Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.
Ava sat on the sofa in her counselor’s office, waiting for her to finish the paperwork that had to be filled out for every client, every visit. She tried to compose herself as she waited, but the tears were impossible to conceal. She didn’t understand how she could cry so much and still have any tears to shed.
“Okay, Ava, let’s talk. How was your week? Any better?”
“It was about the same. Tell me, please, that I’m not going to be crying like this for the rest of my life.”
Anne considered for a moment, not wanting to say the wrong thing. It was always difficult when someone was grieving such a deep loss. Anne did everything she could to avoid cliches like “Well, you just need to move on now, and put all this behind you.”
“Ava, I’m not going to make you any promises. You will continue to shed tears for a while, but I can tell you from experience with other clients that it DOES get better as time passes. You know I hate cliches, but the one that says time heals is true. You’re in the early stages of your loss.”
“But I can’t THINK! All I can do is cry, and my friends and family are starting to hint that I need to stop it now. And that just makes me cry more. I have to go hide in my room, or get in the car and drive somewhere I can be alone. Is this normal?”
“Oh, my goodness YES! It’s completely normal, and don’t let anyone tell you anything different. Anyone who has lost a beloved spouse knows that the tears don’t stop for a very long time. Again, in my counseling experience, the deep grieving can last as long as two or three years. And sometimes, the second year can be even harder because everyone else has gone back to everyday life, and the grieving person’s life will never be the same.”
“I feel like a leper must have felt, being excluded from healthy society. It’s as if I have a sign around my neck that warns people I’m a mess. Some people I thought were my friends have drifted away from me. They just don’t know what to say to me any more.”
“Ava, when people don’t know what to say, they are uncomfortable and often will try to avoid the situation. Maybe you need to ask your friends, one at a time, for lunch or coffee and just be honest with them. Tell them what you need. Some will understand, others won’t.”
“But I don’t really know what I need! Well, yes I do. I need my husband to come back. I need him to hold me and reassure me that he won’t ever leave me alone. I’m so MAD at him for leaving me like this! And then I feel guilty for being mad. And then, of course, I cry.”
“Yes, and that’s normal, too. Ava, everyone grieves differently. There are no rules you have to follow. You will know when you are ready to face your day-to-day life again, and please don’t let anyone else impose their opinions on you about when that happens.”
“You know, lots of people told me how it would be when he died, but no one told me how it would be to wake up the next morning to an empty pillow beside me. No one told me how to live once he was gone. And people were great during the week after he died, the funeral and all that ordeal. But here it is only a month later, and everyone else’s life is back to normal. And I’m sitting alone in my house with too much quiet, no mess, no noise. Every day is another day of him being gone.”
And the tears flowed again while Anne sat quietly, letting Ava cry until she had not more tears to cry.
She even shed some tears of her own.