To Have You Back; There's Nothing I Wouldn't Do
I wrote this heart wrenching poem after my husband, Joseph's, passing. I was later told it reflects the bargaining stage of grief. Seven years later, I have updated my poem with an article at the end describing my own process through the seven stages of grieving in hopes it may help someone else, perhaps you.
The Poem, "There's Nothing I Wouldn't Do
To have you back my best friend
there’s nothing I wouldn't do
I’d swim in Lake Michigan from Saugatuck to St. Joe
or run a hundred miles in the chilling snow
I’d even scrub the pie factory single handedly
or paint every shed on the property
I'd make every effort to keep up with the lawn
even if it took me from dusk until dawn
I’d do it all if it gave me the chance
to have you back, at least, another glance
After your work shifts long past midnight
I'd wake from my sleep to kiss you on sight
No matter how sleepy, I’d prepare you a meal
you could smoke in the house if that's what you feel
I wouldn't mind when you brought home silly gadgets
we could make room on a shelf or even a closet
It would all be worth it as long as it meant
I could have you in my life for another precious moment
I would give up anything upon God's request
even if he asked for the home we've been blessed
including our lovely garden we both toiled faithfully
nothing material has more value than you, Baby
I’d give away everything I own for free
to have you put your strong arms around me
or see you walk in the house and say, “What’s goin on?”
and flash that beautiful smile for me to gaze upon
My dearest husband,
Oh, how I've learned the only thing that matters is love
since the day you began guiding us from up above
We struggled and built our lives which took years to achieve
and now I must rebuild my life, solitarily
It’s not going to be easy, but I have the will
you've given me the strength to prevail
. . . to prevail
Because of you
I’m a better me
and you'll ALWAYS be that part of me
Until we meet someday in the heavens
promise to take care of all of your blessings
And when that day comes, my best friend
. . . my best friend
I will sing with joy to see you then
cause you and I will be together again
. . . together again
Hard to believe it's been seven years since I wrote this poem after my husband had passed into spirit. I had meant every word of it as my world had been turned upside down. Today, I'm happy to tell you I have settled into a new life and feel the need to help somebody else who may be grieving. I'm sure you've all heard before how "time" is the biggest healer. I agree. I can now say that I don't cry like I did in the beginning, and that was a lot. But just the other day, I saw a movie that reminded me of the last days of my husband's passing from cancer which surprised me with a bout of tears that felt as raw as that first year. It's true what they say, you learn to live without them, but you never get over them!
I'd like to share some things that helped me through those first years and soothed my hurting heart. First, those of you grieving need information. Aside from seeking a grief counselor, this can be accomplished by learning the seven stages of grieving which lets you know what to expect and that you're not going crazy! Below, I have listed the seven stages along with my own personal experiences how I got through each stage. You should know that the stages don't necessarily occur in a linear fashion, but rather more randomly looping back and forth; or like circling around a winding road on a mountain top. Also, remember your situation is unique from anyone else, no two tragedies are alike!
SHOCK & DENIAL
Numbed disbelief; reality may be too painful to face. Shock is a way to protect us from being overwhelmed all at once. It can last for weeks, months or even years.
I remember the first words out of my mouth toward our youngest son having watched our loved one take his last breath, "I don't believe it, I don't believe it", I said over and over. Sometimes, even after seven years, I still don't believe it. I hardly slept that night and got up on a chilly November morning and sat outside falling in and out of tears. I said out loud, "Where are you?" Just then, a swarm of blue jays swept across the tree top canopy and a squirrel threw down a pine cone that landed right next to me. Then it started squawking which reminded me of the way he used to impersonated Donald Duck. Somehow, I trusted my sense of intuition was telling me he was the instigator of all this letting me know he was close by in spirit! Anyway, I got through those first couple days with the support of close family and friends. I also just let the tears flow. Tears are God's gift to cleanse our souls. Damming up the pain can cause serious emotional damage down the road.
PAIN & GUILT
Suffering and unbelievable pain replaces shock and denial. The amount of grief you feel is equal to the love you shared. Never let anyone tell you how much to grieve or that there is a limited time you should do it. Also, it's normal to feel guilt wondering if there was something you could have done differently or maybe you regret the last words you spoke to your loved one.
