My husband died on September 5th, and the days from then until today have been a challenge. One part of me wants to bury my head under my pillow and never peek out at the sun again. Another part of me says, "Get up, do your chores and enjoy the glorious sunrise."
Life goes on. Life must go on.
It does help to have things you have to do. Mindless tasks like feeding the animals, clearing the pasture, doing some laundry. What is so terribly hard for a writer is trying to get back to writing, as any of you reading this who have walked this same path of oneness can affirm.
At first, you are just too numb to write. You're almost too numb to remember to eat or to breathe, and thank goodness we have friends and family to remind of us to do that.
At some point, however, you know you have to get back to the writing; just like you have to get out of bed in the morning. It would be easier if writing was more like other jobs or professions where you are focused on doing specific tasks and accomplishing them. My daughter shared with me recently that it has helped her to get through her days by getting back to teaching. She is a TA for a literature professor, and one of her responsibilities is grading test papers. There are 125 students in the class, so that is a lot of work. Doing something like that takes an investment of mental acuity, but there is very little emotional involvement.
With writing, however, it is all about emotional involvement. That is how we connect to readers through our work. While grieving, we bounce between that numbness and emotions that are so raw we don't want to touch them.
As I have been walking along this path of aloneness, I have realized so many things from the outpouring of support from my online friends, as well as those who can physically put their arms around me.
• I am not the first woman to go through this, and I certainly won't be the last.
• There is no right or wrong in the grieving process.
• Give yourself permission to stop trying to work and do something totally mindless until your brain wants to create again.
• Most people, when they ask how you are doing, want to hear that you are okay. They hurt for you when you are hurting, and they just want all the hurting to stop. But you do need to tell someone how terribly awful this is, otherwise the feelings bottle up inside and create havoc. I tell my horse every morning.
• Take care of yourself any way you can. If that means lots of chocolate, buy stock in your favorite candy company.
• Tell yourself you are strong. "I can do this." Even though you may not believe it. One day you will wake up and realize you are doing this. One day, one baby step at a time.
Maryann Miller is a novelist, editor and sometimes actress. Her most recent release is Boxes For Beds, an historical mystery available as an e-book. Stalking Season is the second book in the Seasons Mystery Series. The first book, Open Season, is available as an e-book for all devices. To check out her editing rates visit her website. When not working, Maryann likes to take her dog for a walk and work outside on her little ranch in East Texas. She believes in the value of a good walk.