I lost my husband Sid ten years ago. I have remarried and I am happy again. It was a long, hard struggle. But I feel like I managed to cross the minefield of grief and emerge as a better person.
I know I grew stronger by conquering my grief, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t bear the scars from the worst battle I have ever fought in my life. Grief is very hard work and even a decade after my loss, those emotional scars sometimes come to the surface and trigger an explosion of grief.
For someone who has never experienced losing a spouse, it is difficult to explain. On the outside it appears that you have totally moved on and everything is fine. Those of us who have experienced losing a spouse—or anyone we loved– know that is not true. Yes, we have learned to live with our loss and over the years we have found a new life. But still–we sometimes suffer from what I call aftermath.
Aftermath, in my opinion, is perfectly normal. But the pain is still very deep, particularly because it can often be unexpected. Grief, to me, is like a minefield that is full of painful explosions. At first they are everywhere and no matter where you step, you will hit one.
As time goes on the grief bombs are fewer and farther apart, but they are still there.
My husband Sid was a big NASCAR fan. He liked it when we snuggled on the couch and watched the race together. I have to admit I was bored to death seeing cars go in a circle, but he enjoyed telling me about each car and driver. I was glad he wanted to share that with me.
One night many years after his death I was at a dance club having a great time. The sound was down on a large television screen above the bar but I noticed a NASCAR race was being aired. Suddenly without warning I felt my self losing it.
I ran to the bathroom and cried harder than I had in a long time. Out of the blue it hit me. Sid and I would never watch another NASCAR race together again. Of course I knew that–and had for years. Still that unexpected grief aftermath hurt so much.
I have come to understand that aftermath is going to occur from time to time and there is nothing I can do about it. But it helps to know that it is okay–even after ten years. I think I prefer to look at it this way: Sid feels like every once in a while he has to reach out and let me know that he is still with me and always will be.
Updated: December 17, 2015