Lindsey Wilbur; Rescuing Myself From Traumatic Grief
This article first appeared on the Hope for Widows Foundation website. Hopeforwidows.org
Year two, I’m swimming along and then it hit. A tsunami of grief and I began to drown. Fear was hovering around me like a vulture waiting for its prey to die. Thoughts began filtering in and out of my mind, ones I never imagined I would have. I wanted the pain to stop, I wanted to rid my body of the misery grief bestowed upon me. “How is this my life? When would it be over? I’m failing at everything, rapidly.”
This was a nightmare I couldn’t wake up from.
No one wants to hear this side of grief. They want the happy ending, where loss doesn’t cause grief. Especially not prolonged grief.
But it’s a lie.
Grief especially after a traumatic loss is disgusting. The anxiety, the depression, continually trying to persuade yourself you deserve to smile again and then attempting to exist in a society of happy pretenders, well it is too easy to get swept away.
I was lost.
I searched for tips, I begged for answers. I read books on grief and only ever made it to page one. I spent too many days comparing myself to those who were years ahead of me. Who have already fought their battle. I felt trapped in a life that I didn’t ask for.
I isolated myself, and other than my therapist I stopped sharing what was in my heart with those around me because when you have a string of good days and then a few bad, “What’s wrong with you?!?! You were doing so well.” Makes you feel like there is something wrong with you. I had to remind myself that there is absolutely nothing wrong with me. This is my life and my story. That not being okay (for more than just a day or a week or a month) was okay and anyone who didn’t understand that no longer needed to be a part of my life.
I lost a lot of people.
But guess what?
The water began to recede. I began to restore my soul and my heart. I made art and read books that weren’t about death and sorrow. I began forming relationships with people who accepted every part of me. I danced with grief and allowed joy to reenter without guilt lurking in the shadows. I found my own way through and once I allowed myself this grace, the unending pain slowly melted away.
But it’s not over. I have accepted that this is my life. That grief and I will evolve together and that’s enough for me. I no longer pine over a life that could have been but dream of a life built for me and my children.
Thankful for the life I’ve lived and the promise of what’s to come.
My new life is built on the foundation of hope, empathy and endless possibilities.
A life that is as vast as an ocean. Storms and all.
Who am I? I am a mother, a friend, a daughter and most recently, a widow. On August 12, 2016 my husband died and I went with him. I have been spending my days since trying to rediscover who I am. Slowly and painfully, the real Lindsey began to emerge from the rubble. I was unsure of my purpose but diligently pushed through and fought for something that offered a glimmer of hope. Through many long days of uncertainty and pain I finally realized that I am bigger than my tragedy, that grief has many faces, it’s not just tears.There is more, so much more and I intend on embracing every bit. I am here. I am hope. I am love. She also writes and shares her heart on her personal blog called Grief Deposit. You can also find her on Instagram sharing her journey at @beatrixsgarden
All Posts by Lindsey Wilbur