After my husband died, I felt like my loss was the only loss in the world. The pain of losing the love of my life was enormous, all encompassing. And, because it was sudden and unexpected, this only added to my mountain of grief. I also was the only one in my immediate family or peer group who had lost a loved out of the order of things. My loss stood out.
Glenn was in the prime of life, he wasn’t sick and lived each day with a zest for life like no other. Then on a typical Saturday morning in 2013 he suffered a fatal brain bleed out of the blue while I was out doing errands.
The first few months after this I was numb. Then I cried a river for a good six months. Moving into year two of my loss reality hit home that Glenn was never going to walk in the front door again. Just deafening silence. I was alone with my thoughts and feelings. Because I was the only one in my close circle of friends that had experienced such a loss I was pretty much on my own. This only deepened my feeling that Glenn and I were singled out. My loss was the worst loss!
Then about 4 years in, a friend lost her son and husband within 6 months of each other. This is someone who was always there for me. The day Glenn died she knocked on my front door with food in hand and introduced herself. She was my then neighbor and we soon started walking our dogs together. She would always listen to my heartache as I’d talk of Glenn. My loss was unimaginable to her. She had been married to the same man for close to 50 years. She and her husband would often include me in their family get togethers. Their family was whole and mine was not. They took me in.
So, when she too experienced an unimaginable loss my perspective changed. No longer was I the only one. No longer did I feel so singled out. No longer did I feel like the odd ball. And, no longer did Glenn’s death feel as daunting.
Shortly after this another friend lost her dear father and another her loving and devoted mother and then another her husband.
I was no longer “the only one,” and in some weird way it was comforting to know this and at the same time it made me feel as if I needed to let go, which was not comforting. Because Glenn’s passing was so traumatic, he was placed on a pedestal by many and as time went on and others sadly had losses of their own, Glenn was replaced on that pedestal.
I no longer feel that Glenn was the only one who met an untimely death and I am not singled out. This doesn’t take away the fact that he died when we were making plans for our future that never will be. This doesn’t take away one ounce of the love that we shared. I suppose this means that I’ve moved to another phase of this grief journey, its less personal yet, the love is as strong as ever.
Many say grief is a journey, not a destination and that it changes over time. I’ve found this to be true. One thing however that has been constant is love. The love that my late husband and I shared will never change, its’ as if it planted itself in my heart where this love will stay forever.
So, if you are experiencing an unimaginable loss, just know that no matter what, love never dies.