I remember going over in my mind, and over again, the last days and moments of Joseph's life. I have since learned that this is very typical. But one way I got through the pain was by letting the tears flow when they crept in. I cried, and cried some more! I went for walks. I spoke out loud to him hoping his spirit heard me. I told him how sorry I was. I told him I loved him. I spent time in nature. We planted a tree in his honor. With my grown up son's, we visited the town he grew up in and his former closest school mates. I talked with our sons about him as often as possible. I read books about grieving. I wrote poems. I prayed for my healing and for our sons.
ANGER AND BARGAINING
Anger can result from the feeling of powerlessness and frustration over our loss. We can be angry with our loved one for leaving us or we can be angry with ourselves or even God for letting it happen. We might ask the question "Why". Why did this happen? Why weren't my prayers answered? Bargaining is a way of railing against the powers that be ("I will never drink again if you just bring her back").
My poem is an example of bargaining. Having written it down and publishing it on Hubpages had a huge healing effect. It somehow relieved me of some guilt I was feeling too. The response I received from it was so touching and very healing knowing others understood. I can't say I experienced the anger that others do, but clearly understand. This should be kept in check so that you don't lash out and lay unwarranted blame you'll later regret.
DEPRESSION, LONELINESS, REFLECTION
A long period of sadness and reflection will likely settle in. This is a normal stage of grief so don't let well-meaning others talk you out of it. It's a time of sensitivity, emptiness and despair. You deeply feel the magnitude of you loss.
I remember this time in my life well. I wondered if I was always going to feel this way. Memories poured in which made me feel sad. This is when I started a journal and wrote all the things I appreciated about my husband. I wrote out some lists of the funnest times we shared. I put the struggles we ever had aside and realized they were part of our growth. I wore his clothing sometimes to feel closer to him. I walked a lot and got in touch with nature. I spent a lot of time alone. I practiced silent moments of reflection and learned about meditation. And, of course, I cried. In the process, I began to believe stronger and stronger his spirit was close to me leaving signs and symbols of his loving presence. A friend put me in touch with a psychic medium which confirmed my intuition was right, he was watching over me and relayed a few messages! It was so comforting and I'll never forget it!
THE UPWARD TURN
This stage is when your emotions have calmed and you start to adjust to your loved one's absence.
This happened for me around fifteen months after my husband, Joseph's, passing. I had stopped having regular bouts of deep gut crying. I had begun a new job, some new hobbies and was getting back into more activities in general. I started some deep personal soul searching at this stage. I was especially interested in what happens when we die and a "knowingness" filled my being that we don't ever really die. We just change. Suddenly, it was as if information about what happens when we leave our Earthly lives was dropping out of the sky and into my lap to discover. It was there all along, I just hadn't been ready to see it. Maybe that was the plan all along and the deep pain I felt from my husband's passing was the catalyst. It reassured me that my husband was in a happier lighter place and his life and work continued there.
RECONSTRUCTION & WORKING THROUGH
Your mind starts working again, you become more functional and begin concentrating on the more practical matters of life.
If I had to describe this stage in one word, for me, it would have to be "spirituality"! This has become center stage in my life as I've truly learned (and not just given lip service to) the fact that we are three part beings, body, mind and spirit. I was first influenced by Neale Donald Walsch's book, Conversations with God; along with too many more other influences to mention. I have grown in this area immensely and have allowed life to flow, to let it happen like riding the waves of the sea. It has helped me release many of the fears I felt in the beginning, like finances for example. My diet is better to nourish my body, and in keeping a healthy expansion of my mind, for one, I have written a novel. I have also delved back into photography which I had put aside when my husband was alive. I have revamped our landscape as well as the three main living areas of our home. I believe I have received much of my strength and inspiration to accomplish all this from Joseph's spirit and God's angels. As far as developing a new relationship partner, I am perfectly happy being single and trust if its supposed to happen, it will. I haven't yet worked that out. It's still difficult to imagine being with anyone other than Joseph.
HOPE AND ACCEPTANCE
Even though your life will never be the same, you have grown and are moving forward. It doesn't mean you will never feel sad over your loss or that your memories will fade, but the wrenching pain will recede. You have accepted your life still has purpose and there are others who still need you. You start to plan things and look forward to the future.
I do look forward to the future and for the first time want to make plans to visit people I haven't seen in a long time and maybe take a trip, perhaps even a cruise. I also think about how my son's need me which keeps me strong. One of the messages that had come through from my husband was "Everything Will Be Okay". I now believe that from the bottom of my heart. Whenever I feel any doubts, I come back to that message every time! I am so thankful for it and for him, forevermore!