Grieving those alive

I know about grief – at least, I thought I did.

For several years I worked in a level one trauma unit – which means that when a hospital couldn’t care for a patient because they were too ‘broken’, they sent them to us to put back together.

We cared for the sickest of the sick. We handled the bloodiest, most mangled (sometimes literal) train wrecks you’d see. It was a spectacular, awe-inspiring experience to partake in a workplace where I saved a life of one that was previously deemed unable to save.

There was a cost of working in such an environment- loss. Witnessing the cross-over from life to death and the toll of grief it took on others, and myself.

In my years on the unit, I transported more bodies to the morgue than I could count. Of course, at the time, I shoved those thoughts and emotions of witnessed and perceived grief and loss of others neatly into a box. Then I duct-taped that sucker shut.

I couldn’t allow myself to process these things in the moment, otherwise I would have never been able to go from dropping off one body to the morgue, to saving the next trauma already waiting in the same bed upstairs. It was a survival mechanism – “boxing”.

But the grief always comes, even if it doesn’t show up as the face of sadness we envision. Even when we try to deny it, distracting ourselves with more work, more play, more whatever coping mechanism – it’s a form of pain, and that will not be denied.

Tougher than the grief of my own father’s death last year, (followed a month later by the death of his sister – who was like my grandmother), rougher still was the grief of someone that is still physically alive. The facade of the person and the relationship I grew to love is dead. It is no more. That’s a tough concept for me to succumb.

Not realizing this was what was happening earlier on has brought me some substantial setbacks in my recovery process. My rational brain knew that things would never be the same, but secondary to the hormones and shock that is going on initially, you don’t see the death part yet.

It has took me 242 days to come to this hard realization. I knew, but I didn’t. I’d been suffering some debilitating depression for the last couple of weeks – almost bed-bound the majority of it. I just couldn’t place my finger on what was different. I’d come to acceptance and forgiveness, but I’ve felt an almost inconsolable sadness.

Then it hit me. I’m grief stricken. Just like a physical death, this entails a death as well. My husband will never again be the same man in my eyes that he once was, nor will I be the same woman he once saw. Along with that is the illusion I had of our marriage – the death of what I thought I had.

It saddens me in a way that’s indescribable, but with it has come a rebirth. We know and appreciate that both of us are human in a world of sin and madness – with the devil constantly testing God’s children, who would love nothing more than to see a family split apart, yet here we still are today.

I’m still sad and somewhat depressed, but seeing it as the acceptance stage of grief is somewhat comforting. God loves me, in spite of the disgusting things I’ve done, and He will not allow pain without a rebirth of some kind, or growth at a minimum.

One thing is certain though – neither my husband, myself, or our relationship will be the same again..I hope.


For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us.” – Romans 8:18

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Life, Infidelity, and Thereafter

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