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Early on I heard a lot of opinions about everything! And for a long time it felt like I couldn’t do anything right for anyone, even for or especially for myself, because the voices and opinions of others was so very LOUD I couldn’t even hear what I wanted. After the dust settled and I closed myself off from the outside world I slowly began to hear for myself what I needed and wanted. And I began acting on that knowledge. Of course with actions came judgment and hurtful criticisms but those actions also birthed courage, knowledge and compassion from me.

Recently I began to pay more attention to the shift of those who now surround me. I noticed that at some point, around nine to ten months or so-the brain is foggy about time still- I let go of the hurt and feelings of anger and abandonment of those who could not be supportive of my needs and choices. I needed to understand that for them to watch me struggle, to stand and bear witness to me while I was grieving and hurting that deeply is hard and awful and must be a  very helpless feeling for them. In coming to understand all of that, which took the better part of a year, I let them go. I released them of having to watch me and I released me of having to pretend anything that wasn’t true and also silenced them and their judgment. I freed them and most importantly I freed myself.

What is significant here as a lesson for me was that in releasing those feelings and those people from my life without harshness or anger it became so much easier for those who actually could stand to bear witness and WANTED to do so to step out of the chaos and noise and be seen and heard. Their presence, having been somewhat dulled by the swirling vortex of pain and chaos that surrounded John’s death, was allowed to shine into my life after I made the decision to pull back, slow down and release what and who didn’t work for this new life or this new me anymore.

Now, I have people around me who “get” that I still have John’s ashes and why, and they have NO advice for me on what to do with them! Yay! I have people in my life who understand that I am still fragile and tired and honestly quite scared still after the upturning of the table that was my life, and they don’t ever say to me that I shouldn’t feel that way or that it’s silly to fret about this or that. These amazing people in my life don’t try to change my sad or hard days with shoulds and shouldn’ts, instead they sit with me, hold my hand, or virtually or on the phone sooth me with kindness and words of understanding and hope.  By releasing those who could not bear witness to my grief I have been given the gift of non-judgment by the few, but oh so very important people, whose strong and loving presences has buoyed me on many hard days and harder nights. And I breathe a prayer of gratitude for harnessing from somewhere the bravery it took for us to get here and for each loving and steadfast person who has stood with me at the gates of grief hell and never ran away. 

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Comment by lizbeth4 on May 29, 2014 at 11:00am

I really appreciated your post.  I felt so unsupported and abandoned by people who I thought would stand by me during my Husband's illness and death.  I was angry especially about the way some people judged me and the inconsiderate advice they gave me.  I knew for my own well being that I had to forgive and let them go from my life.  And I did.  It was the most freeing moment for me also.  I have had to dig deep inside of myself and find me.  I am not part of a couple anymore (30 years).  I am making my own decisions and living my life the way I see fit.  I am surrounding myself with healthy people and relationships.  I appreciate the people who had stood by me and my madness the last 14 months.  I found out who where my true friends as they are still in my life.  

Comment by Mariposa on May 29, 2014 at 8:11am

You are blessed to have steadfast people who have been able to just be there for you. You captured it all so well how all of the voices of others try to tell you what you SHOULD do.  Everyone wants to fix you rather than to honor your grieving and allow you to feel your pain.

It has been 2 1/2 years since my husband died from a rare cancer, and now I am really learning how to listen to my inner voice, not the voice of friends.   I know when I am peaceful about a decision, it is the right decision. My body acts up if I am doing something against my inner truth.

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