After my husband died the next decade of my life was nothing like I would expect it to be.
Yes it was tragic, sad and difficult.
But there were other difficult things that took place alongside devastation.
Nobody has ever been able to describe the aftermath in words that capture the reality of it.
It has been close to 9 years since his passing and I am still finding out what happened to me.
To be honest with you, I stopped picking up the phone after he died and I have yet to pick it up. I also can’t open emails from people who I know might have some harsh words to say.
I can’t handle bad news of any kind.
I can’t watch movies based on true stories where we see someone suffer physical and emotional pain.
I don’t have the capacity to work on a relationship.
I don’t have the ability to participate in an argument and come out of it ok.
I would rather let a relationship go than fight for it.
You can say I am running away, you can say whatever you want, but now I know why. Something happened after he died that disabled my relationship skills in some ways.
I don’t have the energy, the ability or the drive to fix something that is broken.
Yes, we need to boldly go forward, but we also have to talk about the aftermath of loss.
I am no longer the social butterfly or beloved friend I used to be.
I would rather sit here and talk to you all, than go out there and make new relationships.
Today, I just want to say if you are feeling like you would rather not risk a new relationship or you would rather abandon someone than try to work at it.
I get it. I get you.
And it’s ok to be as you are and feel as you do.
You are not a bad friend.
You are not a bad person.
You are someone who went through something really traumatic and lost a big part of who you were.
I am sharing this with you today, so you can put all the pieces together, and see and understand your own aftermath.
It might look different for you.
It might not be the phone you are not picking up, but it might be that you stopped cooking, or baking, or gardening or whatever thing was special to you.
I am here to tell you that this is part of the journey after loss.
I don’t know if something positive can come out of this.
Sugar coating everything doesn’t appeal to me.
What appeals to me is understanding ourselves and respecting our new needs after loss.
What is the one thing that changed about your character after your divorce, after the death of your spouse or a traumatic life experience?