The Anticipation Factor

“In the beginning, people would attempt to console me with,”Oh, but at least you have such wonderful memories of your time together,” and I’d want to clock them for saying it.  Didn’t they understand? Memories hurt.  They are powerful and painful to recall.  Memories sting, they taunt, they tease, they torture, they remind me over and over: You’ll never do that again, at least not with Jim.

In the beginning, I found it so painful to even think about our good times together that I completely blocked them out — a defense mechanism, a protective device to keep me from having a meltdown.  In time, I was able to recall them, but a heavy sadness would come over me and linger.

There’s nothing to look forward to.  Nothing but a big, fat, empty, lonely future.

It was in this frame of mind that I stumbled upon one of the keys to getting through the nightmare:  finding something to look forward to.  Without it, life seemed overwhelmingly empty with no end in sight.  It was the anticipation factor that was missing.  It was having something concrete — big or small — to look ahead to and wish for it to come faster.

Jennifer Sands/A TEMPERED FAITH

3 responses

  1. How do you find something to look forward to? Everything coming up in my life, my kids marrying, grandchildren, all will happen without Michael. We talked so much about our lives when we were alone again, how much we love just being together, working on our beloved old house, day trips and maybe longer travel. How do I possibly look forward to anything? How do you do it, Candy?

    Carol

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  2. Hi Carol. I talk about that in my post “Reality Bricks” this morning. I decided to put together a collage of my husband’s life for myself and for my 4 daughters. I didn’t want our grandchildren to ever forget their “Pa” as they lovingly called him. Going through all of the photographs of Bob’s life was a grief trigger for me for sure and painful because we were married for over 36 years and planned to grow old together. I sent a certain amount of photographs off to a company that does this kind of work and the end product was a beautiful tribute to Bob’s life and our lives together. It was awhile before I could bear to put it up on the wall of my home, but now it comforts me whenever I look at it.

    Another thing I do to find something to look forward to is to go out of town every few months as I can. The first time I went just a short distance to a Bed and Breakfast by myself. I had never gone anywhere alone in my entire life and just needed to prove to myself that I could do it. The second time my cousin flew in to be with me and we drove 5 1/2 hours to visit my best friend for a few days. Another time I flew out to Kansas City to help my daughter with her new baby. I have gone to Texas to visit family relatives.

    I just HAVE to have something to look forward to in order to continue through my grief journey. Otherwise I sit here in my home and everything looks endlessly hopeless. I hope my answers help, Carol.

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