grief series

When you lose your soul mate, your world, as you knew it-stops.

In her book “A Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion describes her feeling of loss when her husband dies as falling into a vortex. Accompanying the Covid-19 pandemic, the passing of my husband after 56 years of togetherness translated to a ten month period of lockdown I label GRAY. It meant the loss of visitors, family, and friends as well. I painted dark pieces, directing irrational anger toward the entirely unknown as Freud called the work of grief.

 

For me, grief is a process of detracting oneself from a person that anchored me to life.

 

You feel a bit adrift in the mainstream of life. You share the death sentence. What follows are unpredictable waves of happy memories that cause your eyes to well up in tears. A romantic song, a family picture can send you down the rabbit hole again. The best chapter of your life has just ended. Your best friend-the person who brought out the best in you has left and is not coming back.

 

What follows are uncertainty about the future, and with Covid feeling like a level 5 tornado adding to the havoc, I could feel my heart cracking.

 

We don’t receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us, according to Marcel Proust.

 

So I painted my way out of grief. I felt black and blue, I felt the red of anger, and eventually I came to terms with the sun setting on that chapter of my life.

 

It does take a Year

Even though you saw it coming as you saw him declining gradually and gently.

God is good. He brought me a morning sky of bright pink and blue this morning.

I can paint brighter colors now.

 

Antonia Lowden

February 2021