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Turning The Corner On Grief

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This is a post from freshWidow.com by written by SupaDupa, I don't think she'd mind my sharing...

How do you know when you're turning the corner on grief?, they ask. There's hope and confusion in their eyes. And who wouldn't want the pain to end? But I can't lie and say, "On day one of year two, you will be all fixed up." I would never say that; they believe it anyway. (I believed it too. We must all make it up with our good imaginations.) And you can't tell them time makes any difference, even though it's totally true, because they will hit you. I might say, "give it time," and "I'm not sure there's really a corner, but you will feel better one day."

Here's what it felt like to be turning the corner on grief:

I had more good days than bad days.

I started to get ideas about things I wanted to do next.

I began to feel that my loss was not the worst thing that ever happened to anyone.

I had urges to see friends, exercise, clean up, and change things around.

I started to be able to help other people.

Some people mention that they start to be able to see things in colour again, or they start to taste food again (which usually results in their being disgusted that they ate Cheerio's for dinner 6 months straight, but whatever. Accept and move on!)

I think what's important is knowing that for most of us, it's not dramatic, nor even a single event. (We say "grief is not linear," but seriously, is anything in life linear?) For most of us, we say we feel like we're going "two steps forward, one step back," (often, "two back and one forward"). We say it's a bumpy road, or a rollercoaster. We say it's better when the peaks are higher and the valleys are less low. Most valuable is knowing that the time scale is incredibly long: no matter how long "grief" lasts, it's not unusual for it to take several years to get to a stable place where you smile a lot. But it's not linear: you're not inconsolable and disabled and an open wound the entire time. You keep changing and the world keeps moving too, and sometimes you are in sync with it.

Sometimes you can find a perfect metaphor even if it doesn't QUITE fit. This story about the wonderful Frog and Toad (by Arnold Lobel) captures at least one tiny bit of it perfectly: that progress happens when things just keep moving along, however they will, and whatever you think you're looking for, keep your eyes open to the world around you.

My daughter hates it when story time makes me cry but these gentle little reptiles always get me in the gut. Toad has been soaked in the rain, and Frog shares a story about how his father told him to buck up, "spring is just around the corner:"

"I wanted Spring to come.

I went out

to find that corner.

I walked down a path in the woods

until I came to a corner.

I went around the corner

to see if Spring was on the other side."

"And was it?" asked Toad.

"No," said Frog.

"There was only a pine tree,

three pebbles and some dry grass.

I walked

in the meadow.

Soon I came to

another corner.

I went around the corner

to see if Spring was there."

"Did you find it?" asked Toad.

"No," said Frog.

"There was only

an old worm

asleep on a

tree stump."

(I love that worm. I love Frog and Toad so much).

And so on. Four corners, and spring is not around any of them. Disappointed, tired, Frog heads home as it starts to rain.

"When I got [home]," said Frog,

"I found another corner.

It was the corner of my house."

"Did you go around it?"

asked Toad.

"I went around that corner, too,"

said Frog.

"What did you see?"

asked Toad.

"I saw the sun coming out,"

said Frog. "I saw birds

sitting and singing in a tree.

I saw my mother and father

working in their garden.

I saw flowers in the garden."

"You found it!" cried Toad.

"Yes," said Frog.

"I was very happy.

I had found the corner

that Spring was just around."

And why do I love this? Because what makes spring come... is not so much the effort it takes to look around all those corners (although doing so is unavoidable) ... but the work it takes to plant a garden.

So keep hope in your eyes... but keep those peepers open, peeps, especially when things are changing. Spring's a-comin'.

It will be 10 months since my Michael passed this coming week, I still cry everyday and would give anything to have him back. I know I haven't turned the corner yet and don't see the flowers, but by keeping one foot in front of the other, I am hoping that day will come... Take care, Deb

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Thanks so much for this uplifting post. I'm a member of Widowed Village, where this person is a member, but I didn't know she had her own website. We have all the Frog and Toad books, pretty worn out by now after reading them countless times to four children over the years. They're very moving.

I don't think there will be any "corner" for me - more of a gradual process that I don't notice unless I look back.


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Very Nice...I think we look around corner's when we start a new day, as it is fresh and new, we don't always see it that way

due to our grief but we are indeeed in a spring senario as everyday is a new day without our loved ones, but God has given us all a great

gift of memories that we can take into that new day with us to help us get on with living a spring day....I find by taking these days with positive

energy instead of negative hurtful thoughts it allows me to have a better day and deal better with this "new spring"....

May Peace Be With You


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Thank you for sharing that, it was a wonderful post and very true. There is no particular day that seems to define things for us, it's more of a gradual process than anything, but there does come a point where you begin to realize your progress. It takes a while, while you are in the thick of it, it's hard to see, it's when you look back that you can realize it with more clarity.

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Deb, I loved the post about turning the corner, thank you for sharing it. I have not been on site much lately, just caught up in "busyness" Just finished being one of 4 stage managers for our theater companys production of South Pacific, was a wonderful success, both financially and artistically. Have this week to rest up, then my daughter (who was my rock and my nurse Rachett in the weeks after Mike died)and I are leaving for a cruise with 10 other of our theater friends. This group will include my little support group, Tom (who lost his wife to cancer about 4 months before Mike died) and Dana (who lost her husband nearly 2 years ago) We are spending a few days in New Orleans, and then getting on a Carnival ship for 4 days, going to Cosumel (sp?) Tom,and I are taking some of Mike and Anns ashes to toss in the ocean, and Dana will take some of the dirt from Morris's grave. Been over 14 months since I lost Mike, and turning that corner has been gradual. The most dramatic time for me was the anniversary of his death, when I felt such a peace, and that peace is still with me. I do still have bad days, and SUG days, but they not as often, and I am over them faster. I will always miss him, and would give everything to have him back. However, I believe I have turned that corner, and for me at least, the busyness has helped. As I may have mentioned in another post, doing South Pacific was bittersweet for me. In 1989 Mike played Billis, and in 1998 he played the Frenchman Emile, so I shed a few tears during the production, but all understood.

Mary (Queeniemary) in Arkansas

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