My Experience of Grief

Grief: it’s personal and important and difficult. You have to be present and tough
and vulnerable all at the same time. It’s exhausting and draining and yet essential to
healing. I have been living with grief for 5 years now. My husband of 24 years
passed into the Spiritual World after suffering a massive heart attack in 2011.

The beginning was the worst for me. The shock was numbing and terrifying. The
fear: how was I going to do this thing called life without him? How was I going to
raise our children without a father? How could I be a dad as well as a mom, what
did this mean to me emotionally, physically and financially? Who was I if I wasn’t
a wife?

His death in those early days felt so overwhelming and permanent. It
seemed so unfair that at 45 I was left a widow and our children without a father. I
learned a lot in those first few years. I learned about anger and regret and shock and
loneliness and just when you think you can’t cry anymore, you realise you can. I
have learned that grieving is hard work, and that we all have the right to grieve in
our own way. There are no “should’s”.

In the beginning I struggled not to have expectations on people. Grief is scary, and some people will disappoint, not because they mean to, but because of fear or a lack of understanding, compassion or awareness. Many people don’t know what to say or do so they say and do nothing. This has been a difficult lesson to learn. Hopefully this tragedy has taught me to be more empathetic and compassionate to others, and not allow fear to stop me from reaching out to others in their hour of need.

Grief also allowed me to see how fortunate I am to live in my small church
community in Westville, surrounded by love, compassion and kindness. When
Michael died I didn’t have to cook a meal for 6 weeks; we received flowers, cards and
phone calls. I have learned that divine providence is an amazing thing and how the
Lord continues to guide us and provide for us even when it feels like He has
abandoned us. There are times when I am crying and I’m not sure if I’m crying
from our loss or from gratitude for being so loved and cared for. I grieve easily and
openly and I am so grateful to my friends and family who have shared our grief and
grieved with us.

I have also learned that grief is selfish and can become all consuming. I am trying to
remember that everyone is struggling with their own stuff. So my trick is to
surround myself with strong, beautiful women who can cry with me, encourage me
and love me. I allow myself a ‘pity party’ and then I put my ‘big girl panties’ on
and get out there and live life. My advice would be to find a job, a use, a purpose,
something to fill your day and keep you busy. Be kind to yourself and don’t allow
the evil spirits to destroy your happy memories. Sit with the pain and the grief,
allow yourself to experience it. The fastest way to heal is to feel. Don’t disguise it,
run from it or dull it.

My children gave me a journal that I started writing to Michael on a regular basis.
All my fears, my dreams, my worries, my blessings go into those ‘letters’ to him. I
look back at old posts and see my growth and progress and realise the Lord has very
gently led my out of a dark hole and into a light where I can see good again and
begin to feel hope. In the 5 years since Michael died I have married a daughter and
become a grandmother. The circle of life continues and I am blessed and grateful
to be a part of it.

About Carey Foord

My name is Carey Foord and I was born and raised in the New Church. I attended Kainon School, the New Church School in South African and have been an avid supporter of New Church Education all my life. I got married in 1987 to a dissatisfied Catholic boy named Michael and dragged him into the New Church. We raised both out children in the New Church where they attended Kainon School for their primary education. in 2011 at the age of 50 I lost Michael to a massive heart attack. It's been the greatest loss of my life and is something I still struggle to understand. I am currently working at New Church Westville in administration and it's a blessing o come to work everyday. My daughter Chelsea and her husband Chris are expecting their first baby so i am delighted to become a grandmother.

7 thoughts on “My Experience of Grief

  1. So beautiful, Carey. Thank you! As a newly-wed it is especially powerful to see such pictures of marriage and love and committment and faith and recognise the astounding beauty and strength in them. I have admired your grace and honesty with this process, even though most of my window into it has only been through facebook. My heart goes out to you, and it feels a privilege to have a deeper insight now into your journey with grief. Thanks again! And love!

    1. Thank you Tania. Enjoy the pre mommy stage. I’m enjoying watching your bump grow. Was fantastic to have your mom and dad here.

  2. Carey, thank you for sharing your response to your grieving process with us. Cedric and I were so sad for you, your daughters and the Westville community when we learned of Michael’s too early passing. We send tender thoughts to you as you continue to learn to live with your temporary separation from Michael.

    1. Thank you Janice. Derrick was a great source of comfort to me in those early days. I will always be grateful for his love and support.

    2. Thank you Janice. Derrick was a great source of comfort to me in those early days. I will always be grateful for the love and support he gave me.

  3. What a beautiful article. I’m so sorry you had to deal with your husband’s passing so early. I love the way you surround yourself with beautiful strong women who you can cry with and who encourage you to cry it out and then go out and be the strong woman you are. That’s beautiful. I have a group of women in my life who do the same for me and I hope everyone has people out there like that. Loved the feeling in this article. You are a strong woman Carey. Thank you for this article.

  4. Thank you so much for bearing your heart and sharing your wisdom with us, Carey. My heart goes out to you. I was just relating this to my husband, recognising that you were only a few years older than me when your husband passed away; that’s a sobering thought. ….We just never know, do we? Thank you for your insights, which only someone who’s been there can give. I’m so glad that you have such a supportive network helping through the healing process. May your journey continue in peace….

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