It has been almost a week since I wrote. I'm doing a lot better. I've been taking care of my health issues. I've been seeing a chiropractor more than once a week since just after Joe died. I get a lot of back pain and it controls what I can and can't do. I still get into a lot of pain when I've been standing up too long, but too long is just a bit longer than it used to be, and moving is a lot easier than it was a month ago. I go down to one visit a week starting next week, and I start massage therapy on the same day. He hinted at some exercise therapy, but not quite yet.
I can tell I'm making progress when he works on me. Things that hurt too much to even try two weeks ago are only mildly uncomfortable today. And I had the strange experience on Wednesday of leaning on a counter and having the pain just go away when I was at a checkout at a store. I tried it again in a different store half an hour later and it happened again.
I've been working the grief books. There are several that I like, for different reasons. WIDOW TO WIDOW: THOUGHTFUL, PRACTICAL IDEAS FOR REBUILDING YOUR LIFE by Genevieve Davis Ginsburg, MS is on my Kindle. It is an older book written in the 90s by a widow, who has been there. She was a family therapist before her husband died and it colors the book. It really is both thoughtful and practical and it really is about rebuilding your life. She talks about the early stages and the feelings, grief and anger you feel. But for every chapter about that, there is one about dealing with the financial issues, or about how you handle and when you handle, emptying the closet. And why you do it when you decide to do it, and what it means.
There was one point when she was discussing removing wedding rings. Because of allergies I haven't worn a ring, watch or earrings for 40 years, but she said something that just hit me. She said that there will come a point when you don't feel married anymore. I suddenly realized that because Joe was unable to react to my presence for a year or more that I'd gotten to that point months ago. I had stopped feeling married. And that was perfectly reasonable under the circumstances.
I read this book about a year ago the first time, and again in the last month. It was useful then and it was useful again, to some extent in different ways. I recommend WIDOW TO WIDOW.
SEVEN CHOICES by Elizabeth Harper Neeld, PhD is another older book about widowhood. It is also a book that I read, and worked part way though some time in the last year. Like Genevieve Davis Ginsburg, Elizabeth Harper Neeld hates the entire idea of stages of grief. They both agree that you will feel all of the emotions of the classic stages, but both feel that you will feel some of those emotions at any point in the grief process. But Dr. Neeld does see grief as a road with specific points where you will have to work on certain things to continue to go forward. She understands you might be working on more than one of them at a time, but certain things tend to cluster.
This book talks about the practical stuff too, but not in as much detail as WIDOW TO WIDOW. The focus is more on how to take your emotional temperature and decide which tasks need to be done when. And then she goes into more detail about how to do the tasks that will result in your coming to a place of peace in your life.
I recommend SEVEN CHOICES too.
I've bought two new books this week. TOUGH TRANSITIONS is also by Elizabeth Harper Neeld, Phd. She wrote this book more recently and it is about "Navigating Your Way Through Difficult Times." Grief, yes, but also other kinds of transitions. She discovered that some of what she was writing about in SEVEN CHOICES was showing up in people where there hadn't been a death, but where they had other kinds of upheavals in their lives. Because I am at a particular place in the road in SEVEN CHOICES I chose not to read forward at this time. I've read the entire book in the past and knew roughly where I was back then. Now I've moved forward on that road a little bit leaving the more difficult parts of grief behind, but needing to begin rebuilding more completely. It occurred to me that I might find more information on how to do that here. I haven't gotten very far into the book yet, but I like what I'm seeing so far.
I also bought GRIEVING GOD'S WAY by Margaret Brownley. I've only "done" two days in the book but I've looked at other sections and read a few days from the middle at the book store. This is a Christian faith based book. The other three are secular books. But Margaret Brownley's vision of grief is not too different from that of the other two authors. This book is intended to be read two pages a day. There is a reading about what you are feeling in the Grieving Body, Soul, Heart and Spirit. It is intended to take 90 days. There is a bible verse, or two, a short essay, a second short related essay on two pages for each day. Again, I like what I'm seeing so far.
I can't totally recommend either of these new books because I haven't been involved in them enough yet. But I do like them.
Take care all. Maybe next time I'll talk about the two art quilt projects I've been working on during this week.