grief. it’s become my constant companion this past year. it’s hard to believe but a year ago mr. style lost his battle with cancer. and i lost my spouse, my best friend, my confidante, the father to our children, and my lover. mr. style was all those things to me and so much more. they say you can never really prepare for the death of a loved one, whether the death is sudden or following a long illness. either way, in an instant, your world changes. and not for the better. one moment i’m married, cherished and loved. the next i’m single, alone and grieving. they say there are five—or is it seven—stages of grief that come knocking on your door.
and they also say the first year is the hardest because the markers of the “firsts” arrive. the first birthday, the first Christmas, the first anniversary without your loved one. this past weekend was the first anniversary of mr. style’s death, which officially closes the year of firsts. and while the pain of losing him isn’t as sharp as it was a year ago; i’m not as numb, i don’t cry as easily, and i know for sure he’s not walking through the front door one last time there are still emotions to deal with. grief isn’t linear. it doesn’t follow a timeline. and it’s personal. it comes in waves with lulls in between. losing a loved one is something that’s never truly gotten over. and that’s okay. time doesn’t heal all wounds, but it does lessen the pain. what i’ve realized this past year is that my relationship with mr. style was, is, and will always be significant. and that’s a very good thing because he forever lives on in my heart. love endures even death.
as i head into my second year of loss i’ve had time to reflect on the past 365 days and the grief that accompanied each and every day. one thing that i’ve learned is that it takes work to learn to live with and adjust to loss. it’s all too easy to let your emotions run your life. but at the same time, you have to work through those emotions. so i’ve learned to go easy on myself to allow myself to feel numb, sad, angry, lonely or whatever feeling comes my way.
i’ve also learned that i have to take care of myself and my physical health. because grief not only takes its toll on your emotions but your body as well. it takes work to take care of myself by eating well, exercising, and trying to get a good night’s sleep. and i’ve tried my best not to drown my sorrow by drinking excessively. this past year has been about moderation and keeping my life balanced with healthy choices.
and i’ve learned to lean on my family and friends. a good support group is a significant component for our mental health. it’s all too easy to turn inward after the death of a loved and wallow in our tears even though at times we need to do just that. it’s important to take time to reflect and process our emotions. but it’s just as important to surround yourself with people to talk to. we need to learn to reach out for help so we don’t slip into the downward spiral of depression or hopelessness. join a support group if you need to. ask your healthcare provider, hospice, or local hospital for recommendations.
while the first year for me was all about navigating life without mr. style i think the next year will be about learning how to redefine and recreate a purposeful meaningful life as a single. for close to thirty-six years i was part of a couple. i loved being married. i loved my husband. i loved all things great and small about being half of a dynamic duo. but now it’s down to me, myself, and i. and i feel gypped that i won’t be able to grow old with mr. style. because we were happy.
but that isn’t the life that was given to me. and now i have to figure out how to be happy without him. i have to learn new social skills as a single. i have to learn how to fit in, get out of the house, and pursue something meaningful all on my own. and that takes work. it’s scary trying to figure out a new direction. it’s hard to move forward without him. but move forward i must. maybe my future isn’t what i imagined only a short time ago. but that’s okay because i’m still trying to make sense of the senseless.
so this next year i’m going to work on new dreams and try new things. and i’ll continue to give myself space and grace if some things work and some things don’t. did i mention working through grief is work? and it’s ongoing. it doesn’t end at the year mark and most likely not the second or third because grief is my reaction to loss and it’s personal. and i’ve learned there’s no such thing as closure with the loss of a loved one. because one thing i know for certain as i move forward with my life is that i will always miss mr. style. it’s been said that grief is not only mourning your loss but getting to know yourself as a different person. and i quite agree. grief isn’t about moving on. it’s about moving forward one step at a time. it is well with my soul.