Monday, October 17, 2011

The Seasons of My Grief

By Kate Collins

When I woke up this morning, I realized that it’s spring at my house. And yes, I do live in the northern hemisphere. Crazy, right? Let me explain.

My autumn started over a year ago, on the three days of my husband’s heart attack and death. Within the span of 72 hours, the leaves on my trees withered and fell. The grass browned. Dark clouds of grief, abandonment and fear blotted out the sun. In my world, it rained every day. 

Then winter came, a long brutally cold season that I could not seem to escape. Depressed, frightened, with too many new responsibilities and a deadline looming, I moved through my wedding anniversary, birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter in a stupor. I functioned. I smiled. I made conversation. I wrote. I was robotic. And I was suffering from undiagnosed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. 

Through family, friends, and divine guidance, I got help for PTSD, which was caused in part by shock and grief, but in a larger part by not expressing my grief. I learned the hard way that if you don’t let it out, it will seek its own way, and that may be extremely detrimental to a person’s physical or emotional well being.

Through grief counseling and The Healing Touch therapy, I now deal with my grief. I cry until I hurt, but I also give myself permission to laugh, to enjoy time with friends, to travel and to experience new things that at first felt wrong to do without my husband at my side.

That brings me to spring.

I realized three days ago that my new book TO CATCH A LEAF, is to be released on my wedding anniversary, November 1st.  I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me earlier, but the epiphany left me feeling joyous, as though my husband will be celebrating yet another milestone with me. He was there for the first book I ever published. He’ll be here for this one, too.

It’s starting to look green at my house once again. Spring bulbs are sprouting. Trees are budding. No, not actually. Just in my heart. I can look back at my years with my husband as a magical time, full of adventure and laughter and passion, without as much pain and with much more joy than before.

It’s still very, very difficult, make no mistake. I’ll never be able to think of our beautiful years together without that sharp ache inside. I will never stop missing his physical presence. But I feel his spirit with me every day. And now I can even look forward to summer again.

On November 1st, please join me in raising a cyber glass to healing grief in whomever or wherever it may be found. I’ll be raising one to my husband and to my new book. 

Thanks for sticking with me this past year. I promise you will really enjoy the new Abby Knight mystery.