When I started thinking about what I wanted to contribute to the Wellness Universe Guide to Self-Care: 25 Tools to Achieve Anything, I knew I wanted to write about navigating life’s big transitions. This was an area I had studied, researched, written about, coached clients through. I’d been fascinated by and immersed myself in the topic for over 10 years.
So, I decided that my chapter would be about how life transitions are transformational opportunities, which I know that they are.
As the due date for the chapter came forward, little did I realize that I would be given an up-close and personal situation to write about. But, more about that in a moment.
The guidelines for writing the chapter were pretty straightforward. I was to tell my story and then include a tool to help others get to the other side of grief and loss that are part of the process of transition.
I wrote the tool and the content for it pretty easily. However, I struggled with writing my story. The words on the page just didn’t feel right, so I set it aside. I trusted that I’d work through it and submit my chapter in time to meet the deadline.
Then, it happened. The day the chapter was due, I drove my husband to the hospital. He was having difficulty breathing and hadn’t slept in two days. Tom had just been diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis four weeks before that and was struggling with his medication dosages so that he could balance between controlling the symptoms and managing the side effects of the medications in concert with all the other health issues he already had.
My gut told me that I had to get him to the hospital, NOW. He protested a little, but agreed that he needed to go after a short “discussion.” We both thought that he would be seen by the doctors and they would be able to get him back on track with managing his MG and easing his breathing.
Immediately upon arriving to the ER examination room, Tom’s heart stopped beating. What ensued after that was a nightmarish sequence of events that ended up with his death 20 hours later.
Stunned by what had happened, I returned home without him. I was also faced with my commitment to finish writing my chapter and turning it in. Now, I knew the story I needed to write about. It was so hard to do. And, I did it.
So, my chapter starts like this:
At 2:30 am on Saturday, April 10, 2021, I was standing at my husband’s bedside at the hospital. I was called in by the night nurse, told to get there quickly. I was a wife. At 2:32, I was a widow.
Anyone who has ever gone through that kind of gut-wrenching ending knows what it feels like. It’s now day six of my life’s next chapter, and I well know I’m in the transitional phase between this ending and my new beginning.
The outer change has happened. Wife. Widow. Change.
The inner change that will be my focus for who knows how long has only just begun.
Now, 2 months later, I am still moving through this journey of loss, the loss of my beloved husband, the life we were planning to live together, the identity of wife, the assurance that the world is a safe place to love deeply, all these abandonments I feel deeply.
He is gone, and I wander through my silent house asking, “What is this for?” My head is full of the sound of a thousand bees, making thinking impossible. So I just sit and bear witness to it all. I just feel my feelings and let them be.
My training as a Grief Counselor and Transitions Coach DOES help me. I have a map of the territory. I understand and cooperate with the grieving process, as I’m actually walking on the path. I trust that my new beginning is coming.
Still, there are times when I only have questions. Any answers I hear seem pointless, because no answers satisfy this longing I feel for what is gone.
Here’s what the poet Jalal din Rumi has in the way of an answer to my grief:
I’ve broken through to longing now,
filled with a grief I have felt before,
but never like this.
The center leads to love.
Soul opens the creation core.
Hold on to your particular pain.
That too can take you to God.
I share much more about all of this in my book chapter. As the book is being published soon, I encourage you to check it out, if what I’ve written here speaks to you.
There’s so much goodness being put forward by 25 wonderful authors, and I’m honored to be one of them.
~ Carrie Doubts
Connect with Carrie Doubts and be sure to read Chapter 5 in The Wellness Universe Guide to Complete Self-Care, 25 Tools to Achieve Anything available on Amazon June 22nd.
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