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Letting Go/holding On


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I am just entering the 9th month since my wife of 40 years died suddenly, in my arms.

In the months since her passing I've had many ups and downs, but I've been doing well overall.

I've been aware of a paradox that exists from the beginning of this experience. That is, I want to get beyond the pain, but I don't want let her go.

I've been repeating this cycle over and over:

I dive deep into the pool of emotions and feel lots of pain and loss. Then I have a good contact with my wife and I feel much better for a period of time.

The cycle keeps repeating, lastng for a week or two.

I've been trying to modify the cycle by not going so deep---like only looking at a few pictures or avoiding parts of the house that feel bad. It has worked in that when I do feel bad/sad it is less intense and shorter.

But, here comes the paradox---I DON'T WANT TO LET GO.

As I write this, the answer is obvious---It takes time.

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I cant imagine any of us want to let go, sure know I dont want to! I guess the assignment is how to figure out how to build new happiness......and yet incorporate what we have been through, and keep the memory of our loved one alive still......yes you are right......it will take time Dave

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My dear Curley, your wanting to hold onto your beloved is perfectly understandable, perfectly normal, and perfectly okay! In working through our grief, our goal is not to let go of the ones we love so much ~ rather, it is to let go of the pain ~ and that takes place over time (a lifetime, really), as we learn to process and come to terms with our grief. I promise you that the pain of loss will diminish slowly over time, but it never goes away completely. You will continue to feel the pain of losing your precious wife to death for the rest of your own life. But if you think of that pain as the measure of the love you have for her, it makes perfect sense that the pain will never, ever go away completely. As we say so often on this site, the best we can do is to learn to live with it.

I invite you to read this thread, and please be sure to scroll down through all the posts you'll find there: Letting Go

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I'm glad you brought this subject up, it's something that affects most of us at some time or another.

A lot of times when we're on a grief journey, we are afraid to let ourselves be happy because we feel subconsciously that we are letting go of them. Letting go of some of the pain or giving ourselves permission to experience joy is not letting go of our partner. When we have a bond of love like we here have had with our partners, be it two years or forty, it is not a bond that is broken by death or anything else...the love continues forever. Letting go in this sense of the word is merely to say, that this is our reality now and we need to do our best with what we are left with. We will continue to carry them in our hearts and remember them, nothing would or could change that. Grief will continue to hit us here and there, and we will sometimes experience tears or a pang in our heart, but it's healthy to let ourselves begin to experience good feelings as well. That may not happen for some time for some people, but eventually you catch yourself smiling or laughing...when that first happens we sometimes feel guilty...it's important to know that it's normal, it's okay, and we need to tell that guilt good bye.

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Thank you Curly for this topic and to Marty and Kay so very much for your replies. Your words have struck an important chord with me today.

I have never processed it before as letting go of the pain, not the person.

I've been struggling these last few months with guilt at whether I am 'leaving him behind' as my life starts to rebuild itself.

Not in any relationship sense, but just that the activities and momentum of joining the human race again seem to be taking me out of the all consuming darkness of these last 30 months.I'm more of an observer to this process than an active participant but it is happening anyway.

Much to think about, but already I feel some burdens lifted. Thank you, thank you, thank you....Susie Q

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Marty, I would like to take your response and post it where the world would see it. I do know that until someone has experienced the pain that all of us here have experienced, they can not really understand. I have been one of those, also. But now I wish all others could comprehend this simple truth...and reach out with that understanding to those around them who are in such pain.

Thank you for saying it so well.

Mary

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I usually write my response to the thread starter and later as time permits, go through and read others' responses. I was quite surprised that the words I wrote stated so closely what Marty wrote. But I shouldn't be surprised...they are truths we have both learned and experienced.

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