02/18 my wife had a 2023_Heart_Attack, and passed away on 03/22/23; the hardest day of my life. Except for the ones after it.
|To RSVP for Melissa's Memorial, to help select date, or to leave an anecdote/message try this link: Celebration of Life|
Lessons[edit | edit source]
Our Society is bad at dealing with grief, because we see so much less of it than the normal human condition. It's easier to hide from or avoid. Making us soft, and uncomfortable. And those trying to "make it go away" or rushing to put it in the past, makes them say the wrong things.
- Pre-Grieving or Anticpatory Grief This is grieving lives that are lost, or how lives are going to be changed, before they are changed. My wife had a heart attack on Feb 18th and died on March 22nd 2023. Grieving began in February for me. Does that help or make it worse? Yes. I had prepared for life changes, a little -- but they were same/different/same/different ones. But a lot of my life was on pause while she was healing, waiting to see what were going to get. Just as I was ready to go forward holding her hand, she was taken from me. I was prepared until I wasn't. And I was already raw and worn as much as toughened up.
- I've generally looked at grief as selfishness - The people we are grieving have passed; they are at peace (finally). So crying about the dead and just us whining about that WE don't have them any more (WE miss them, WE want them). WE is all about ME. Why can't I have, hold, share with my wife? So I've used that to beat those feeling down with "stop being a selfish prick! Suck it up, and get over it". But the beast of losing a spouse is a lot bigger than my other losses (parents, friends, pets, or just a character you liked in the movies). This person isn't just the cat you stroked while watching TV.... but the person you spent more time and intimacy with than all the others in the world.
- My brother gave me his view. That grief isn't just selfishness, it's the body and souls need to express how much someone meant to you. That means that the better the person, the worse the grief? Well I'm fucked. Everyone that knows Melissa was touched by her and knew what a kind and special person she was. If my brother is right, it at least takes away the narcisstic guilt at being weepy -- but now I get the burden of expressing how bad it is at having lost such a wonderful person. And I don't know if that's any better.
- You will find love again One of the themes I've found in grief stuff, is lots of efforts trying to reassure folks that they will find love again. (It will get better). At least I don't have the fear and insecurity of doubting that. There are lots of lovable people. My first wife and I had discussed this a fair amount over the years, and we both wanted each other happy if we passed (as long as it wasn't at the hand of the other). She kept telling me how trading her in for a younger model would mean they wouldn't get any of my jokes and references. Duh! Of course I never wanted a younger model, just her. But I know that someday, I will likely find someone else. Today is not that day... or year. But life will go on. I will know the sweet tender caress of hearing, "I don't know, where do you want to eat?", "What's that smell?" or "Why did you park here?"
- Grievances has grieve inside it. Life is about balances -- and while I love my wife, I need to keep remembering the things that irked, annoyed me, or were less than perfect. No Pedastals allowed. When my Step-Dad and Grandpa died, my Mom was doing this overblown catterwauling, "they were perfect humans", because she thought that's what you should do, but maybe also to make her grief more important than everyone elses. It irked me, and I thought, "I'm not going to do that". In balance, I want my love back so badly it aches. But I need the humility of her imperfections to help myself cope with the loss and not dimish others losses as well. My pain is nothing special -- just the worst of my privileged life.
- HALT protocol Everyone has to process it their own way, but one "protocol" for avoiding regrets is HALT.
- Hungry or not - Keep eating, people in mourning lose weight fast
- Angry - Don’t be Angry with God or anyone else. Pause, take a breath and calm yourself before you regret something
- Lonely - Get out of the house as often as you can. Go be with people.
- Tired - Try and rest as much as you can but do not stay in bed all day
Journal[edit | edit source]
Week 1[edit source]
|2023-03-22 to 03-29 - Passed
Week 2[edit source]
|2023-03-30 to 04-05 - Passed is past
Week 3[edit source]
|2023-04-06 to 04-12 - New Normal
Week 4[edit source]
|2023-04-12 to 04-18 - New Normal
Week 5[edit source]
|2023-04-19 to 04-25 - Running to the memorial
Week 6[edit source]
|2023-04-27 to 05/01 - Memorial
Day 37[edit source]
Day 38[edit source]
Friends - Memorial / Celebration of Life. Gads that was easy and hard. But life is for the living, and even with the passing of the a beautiful person... life goes on.
Day 39[edit source]
After MASH - Memorial / Celebration of Life.
Conclusion[edit | edit source]
Journaling her and my journey was a way to use the world as my therapist. (Even if most of the world didn't read it). Writing things down, let's me get it out, organize it, understand it (and look at it from all sides). Not hide from the grief or pain, but really, really take it in, and go through it. I never worry that I'll forget it, because I can click in to each week or day, and re-live it on command. Once I've gotten it out, I can let it go. It's not just my burden to carry any more, others can share the load. I figure once the memorial is over, I'll be past this phase. (If not before... but I'll go to that stopping point to give others the sense of closure they need).
I also find that grief was a little similar to when I got an anxiety disorder that screwed up my brain chemistry, and made me depresed and suicidal. I had to crawl out of that pit of despair, and re-program myself just to leave the house... so having this loneliness/loss/despair just made me think of the lyrics to the Sound of Silence... "Hello darkness my old friend"... but I'd gotten through it before, so I started with the advantage of it being almost like a second time (at least biochemically, even if the reason for the despair was completely different). So the psychological pain that was being inflicted on me? I've had worse. And I carried that disorder for 30+ years.
In the end, my wife's passing has given me more reasons to live; to live for her memory, and to try to reflect some of her best characteristics on the world. I don't believe the bullshit that you need this to grow or it's some karmic balance thing happening. But if life gives you shit, you might as well stick some seeds in it, and see what grows.
Resources[edit | edit source]
Videos[edit | edit source]
Books[edit | edit source]
Forums/Sites[edit | edit source]
TV/Movies[edit | edit source]
|I'm no authority, and I don't know how pleasant it is to read the snuff film of our partnership. But getting my thoughts out might help me or someone else, so while I tried to document my wife's story in her heart attack, this is my story of what happened next; the icecream headache of my heart... and the journey back from blissful co-dependence, into trying to re-grow the missing half of my soul back. Everyone's journey is unique, and they they say that there's no wrong way to grieve... but I'm pretty sure sniffing cocaine off a hookers boobs isn't the tribute my wife was hoping for. Fortunately, that's not my journey either.|