|Celebrating Robert’s 71st birthday|
“The task of saying good-bye seems insurmountable,” a friend wrote after losing her husband one month ago to the same cancer — multiple myeloma — that ripped my Robert’s life from him. I wrote this to her yesterday:
On August 2, it will be 3 years since I lost Robert. But I haven’t said goodbye to him yet, nor do I plan to. I talk to him still — and sometimes he answers.
I find joy in my life (especially now that my new book has come out and I’m giving talks and interviews), and I’m still startled by the realization that I can’t come home and tell him about what happened. Then I DO come home and tell him about what happened.
Is it magical thinking? Denial? It sustains me, whatever it is. You’ll figure out how to sustain yourself through this loss eventually, but that can’t be rushed. Meanwhile, just be real with your children, and take time for yourself, even if it’s painful. You can’t skip that part.
I really, really recommend counseling — as much as you can get!
If you want to talk, or go for a walk and let any thoughts emerge that need to, I’m available. Even if you want to say, “I’m not ready yet, but I’ll let you know when I am” (which is what I had to tell people who offered early in my grief journey), I’ll welcome your message.
I know that some of my readers have also lost their beloved partners, and I extend my invitation to listen if you want to talk. I wasn’t strong enough to do this at first, but one little step at a time, I got there. So many people helped me when I needed it most that it would give me joy to pass it forward and help others. Email me if you need to share.
I wrote the grief chapter in Naked at Our Age through tears. It was very important to include my own and reader stories of grief, because part of love and sex at our age is, sadly, that one of us will lose the other.
Last week, a woman at one of my talks bought my book, saying that she had just lost her husband. I held her hand and listened, and suggested that she read the grief chapter first. “I already did, while I was waiting. That’s what made me decide to buy it.”
I welcome your comments.