and create my future. I can create a new life only from the present and not from the past.
"And the day came when the risk to remain tight inside a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." Anais nin