Anniversaries: Feeling a Wave of Grief
Day 60 of 100 days of Blogging
It is amazing how unexpected a wave of grief can appear. Right there. Feeling it in the gut. It doesn’t matter how much time has passed, how much I have processed and transformed the grief, or how I have moved through layers of feelings to create a wonderful, new life. Grief comes back in unexpected waves. It is part of a cycle that continues to expand me.
If my husband was still alive, we would have celebrated our 25th Wedding Anniversary this week. Although he died 10 years ago, there is something that just touched me with sadness when the day appeared on my calendar. I sat by the fire and gave myself some space to feel it.
My reflective question: Why did this hit me so hard with waves of grief surfacing throughout the day?
I come from a lineage of people who have been married for 50, 60, 70 years. My first marriage ended in divorce after we had been together for 10 years. My second husband and I navigated huge challenges during our fifteen years together with the final challenge, his cancer, that ended his life. I have every confidence that if we had beaten that challenge, we would have celebrated this silver wedding anniversary together. So, this was another marker of time, another dream that was lost, another reminder of his absence.
Still I explored the feelings even more. I felt the loss of not having the opportunity to…what?…accomplish this goal? Something is tangled up in here. Value? Worth? Love? Challenge? Accomplishment?
What if I never have a relationship where I celebrate 25 years together? Do I still have value as a person? Can I love myself without marking a wedding anniversary with a man?
In the exploration, I noticed once again how complex loss and grief is and how the timing of feelings arrive as a clue to something that is deeper.
I noticed as the day went on that other memories began to dissipate the feelings of sadness. After my first marriage ended in divorce, I didn’t want to get married again. I was interested in partnership and I wanted to have another child, but I was disillusioned by the ceremony and vows that flew out the window when things got tough in my first marriage. I only married my second husband for the practicality of health insurance for our baby. I loved him. I was committed to our relationship and I wanted this union. I agreed to marry him with the condition that we would write our own vows and continue to use them as a tool to stay connected and grow together. He agreed and we did use them for fifteen years.
Every year when our anniversary rolled around, one of us would remember days later. We debated the actual date because we were married the day after Thanksgiving. So, of course, the date was always changing! Neither of us were really “anniversary type” people. Celebrating moments of connection throughout the year was more important to us and we had daily rituals to remind each other.
This week I continued to feel the feelings and to remember.
After a lifetime of processing and studying grief transformation, there is one piece of advice I would give to everyone. When you feel a wave of grief, no matter how many years have passed, give yourself some space to feel the feelings and explore.
By the end of the day, I was clear that partnership with a man is a part of my growth on the planet. Part of the sadness around the anniversary was reminding me of a desire to be in some kind of partnership. I miss having a man in my bed. Pillow talk, sex, cuddling. I can feel that it is time for deeper exploration around that and to turn up my desire by taking more action.
A course I have been teaching called Carving the Next Path is opening me to what I truly desire to create. Walking side by side with the women in the course one of my desires is to co-create a new type of relationship with a man. Changing patterns. Embracing new ideas. Getting to the core of what I really want. Creating new pathways of possibilities.
Feelings, including grief and loss are clues that point us in the direction of our desires. I am stoking this fire.
What are you noticing in your life?
Feelings, desires. infinite possibilities. Surrender.
Share with us in the comments!
Andrea Hylen believes in the power of our voices to usher in a new world. She is the founder of Heal My Voice, an organization that inspires women and men to heal a story, reclaim personal power and step into greater leadership. Andrea discovered her unique gifts while parenting three daughters and learning to live life fully after the deaths of her brother, son and husband. In addition to serving as Heal My Voice’s Executive Director, Andrea is an Orgasmic Meditation Teacher and Sexuality Coach.
She is following her intuition as she collaborates with women and men in organizations and travels around the world speaking, teaching and leading workshops. Her passion is authentically living life and supporting others in doing the same. To connect with Andrea and learn about current projects go to: www.andreahylen.com and www.healmyvoice.org.