I have always put in too many hours sitting in front of my computer. It used to be a major part of my work-life but even after I retired I seemed to find activities that would end up with me hunched over a keyboard, inviting an aching neck and shoulders. Still do! 🙂
I also remember many times while I was immersed in my work at the desk that I would feel strong hands coming from behind me, deftly massaging the tight muscles. “You’re working too hard,” my husband Norbert would say while his fingers found the knots in my neck. “You need a break. Why don’t you stop for a coffee?”
Oh, how I miss loving hands on my shoulders. I miss the “You’ll be OK” hug when I was feeling down. I miss the peck on the cheek as he ran out the door. I miss hugging him. And I miss intimacy.
This post isn’t meant to be a maudlin list of everything I’ve lost since Norbert died though, as I like to keep things a lot more pragmatic and useful. The loss of touch though is…well….a touchy subject! If you no longer have your partner it’s not a craving that is easily replaced.
There are some things you can do that make the loss of touch a little less brutal though. Nothing will fill the gap left by your loved one, but some things might help.
This question has been going around and around in my head for a long time now. I’ve needed to write about it but oh…..what a contentious topic! I could just imagine how some might react:
“Are you saying your grief is worse than mine?”
“How can you ‘compare griefs’ – are you suggesting a hierarchy?“
“Don’t you dare judge my feelings when you don’t know me!“
Oh dear. [shudders] My fear of this reaction is why I haven’t broached the subject in the past. I have a strong self-protection instinct… but I also have a need to explore and understand what is going around in my head AND maybe what might help others to understand what’s going on for them too.
Perhaps I should continue to shy away from the topic, but our society doesn’t ‘do death’ very well at all, and I believe it should be something we talk about openly.
So here goes….. [braces herself]…..
Imagine this. You’re juggling a dozen or more brightly coloured balls, keeping them carefully spaced apart and all in the air at the same time. It’s not easy but you are well practiced and so your hands grab each ball at exactly the right time to grasp it, and flick it on it’s way before the next one comes around.
And then…. they all fall to the ground at exactly the same time. Crash!!!
What if this was your life, and all the balls are the various aspects of your life that you keep in motion. Confidently and with the expectation of somebody who has managed their own life for a long time, you know what is going to happen next.
And then your partner/soul-mate/love of your life….dies. Crash!!!
Grief…along with anxiety, stress and depression….is just plain exhausting. It consumes every single aspect of every single day with no reprieve in sight. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to take even a short break? A mini-holiday? I was about 6 weeks into my grief journey when I discovered that I could do just that, so I thought I’d share my experience. It began one day when I went outside to put something into the bin….
Clocks stopping…and going backwards. Music starting up in the middle of the night and things inexplicably (and catastrophically) breaking. It started within hours of receiving the devastating news that my husband Norbert had been killed in a glider crash and over the subsequent couple of weeks it was so obvious that we weren’t exactly wondering if it was a coincidence, but rather…what would happen next!
The clouds were grey and hanging low in the sky when I got into my car and drove away from my home. The heavy skies were threatening rain, and the weather matched my mood as I took a deep breath, and fought to regain the tight control I had had on my emotions and well-being for some time. But…it felt like things were going off the rails.