Lingering Effects of Grief

Even as my pain subsides, even as my memories of a coupled life fade, the effects of grief linger.

When the significant person in your life dies, the tearing away of their presence from your soul creates ripples of changes in your life. In my case, after the death of my life mate/soul mate, I relocated a thousand miles from our home, exchanging a mountainous climate for a desert one. As difficult as that change was, it turned out to be the easiest, probably because my long walks in the desert help me feel connected to the earth. Other changes are harder to deal with, such as loneliness and sorrow, a heightened sense of mortality, and mood swings.

During most of my life, I tried to keep my emotions on an even keel in the belief that what goes up must come down, but now such control seems beyond me.

At the beginning of my grief, I got a newsletter from hospice warning about mood swings and explaining that euphoria followed by despair is common. I didn’t pay much attention to the article because I was not prone to euphoria. I was grief-stricken, heartbroken, and soul-shattered, and I stayed that way for months on end.

Now, though, I can laugh one minute and cry the next. I succumb to irritability more often than I would like. And I am overly sensitive. Things that once I could have taken in stride now bring me to tears, as if something in me, an equalizer, perhaps, is broken. The bloody stump where he was ripped from my psyche is healing, but I am still very tender and sore, and that makes me subject to the vagaries of emotion. (Though I still haven’t experienced any euphoria.)

I don’t like this part of the process. Well, of course not. No part of the grieving process is fun, but there is a big difference between the agony of a soul crying out, “Where are you? Can you hear me?” and the pettiness of a woman upset because someone who promised to call didn’t.

Apparently, part of me believes that I paid my dues with my great loss, and now I deserve to have everything go my way. But life is not like that. Life does not keep a balance sheet.

I know that as I continue to assimilate my grief, I will eventually regain my equilibrium and find a way to deal with the minor heartaches and setbacks of life. But for now, all I can do is cling to the wildly swinging pendulum and hope I can manage to hang on until I find peace once again.