published in Grief by Maryanne | November 22, 2011
Embracing Our Embarrassment
“I thank you for the acknowledgement of all those “crazy making” thinking parts of the journey…and thank you for putting them into the book.”
— R.K., A Widow’s Awakening reader
Several weeks ago, I recorded the audio version of my book, A Widow’s Awakening, in my sunroom. It was an interesting experience, telling the entire tale into a microphone while Colin, the audio technician, sat a few feet away listening carefully to every word.
Thankfully, Colin had read the book before our recording session. This came in handy when I got to the rather embarrassing passage about what I shall call my “Jesus Thought.” Have a listen:
When I finished reading the paragraph out loud, I leaned back and looked over at Colin.
“Well,” I said, “How did that sound?”
He smiled. “Awesome! When I first read that passage in your book, I thought to myself, ‘this lady is crazy’ — but in a good way! I mean you were so honest…it’s actually my favourite passage in the entire book.”
The truth is, however, writing that particular passage was the most challenging part for me. It was not the most emotionally-difficult part to write (that goes to spending the day with John in the ICU as he succumbed to brain injuries) but rather the part that required the most courage to write…and publish.
For it is one thing to share the circumstances of what happened — the facts — but it is quite another to share one’s psychological response to what happened. Frankly, for a very long time, I was embarrassed and ashamed of… well, that I went off the deep end“I could not put your book down. Even when my eyes were swollen shut from crying I continued to read. After 5 years my grief is still pretty raw but it comes in waves and tides. I had 18 months of counselling and did not come close to the comfort I got from your book. It was nice to hear someone else express the thoughts that I was thinking (i.e. Am I crazy? Is he still here somewhere? Does God really exist?). I think the hardest part for me since my husband’s death is that I feel like I am no longer connected to anyone or anything. Your book gave me hope. Thank you.” — B.C., A Widow’s Awakening reader
Although each person’s weird thoughts or “crazy-making” parts of the grieving process manifest themselves differently depending on one’s background, belief system, relationships, etc, the bottom line remains: when we are forced to accept the unacceptable, our minds will do whatever they have to, to survive.“I have been reading your book and I want to say thank you. It’s so beautiful and so real, that I can’t describe it. Like you, I lived it. The love of my life was killed at work when he fell while putting up rafters for a building. He was 52 and we had only been together for 5 ½ years. It’s been 11 years now and I still feel like he’s going to be around the next corner. I miss him so much and it still hurts. Your book is a wonderful gift. I treasure it and the knowledge that someone else felt and feels the same as I do. Somehow I don’t feel so alone. Thank you.”
— S.S., A Widow’s Awakening reader
I survived going off the deep end. And despite sounding like a bit of a loony-tune, I’m really glad I found the courage to write the truth about what I experienced on the downward dive — partly because it added some much- needed humour to an otherwise heart-wrenching story; partly because it is helping others realize that regardless of what they are thinking and feeling in their own journey through grief, they are not crazy or alone; and partly because there were reasons for my ever-so-weird “Jesus Thought” that warrant further discussion…so stay tuned
Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening. She is the Board Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund and the CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions Inc. The audio version of A Widow’s Awakening is being produced by WestVoice Audioworks and will be available in early 2012. Please visit www.pinkgazelle.com for details.