I’ve always heard of the stages of grief so I thought I’d take a look at these and see how I am doing this as I go through this horrible and vital transformation in my own life.
Denial. This word immediately brings up the very tired joke of “What is denial? A river in Egypt.”
Well, I think my denial is in grief as wide and long as the Nile. And I guess if I wax poetic, it’s filled with the currents like a river. I don’t think we go through these stages in order. I know that I went through all the stages sometimes in several minutes. All of them at the same time. And even some of them for a whole day.
But denial. That’s a hard one. How do I deny that my husband, the love of my life, isn’t here anymore? His absence is like a screaming thing that lives in my house. His chair remains still. There is no roaring sound from his computer. The bed next to me is empty and cold. And most of all, his smile and warm arms don’t encircle me any longer. This I cannot deny. There is no way to do so.
But maybe if I look deeper the denial comes from my decision to create a future. In a matter of a couple of days I had a plan. A penciled out plan that has been reconstructed and redone several times since I first etched it in my mind, but still a plan. Perhaps that is the denial that they speak of. That my life, as I knew it, isn’t over. I’m moving forward. Because he wants me to. Because I have to.
That denial is true. But denying this happened is impossible. The night runs through my thoughts, not as often or as vivid, but has to. It has to because my brain, in so much sorrow, has me thinking that he’s just at band practice. Or after seeing a movie, that I’ll go home and he’ll be they’re calling out when I walk through the door. Perhaps that’s the denial that they speak of.
The horror of knowing that he isn’t there is sometimes more than I can bear. I know he’s not. It’s quite definite. However, my mind let’s go for a minute or two, here and there and I have to relive the sadness and knowingness that my love is gone.
Denial. I wish it was just a river in Egypt. I wish I was sailing on it now with my husband looking at the pyramids and exclaiming at the history we’re surrounded with. That’s the denial. That I won’t get to walk down the streets of Rome eating gelato and trodding on ancient pathways with him. That I won’t get to kiss his face and make love to him again. That I won’t get to hear his voice tell me that he loves me.
I don’t know how the body, mind, and spirit truly processes such loss. I only know that I am doing it the best I can. One minute at a time. One hour at a time. One day at a time. I go to bed each night missing him. I wake each morning missing him. I walk through my day finding myself living, as I should, but in those seconds it creeps in, the loss. The terrible, terrible loss.
I know that I am strong. I have been beat down, gotten back up, beat down again, and still I am miraculously standing.
Denial. Is it survival? Denial. Is it a passage way to healing? Denial.