This letter is for you if you are all alone at night when you come home.
This letter is for you if you no longer have someone who loves you without any conditions. Someone who has seen you grow old and knows about all your scars and all your changes.
I know you miss being loved.
I know you feel like nobody cares about you.
I know this is not easy.
And, as I am sitting here trying to think about how I can make it all better, I realize that I can’t.
I can’t make it better for you.
But what I can do is tell you that you are not losing your mind, your feelings are normal.
That yes, this feels like this.
It is time to start saying how you feel about the evenings and weekends out loud.
To speak the words…I miss my person, I miss my best friend.
It is one of the most difficult experiences for a human being.
You didn’t just lose the person you love, you lost your support system.
You lost the person who reflected back your image, your words and your identity.
And because of not having that person witnessing you anymore you no longer know who you are. In a very small way it is like there are no mirrors in your house anymore.
You can’t see how you look like.
This is much more important than people realize.
And the loss of your person is more than just a broken heart.
It is about a broken identity, a broken present and a broken future.
I want you to start looking for people who can see you again.
And I don’t mean going out for coffee seeing someone. I mean to talk to someone who knows you, and gets you and sees you.
We have to consciously seek to be seen now that the person who was here with us every day is no longer here.
This is beyond the basic understanding of grief.
Beyond a broken heart. Beyond mourning.
It is about losing yourself so much, so that the loss of your identity can last even longer than any other loss, unless we look for those mirrors in our lives.
Unless we look for those people who have the capacity to witness our new identity.
The longer we are not seen, the harder it is to leave the waiting room. (Click to Tweet!)
The harder it is to want to be seen.
So don’t wait with this, seek out people in your life who can be that mirror.
PS. I did an incredible radio interview last week that I think you will really enjoy and you will get a lot out of it here is the link. It is episode 31 at the top of the page.
This is one of the most profound messages I’ve read yet and at just the right time. It amazes me how you are able to articulate the thoughts and feelings of losing a spouse so well. Even when I’m not sure what I’m feeling you hit it spot on and I am grateful, so grateful, for your work. You are an incredible source of solace for me and others on a subject that is often not talked about or understood.
The year my husband was ill, diagnosed, and passed was the same year I was in “my dream job.” I lost My Person, I sucked at the job of course, and now I don’t know who I am, what I’m good at, or how I want to Be. I really am still full in in the Waiting Room and I was so sure I had left it!
It’s been five years since I lost the love of my life, my soulmate I was married to for 46 years. This describes exactly how I feel. I thought there was something wrong with me. Now I understand. I would never wish this on my grown children but I wish they would try to understand too.
I can’t believe this! I have been trying to identify this feeling of being lost, lost in my own world, seen but not being seen, belonging but not belonging…I literally felt as if my left and right brain had been reversed! You nailed it! Its my mirror that was missing, 10 years now, and I’ve been looking in the wrong people, places, and things. With your perspective, at least I know now how to look, really look, in that mirror. I love you Christina!
Thank you so much for writing this! I have been trying to make sense of this for some time. People who have not gone through this will try to convince you that, ‘yes, you are the same person’. Even though that may be true, you truly don’t have that mirror reinforcing you and providing the support that you need. It truly is a rough time. I’m praying that it gets better, especially the nights and weekends.
Thanks again, Christina
This message lays it all out. The loss of past present and future is weighing in on the Grief. Companionship bound with trust and acceptance grew deeper with each passing year. Now lost, idenity blurs, fear and doubt rise up and loneliness engulfs and the heartache lingers. I cherish what I had more and more and could never have known how deep love goes till the well runs dry.
It has been a year since my Terry passed. I am reading your book Second Firsts, and really want to move forward, but am finding it very difficult. I find myself saying that people should know how I am feeling, but they don’t and rightfully so. I have one daughter who won’t speak to me, because one time in the fourth month of his passing, I was raw with grief, and she acted like I should be over it. Then rest of the group started in one me, and I felt like an animal trapped, so I lashed out with hurtful words and retreated to my bedroom. Not once since her Daddy’s passing did she call me to see how I was, and when I finally came for a visit, this is how I was treated. It has been almost nine months since we spoke. I did send my Grandchildren B-day cards and gifts, not one thank you. So I am trying again…I have rented a beach house and have invited my Daughter and Grandchildren. She has accepted. Still no spoken words, all done via text, or FB messaging. I don’t know how I will address the elephant in the room when we are all together. I am reading “Second Firsts” and am trying to build a new life. Hopefully when next month arrives, a few words of wisdom from the book, and this site will help me go forward. I don’t know if going forward means without my daughter, that would be another “death”….Still finding my way…thank you.