Waiting…

As I listen and feel my heart beating, I remember what it felt like to beat in tandem with my spouse. It was an amazing physical, emotional and spiritual experience that I sorely miss.

I miss it especially when I am anxiously waiting in a state of fear. When I could wait with my spouse, I was in a completely different internal energy state. We were in life together; two separate lives intertwined. Waiting with someone who loves your essence is a much easier way to survive terror. Shared fear is like surviving a war with your unit.

As I wait in a fear state now, it feels like I am staring into the eyes of uncertainty.

The feeling of being unconnected while waiting in fear, is as close to what I would imagine insanity feels like. Insanity feels like having no control over anything. The most alone abyss one can visualize on any level is waiting for a diagnosis, waiting to heal, waiting…

The loneliness after the death of the person who has defined life as you know it, can be so imobilizing that your own body begins to fail you. Now you have their absence, and your literal functioning, health, and well-being at stake. This is why attending to your own health, both mental and physical, after this kind of death is imperative to life.

This is easier said than done. Having worked with countless people in this shock-loss state, and having experienced it myself, helps me understand that the emptiness of being isolated overtakes the ability for self-care.

“When will this pain end?” This is the hands-down first question asked. The answer: It Depends. What a horrifying answer to get. It depends on what?

On who the person was to you…

On what the person meant to you…

On the duration of your relationship…

On how severely you watched this person suffer…

On the amount of caregiving that was involved, and the aftermath of that caregiving on you…

Need I go on? It just depends.

Tolerating your feelings through the pain without numbing, albeit terrifying, will lead to much less isolation. This in turn, leads to a healing of the soul and feeling your nervous system again.

So, when the question is, “How long does this pain last?” The real answer is:  as long as I am numb or in a fog, the pain exists. When I am able to live in the vulnerability of loss and life-transition, relief will come. When you find yourself waiting in emptiness and fear, remind yourself that “what exists persists.”

About Jean Wolfe Powers, LMFT