I've been writing about anticipatory grief a lot, but today I'm going to write about what happens when you start turning the corner. It is all happening very fast if you count from when my Joe died. But not so fast if you count from when I began to grieve my loss of the Joe I knew.
I've been using two books pretty heavily. Both of them are rather old books. WIDOW TO WIDOW by Genevieve Davis Ginsburg, MS is on my Kindle. It was originally copyright in 1995. I have a paperback copy of SEVEN CHOICES BY Elizabeth Harper Neeld, PhD, original copyright 1990. Both were professional counselors or teachers. Both were widowed and are writing, in part, about their own personal experiences, and also about the experiences of other widows. Both are primarily about women who are widowed, although they touch on men as well.
Both belong to the generation of counselors who hated the whole idea of the official stages of grief, because that wasn't what they experienced and it wasn't what they were seeing in others either, but both also admit that you come to a point where you begin to walk into your new life. Dr. Neeld calls it The Turn. Ms. Ginsburg calls it Uncoupling.
I got two things out of WIDOW TO WIDOW in the last couple of days that I need to write about. One was that there is a point when you don't feel married any more. That happened to me after several months when there was no longer any real contact possible with Joe, while he was still alive. It was when I truly began to work on my grief and read my books and try to figure out what was going on. I began to tell people that I was, for all intents and purposes, a widow already. And with one exception, everyone understood what I was saying.
But one thing that kept happening was that I was in limbo. I'd make some steps towards the new life, and get pulled back into the old one, because although Joe was so sick he was not making contact with anyone including the aides who were feeding him and keeping him clean, he had not died yet. Now that limbo is over, and I'm free to take those next steps into a new life.
So here I am at the point where I'm going to be reading the Parts called From Widowhood to Selfhood in WIDOW TO WIDOW and The Turn in SEVEN CHOICES. These Parts are not the last ones in either book. But both are well into the journey beyond the end of a marriage.