Grief and Loss Are So Complicated
Grief and loss are so complicated and intertwined within me. After my husband death in 2009, I wrote a poem called “Grief’s Cloak.” An excerpt from that poem came back to “haunt” me recently.
“But wait! Was I also trying to outrun grief?
No hide and seek here, it was up ahead ~ my mourning was not complete.
Grief’s cloak is a harsh reminder that loss is real ~ it cannot be pushed away!
And, if not accepted, even honored, it will clip my wings and leave me unable to fly.
With this in mind, I have learned to say
Welcome back Grief ~ I acknowledge your presence!”
Grief reared up again after my recent hysterectomy and I knew that I had to acknowledge its presence. Why, you might ask would this operation cause me to go into a place of mourning and loss? Even though I had gone through menopause, and my ovaries and cervix no longer served a “purpose”, my womb represented my feminine core and it was alive with meaningful cellular memories.
I felt numb and shut down; angry and off-balance. Some of this is the natural aftermath of major surgery and anesthesia. But, the unexpected emotional ache I was experiencing felt dark and sad. My womb was the place where Marty and I co-created three children (one of whom we lost in an early term miscarriage). It was a sacred place where we gave the ultimate gift to each other – the combining of our cells to bring new life into the world – our sons. I felt like I had just lost another piece of my husband and wondered how much more of his memory could I stand to lose?
As I struggled with all of these “complicated” feelings of loss after the hysterectomy, I began to journal again. It was during one of these writing moments that I started to shift my belief system. I realized that, although I had lost my physical womb, my spiritual womb was still intact and within me. What and where you might ask am I talking about? My shift took me on a journey to my heart, my spiritual “womb”. It is from my heart that I love, remember and nurture; and it is where my feminine spirit is alive, strong and vibrant.
With this thought in mind, I blessed and released my physical womb with gratitude for what it brought into my life. It is my intent is to honor and open my heart to life’s memories and possibilities every day that I can. Yes, loss is complicated and grief can take on an unexpected shape in the blink of an eye, but when I am open and willing to “listen” to my inner voice, spiritual shifts can also happen which lead me to a place of hope and gratitude.
This and other articles by Laurel can be found on the Open to Hope website.
Below is a response which someone wrote to the article.
Thank you for those words. This year on November 6, 2012 it will be five years since my husband Wayne transitioned. Most days are pretty good days for me. Today in talking to a co -worker about a recent experience with 2 of my 3 kids in the park, I realized at that moment, that my issue at the time (I won’t bore you with the details) was that every time we go to the park or the store or most places that Wayne and I used to frequent with the kids is a reminder that he is not here. And then I had a moment. It was as if I was transported back to my initial grief. In any case thank you for the words it was such a source of comfort that I needed.