by Jan McDaniel
A few years ago, I began to realize I needed to reconcile my old life (before my husband's suicide) with the new one I'm living now. I suppose there is a third time period that must be balanced in this equation, too, and that is the period of six years or more when he was ill and when our lives were changing radically.
The "before and after" effect. At first I had to wade through the tasks involved in letting go of his physical presence and of the life we shared … and then there was the process of surviving, healing. That was and is a lengthy process. But I'm finding there are more layers, more hurdles that come after that. No one tells you about those. And I don't think I want to try to live two lives separately anymore. That is too much to carry.
What do you do after you survive? To be fair, we are all different and must find out ourselves. But there are still tender places in each heart and life that need patching or evaluating for greater help. Is there a way to get support for that? How can the past integrate successfully into the present and future? How can I find balance?
With my husband gone, I find I rely on my sister's advice more and more. And I'm grateful to have her in my life. I'm grateful that she does want the best for me and that knowledge learned from her own life experiences can help me out. In fact, I'm grateful for the process that is reclaiming my life, creating a new me.
One thing I found is that I need to be honest with myself about where I am. I'm not where I'm going, and I'm not where I've been. I am no longer desperate for resting spots along the way. But there are questions and emotions that show me there are still problems to face. Some of these are deeply ingrained, hard to find.
But I do see that when I face those issues, they are not as insurmountable as they first seem. Maybe that is the key.
If you are searching for your new life or just for balance, try these journal prompts. There are no right or wrong answers. Isn't that nice?
Journal prompt: Who am I now? Who do I want to be?
Way for Hope
Losing someone you love is difficult, but it can mean a lot to hear from others traveling similar paths.
Links of Value:
Alliance of Hope for Suicide Loss Survivors
National Alliance on Mental Illness
Word of God
"My Story" Big Daddy Weave
"Hope in Front of Me"
The Joy FM
Traumatic loss or preexisting conditions can worsen mental health. Use this info graphic to find help.
"Take Charge of Your Mental Health" - a free download from www.nami.org: