Jilly D.

The difference between grief and mourning

In Grief on November 1, 2010 at 2:14 am

Grief happens to you. Mourning is what you do about your grief. How do you handle the death, its consequences, changes in friends and family, its impact on your daily life, values, beliefs, attitudes and quality of life. It’s about how you live.

How do I go on and live without Sam? I don’t know the answers. Just do it. Somehow the days pass. For more than a year each day has been little more than a to do list of painful and sorrowful tasks.

I started making a list every day on one sheet of lined paper. I filed the papers as a record of what it was I did that year.

Somehow I got lots of work that came to me as a free lance book development editor. Really good book projects and interesting stories that lifted me up while I was working hard to stay alive.

I spent more than a year just trying to stay alive. Surviving alone in a cabin off-the-grid was where I needed to be to accept my deep grief. I needed to be with him as long as I could be; somehow I believed he’d come back to me. He’d come back to the pond.

He’s not coming back. That’s the turning point between grief and mourning.

Now I have to figure out how to live, love and laugh again. Trying to find that woman inside of me again that Sam fell in love with so many years ago.

I continue to mourn with tears. Walks with the dogs down at the pond (with the new owners’ permission) allow me to talk to Sam at his granite plaque at the foot of the pavilion. The scholarship fund in his name is another way I mourn. This blog is part of my mourning process. Reconnecting with friends I’ve known for more than 30 years and making some new friends helps me integrate what’s happened; but it’s emotionally very taxing. Letting go of some friends who just can’t be friends in my life right now is easier than trying to patch things over. Some were never friends at all and it is a tremendous relief to be done with them. I can’t help them with their grief. Some days I can’t help my own self cope with the grief. Today was one of them.

I wake up and instantly feel his absence. And I feel a stab in my heart. The tears begin to form and the frown turns down. It is just such a deep longing to lie safe beside him.

He’s gone.

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