Relating to those around and not

Why not talk to your lost loved one? Or why talk to your lost loved one? And talk to others about talking to your lost person?

Really?  It might make everyone uncomfortable. True. And it might reveal a great many insights and relieve tremendous stress.  So, I say: Go Ahead!

Other widows may disagree. My beloved grandmother, for one, firmly insisted on repeating, "He is gone, and he is not coming back," to me, when I mentioned imagining my dead husband. I wasn't delusional. I knew he was gone. I knew he wasn't coming back. But I had children to raise and finances to manage and new people

entering my life, and I desperately needed to speak with him!

My grandmother's response of, "He is gone!" shut down my attempt at speaking to her about very important parts of my grief and loss. I wanted to talk to another widow about two important things: first, an an on-going connection to a dead person, and second, the need to process life challenges with my life partner. 

Despite what my grandmother said, I persisted in following my instinct to think about issues as if I was talking with my dead spouse, and sometimes that meant talking to him. I realized that it was me, not him, responding to my questions. It was me, not him deciding what he might say or do. It was painful, but helpful. It was a relief, somehow. I could know all of this without pretending to speak with him, but sometimes acting something out helps one to see the details that are otherwise missed. That is one benefit of having a partner, isn't it? Getting additional perspective? I felt less overwhelmed by the decisions I was contemplating. I broke them down the way I would have before he died. It made it easier for me.

Additionally, I gave myself time to consider the act of talking to him in his absence, and to consider my grandmothers insistence that I realize he is gone. I turned things around and over in my mond. What if I was gone? If he talked to me after I was dead? I liked the idea. Not because I would know or could answer, but because it would be a continuation of me through him, and a continuation of our relationship. We all live on in the minds of the people who love us, I guess. It is an amazing part of being human. Even when we disappear from the presence of another human, we are not always gone. For better or for worse, I guess. The realization that instead of having him, alive and with me, I had him, my dead husband, to carry with me and to remember, was a bit soothing. Something of the relationship remained. No doubt. I had not lost everything.

Children are no different than adults when it comes to believing/imagining that someone can still hear, after death. Children might be able to talk to you about what they miss and need, if you ask them to tell you about their conversations with the people they miss (whether dead, divorced, missing, absent, in prison, whatever). A child, like a spouse, will always have a relationship with the parent who dies. Whether young or old when the death occurs, the relationship persists.

I wrote this around Valentines' Day. Having a Happy Valentine’s Day when you are grieving a loss or missing a person can be a big challenge. I hope you can feel some comfort in remembering your loved one(s) and the love you shared.