There are many ways to process the loss of a loved one.
On Friday the 13th, it will be my 12th widow-versary. In other words, 12 years ago, my husband, Brad, passed away.
Every widow-versary is different. Sometimes I completely forget about it. I feel victorious when that day comes and goes without much ado. And other years, I can feel it days or weeks in advance.
After someone passes away, you will likely have questions you want to ask them later. It's a natural and normal part of a loss.
I found some of Brad's emails and documents six months after he died. I read through them and am uncomfortable with what I learned. Some of what I learned created more questions than they answered. However, eventually, I made peace with it by telling myself that I didn't have the answers to it then, and it was possible someday I would, but for now, I needed to let it go and move forward. So, I did.
Last fall, I received some information about Brad. I didn't think much about it at that time.
Last month, I started having vivid nightmares about Brad a month before my widow-versary. After several nights with very little sleep, my hypothesis was that my subconscious was trying to process the information from last fall. My conscious mind knew the new information was shifting my narrative about Brad and my perspective about who I was when I was with him.
I am tired of being tired, so I chose to do a mourning ritual to help me bring my feelings up, process, and release them.
I started my ritual by writing a letter to Brad. My letter had everything that I wanted to say to him. It was honest, raw, and uncensored, and it went something like this:
I was surprised to learn that ______________(I am choosing not to disclose the issues. You know, it's a privacy thing.)
I admit _______(Here is where I list what happened and how I felt about it.)
Notice how I started my list with the phrase, "I admit..." When you can admit something to yourself, you are telling yourself the truth, and telling yourself the truth will set you free. The truth will set you free is a cliche, and the reason it is one is that it works.
After I finished my letter, I set it aside for a few days. That gave me time to add things that came to mind. During this time, I asked a trusted friend to hold the space for me while I read my letter aloud outside. When you 'hold the space' for someone, you listen to them without comments or judgments.
On a sunny day in January, I read my letter aloud outdoors and then burned it. In this case, I burned it in a Weber grill. Then, my friend and I hugged each other.
Now, I am sleeping better. I feel lighter and have a great sense of peace. In retrospect, I ignored how I felt about the new information about Brad. And it led to my discomfort. I am grateful that my mourning ritual helped me acknowledge my emotions, process them, and let them go, so I can have an uneventful widow-versary and continue moving forward with my life.
There are many ways to process loss, like me processing the loss of my husband, Brad, after I learned some new information about him. If you or someone you know is processing loss, consider a gift box filled with positive rituals, care, and love. Sometimes, the simple act of giving one of our gift boxes helps someone find a way of processing loss.
Thank you for reading,
Founder @ Robiins
Processing loss. One gift box at a time.™