Grieving for a partner is one of the hardest things to do. It can hurt just as much even after years or decades.
There are certain moments in life when time stands still. When everything that mattered a moment ago—the unpaid bills, the impending work deadline, an annoying colleague, not having the right colors to look put together, an argument you had the previous day—would dissolve into meaningless nothingness when you receive news of death. More so when it is the death of a loved one.
When it is a partner or spouse, it can knock the wind out of you. The moment gets so slow and vivid, except you cannot register one fact—that the person you woke up next to every day, the one you held in your arms, the one with whom you fought for the silliest of things and made up to with just one impish grin—is no more. Absolutely nothing would make sense in that moment, not death, not life, and definitely not how the two are connected.
If you have ever been in this position, this speech given by Nora McInerny, a card-carrying member of a group 'Young Hot Widows Club' is something you should watch. But before you judge her story by the cheeky name of the club, here's why it hits the exact spots that have been yearning to heal.
Grief is one of those things that can break down every shred of structure and meaning in your life. A moment before you could have been a happy and nagging wife complaining (like all in-love wives and moms do at times) about the little things about life. A second later, the fact that you will go to bed alone from that day forward can hit you like a boulder. The experiences can range anywhere from rage, physical pain, guilt, disbelief, and numbness. This is why the process of grieving is never linear or the same for any two people. And this is exactly why hearing someone say "you should move on" can feel like a sharp blow on your already-aching heart.
The writer and podcaster reveals in this unbelievably accurate video—which is at once heartwrenching and funny—why you cannot really move on. She explains in a heartfelt statement about her first husband,
"Aaron's life, and death, and love are just moments that I can leave behind—and that I probably should."
If you thought yourself to be weird for talking like they still existed, you are not alone. And it isn't weird. As Nora beautifully explains, "it isn't because we are in denial or forgetful. it is because the person is still present for us." For those who have been left behind by a partner who no longer walks this earth, every single thing could seem meaningless. The dreams you shared, the to-do list on your refrigerator, the dream vacations you often spoke about together, the kids' future, none of this seem to matter when you don't have your beloved beside you.
But the broken souls often carry on, often too soon, because life, kids, jobs still demand that they function optimally. The way people cope with this is to acknowledge that your partner is still present, silently giving you the strength to take up their role as well. The next time you feel a need to explain why you still refer to them in the first person, stop. You have the right to hold on to anything that you are not ready to let go of as yet.
Or, you could feel anger, regret, envy, and even disgust. Or just overwhelming sadness for all the things you didn't get to do with your partner. All of this is normal. Feeling negative emotions towards those who still seem to have their life intact doesn't mean you have turned into a bad person or jealous monster. The heart has its own way to heal. Once your heart has healed enough, it will be easier for you to walk through the pathway without feeling the pain of not walking in hand with your partner. And sometimes, this pain may never go, although you would have learned to deal with it better.
It isn't just the big, grand moments together with your partner that'll come back. It is the small moments that you nearly missed noticing during your busy week when life was about getting things done and making ends meet. The way they smile when you are mad at them, their morning sleepy face right after they wake up, the sound of delight they make after biting into their favorite dish, or the way they hum softly during a lazy afternoon of house cleaning or working in the garage—these are the moments that you will miss the most. The every day little things that make them special. And the lesson this kind of loss leaves behind is to never take the little moments for granted ever.
Our grief defines who we become as an individual, as a parent, and as a potential partner in the future. There is absolutely no need to stop loving your late partner in order to enter a new relationship. They will always be the one who occupies an irreplaceable place in your heart. Nora explains in this moving moment how her love for one late husband doesn't diminish the love for her current husband.
"...my love for Aaron, and my grief for Aaron, and love for Mathew are not opposing forces. They are just strands to the same thread. They are the same stuff."
Watch this incredibly articulate speech about how grief-adjacent people cannot understand what grief-stricken people are going through and why you need to be gentle on yourself as you heal.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khkJkR-ipfwDisclaimer : The views expressed in this article belong to the writer and are not necessarily shared by lessonslearnedinlifeinc.