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Article  // Grief, Healing, and Time

~By Deb Kosmer,
Deb Kosmer

Today someone I loved died. I can’t believe it. I don’t believe it. I won’t believe it. Family comes. Friends come. The phone keeps ringing. The doorbell rings again and again. The ringing seems far away. I hear it, but I seem unable to answer. My legs won’t move. My feet won’t move. I am glued to the chair. Others answer for me. They seem to know I don’t remember how.

Tomorrow comes. I didn’t want it to ever come. I wanted to go back to the time before you died. There, I said it. You died. Does that make it true? There must be some mistake, I tell myself. Maybe this is just a bad dream. If only someone would wake me up. When people ask me what they can do for me, I try to tell them the only thing I want is you. They look sad, they gently shake their heads, they hug me, and still you’re not here.

Your funeral is over. Everyone says I did so well. I hardly cried. Don’t they see I can’t cry, not yet. “She is in shock,” I hear someone else say. “Give her time, that’s all she needs.” I wonder, Can it really be that simple? If it is, I just want to run through time, however much time it takes to get to the place where I don’t hurt so bad, don’t miss you so much. But no, I can’t do that. Even if I could, I would only be farther from you. My heart cannot bear that.

Days pass. Tomorrow will be one month since you died, I wonder how I can just skip that day. I am afraid of it; of reliving every single detail of your death, knowing that one month ago you were here with me, and my world was okay. Now I have no world. Everyone keeps telling me that I just need to make a new world. But I liked my old one. I never asked to have it taken from me. Even if I wanted to, I don’t know how to start over. I don’t know where the beginning of that world is, or how to get there. Everything is so hard and makes me so tired. I just want to stay in bed.

Days pass and turn into weeks. I am stuck in a world foreign to me, wondering where you are and how you could have left me.

I force myself to go through the motions of living and caring for others. They don’t seem to notice It’s just pretend and I am the star of the hardest role of my life. If only they had just an inkling of the place I am in – of my fractured and broken heart.

I never used to read the obituaries. Now I feel compelled to do so. I feel like a kindred spirit to others who must also travel the road I am on. I still feel so alone. Now they will feel alone too. I feel like I should say something to them, but I do not know them; I only know their pain.

Months continue to pass. I am back at work, back in church, getting my hair done. It all still seems strange, different, and doesn’t matter like it used to. Friends call. Sometimes I say, “Yes, I will go to dinner.” Other times, I say, “Thanks for calling, but not today.” Many days it is still easier to just be alone where I don’t have to hide my tears when they come, where I can talk to you and not feel strange, where I can just be however I am that day, and not try to fit into the place others have carved out for me.

Finally, one day I surprise myself. I am humming a tune. For a little while, I feel lighter. I almost smile. I begin to judge myself. What’s the matter with me? How can I be even a little happy when you’re not here? But then I hear your voice in my head, or is it in my heart – the place where you live, saying you’re glad that I am humming, glad I can smile, encouraging me to live again. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry, so I do both. But later that day I find myself humming again, and I smile, knowing that I am going to be okay.



Season of lights, season of love and peace
Season of shadow, season of memories
Season of warmth and joy, season of secret tears.
Give us the courage to laugh again
Give us the vision to hope again
Give us the power to love again
For all new seasons
And all our new years.

~ Sascha Wagner