They say that there are five stages of grief; Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. I haven’t gone through “stages” of this process. Quite the opposite. I would describe this, not as a process or stages, but more like waves at the ocean. On many (most) days, I have reconciled to what happened, and accept what today is. I am now working on moving forward. Not moving on, for what we were, together, can never be removed. Still, comes the days of anger, depression, denial that things had to happen the way they did. Even bargaining and pleading that “I want my honey”.
The waves crash over me; I can even splash playfully in the waves at times. I suppose that these are symptoms of depression. I do have wonderful friends and family that surround me. I have my “peeps” from the church that I fellowship with. There are some in that group that I am very comfortable with in sharing my true feelings. There are others that I haven’t developed that connection with. I think that this is because I am a different person. I heard it said, “This is who I am now”. Now, I am not the same person I was before. Because of this, some of my friends that I had, I have difficulty in contact in many situations that I used to be a part of.
Now, I seem to be in a new/different “Stage”. Perhaps, it is more of a period in this new life than a stage.
I call it loneliness. This isn’t the same as being lonely without Terry. It is being lonely in the present. Terry and I were “one”. Now, I am “one”. I am blessed to have several groups of friends that I can be with and trust. My church small group, the group of men that I go to breakfast and lunch with are two examples. But, this loneliness is more of a need for connections to fill the void of two, to develop friends, and other relationships that will fill needs that I have for me to continue moving forward.
When I am in a group, I feel this loneliness. Usually, everybody is “paired up”. There are the couples. There are those that have long, established friendships, and there are those that have been together for some time. In most situations, I still feel something missing. It used to be that these relationships were based upon Terry and me. Now, I don’t know where I fit into this picture.
I am trying several different “venues” to find these; going to concerts, trying different activities, etc. I am even considering trying my hat at line dancing. In fact, recently I was at a Jazz concert and God placed a lady next to me. We discovered that we both had a connection in the loss of our loved ones. It was very refreshing to speak to her on a level that I haven’t been able to with someone for sometime. Now, nothing came of this, but it was just really nice to have that level of relationship at a time that I am wondering where and how to proceed and to move forward.
I just finished an Alaskan cruise and the fellowship of the Christian family was very gratifying. I was placed with a dinner group that was a joy to be with. In this group, I connected with other believers and we had a great time during our dinner hour. Yet, when dinner was over, I still ended up in my own loneliness.
During the other cruise hours, God placed others around me that continued to show me that there is a path forward. One evening, this lovely couple sat next to me. Somehow, we were able to discuss my lovely wife. They both encouraged me. The lady even declared that I didn’t look as old as time would tell!!! I met a couple in line today that I was able to openly share and felt acceptance and love. All of these are glimmers from God of the path in front of me.
While it is hard, I need to use this loneliness as a means to figure out what “holes” are in my life today, what can quench that thirst in my spirit, and develop ways or activities to reach out beyond my present circumstances.
Father God, please set my path straight. Set a path forward.
Psalm 16:11 reads, “You make known to me the path of life, in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore”. This is my prayer, Lord. Make known to me the path of life from this day forward.