March 19th, 2011
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Someone you love has died.

Everything around you, people, conversations, situations, the Earth, even life itself, feels like it has suddenly stopped.

To me, this moment of  stillness is very similar to being in a car accident.  After the screeching brakes, the moment of impact, the shattering glass and the crush of metal hitting metal, there is an eerie silence; a tingling in your ears.

Your eyes see but what you see doesn’t look real; your ears hear but what is being said doesn’t make sense and you can’t seem to get your breath and breathe.  Nothing is computing and your brain is shutting down because you can’t seem to process what is happening.  You might even feel that you have separated from yourself and are outside of your body watching yourself from afar.

You immediately want to go backwards.  Take me back to an hour ago, take me back a half hour ago, take me back 5 minutes, take me back 1 minute.  I don’t care how far you take me back, I don’t want to be in the present time.  I remember looking out the window of my house the day after my husband died and I was really surprised to see people walking around and cars traveling up and down the street as if nothing had changed.  Everything outside appeared normal even though it wasn’t for me.

That is why the W.H. Auden poem resonates with so many people…”Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone…”  It might be tempting to follow your gut feeling while you are in the midst of new grief but I found myself most comforted when I reached out to people I trusted with my vulnerability.

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