Two Worlds

I have been occupied with the memories about my wife since her passing. But weeks ago when I had a meeting about course scheduling at school, for about a hour I totally forgot her. That was the first time I fully noticed the power of distraction in grief. If distraction can get me out of this grief "misery", I can work harder to create distractions from job, socials, TV, travels, new relationships etc. I also notice that most of these distractions come from the external material world, not internal spiritual world. Will distractions help achieve the goal of grief--acceptance of the death? I don't know, but have some clues. When I came back to my office from my course scheduling meeting, I broke in tears with the thought I may be forgetting her. When I pushed back my tears and sadness, they accumulated in my heart and released one way or another. Then I realized that grief concerns issues of soul searching and spirituality growth. Tools from the external world help (specially when you need time away from grief) but do not solve the problem. For me to get to the other side of grief, I need the tools in another world--the spiritual world.   
Why spiritual growth is important in my grief? I think faith can help better answer some key questions: where is my wife? what is meaning of my life? why this happened? what is value of my life? etc. Can you heal without a spiritual world? Probably yes. Outcome of grief is conditioned culturally, socially, and traditionally. If everyone does it and it becomes a social norm, over time, your mind will accept it. Sister Sheng in China (a widower who is helping my mom in stroke) said she got through her grief by working very hard outside, and she never told me that she is spiritual but she looks very happy to me now. But for me, spiritual development can provide me with the long lasting peace, and I am going to work hard on that.

Replies

KimKos
KimKos

I agree with you 100% on spiritual development and long lasting peace. I have been working on that .....this inner calming is finally happening .My personal journey started long before I met my husband and will continue til my last breath. Here is to your new day...and to every new day after!!!
dschwartz
dschwartz

I think balance is key. We are spiritual beings in a physical world. We must acknowledge both (in my opinion). I\'ve tried living above and below and discovered that for me, a balance was necessary. For spiritual growth, we must acknowledge and go through our physical senses (including grief). We can\'t ignore our emotions or what has triggered our emotions . . . they do help us grow spiritually if we are seeking. Good for you that you are acknowledging both aspects. Hugs to you, D
letmehelpyou
letmehelpyou

Well, I was very good at the distraction for the first six to eight months. I threw myself in work, taking care of others, trying to move forward as quickly as possible. I collapsed because I had just built things up internally and they just exploded. Grief, rage, depression, anxiety.

When I started to try to handle the internal, I found that if I focused solely on that I was very ineffective and accomplished nothing also. It is the balance that is the key I believe. Taking time for your emotions and spirituality and still existing in the outside \"real\" world.
Peace to you my friend. I always learn something when I read your post.
Hugs,
Val
tiger1962
tiger1962

Dear friends, thanks for your feedback that confirms my feelings. I found that spiritual growth is a very slowly evolving process that is largely, and interestingly, corresponding with the grief process....maybe that is another reflection of God\'s will. Hugs to you all, Tiger
lori001
lori001

Hi Tiger. I\'ve been thinking a lot about this lately. I do not have a religious background, and keep wondering if I did, would I feel more at peace? Today marks the one year mark for me. I found a job 4 months after Larry died, and yes, that has kept me distracted and busy. I also have found a sense of fulfillment because as a nurse, I am helping others. It has been good, but also a distraction from the inner work I need to do.
I think trying to find inner peace is one of our biggest goals as widows/widowers. We are all on different paths, but all are seeking a sense of peace without our soul mates. Someone told me the other day that \"God takes people when their work here is done\". Must be nice to have such a strong belief system.
Thanks for your thoughtful journey entry. Wishing you peace.
Aloha ~ Lori
Decibel-Places
Decibel-Places

I think I have always had a practical attitude towards death and accepting it. When I was about 5, my mom fainted in a laundromat on a hot day. Bystanders loosened her clothes, and she came to. She asked me if I was scared. I said, \"No mommy, I wasn\'t scared. I thought you were dead.\" A lot of deaths in my childhood: my godparents died in a private plane crash on my 6th birthday; my uncle\'s girlfriend died in a crash while he was driving; there was JFK and RFK and MLK - I knew that death happened, and it was final.

So I guess I quickly accepted Arlene\'s death. Sure, for several weeks I dreamed of her and became disoriented when I woke up and she wasn\'t there. That happens less often now.

Spiritual healing is integral in emotional healing. I saw a new doctor this week, since I changed insurance and didn\'t like my old doctor, I made it an opportunity to pick a better one. I told him about the last year, about the last few years when I neglected myself, didn\'t get physicals, because I was caring for my mom and my wife. He said he understood. I asked him for a referral to a new psychiatrist (for my Biploar II which is stable, but I take medication for it). He told me he knows a good doctor. Then he encouraged me to consider seeing a psychologist for therapy. He said, \"Medicine can not cure everything; you need to be well in your mind and soul too.\"

I thought about grief counseling when Arlene died. I already have a peer support group for mood disorders which gave me a lot of support. And I have DS - I did not feel a need for specific counseling.

Maybe the doctor saw something I am not aware of, maybe I\'m not doing as \"ok\" as I think I am. Or maybe he was just doing his job, compassionately. I had some therapy a few years ago as I made my conscious recovery, it helped me sort out some things about my relationships with my mom and my wife. Arlene was a psychotherapist, so I am a believer, as long as the therapist is good.

Immediately following the death I was able to re-connect with the congregation at my synagogue. while Arlene was sick, she didn\'t want to be left alone while I went to services. It\'s a group that takes worship seriously, and for Jews that includes study of the Torah and the interpretations by learned rabbis throughout history. For various reasons I have been less involved for a few months, but I would like to return, I felt good when I was there.
Decibel-Places
Decibel-Places

About distraction: I took a week off from work after Arlene died. When I resumed, there was a backlog, and a few weeks later, a project that required 120 hours of work in one week. Web Development takes a great deal of concentration. I guess you can say my work can distract me from my emotions. There were some days when my emotions were stronger, and I could not focus on my work. If I had to explain why I wasn\'t working that day, I told my manager it was from grief - who would argue with that?

I went to a great concert this week, the Tedeschi Trucks Band. it was a very spiritual show, and rather than distract me from thoughts about Arlene, often during the show I wished she could share it with me. She liked Bonnie Raitt, she would have loved Susan Tedeschi. In a way, I shared it with her memory, at least.