Hello dear one.
The last few weeks, I've been in a rather massive trial and error period. Personally and professionally, I'm watching and shifting, experimenting, moving things around, tracking results, changing things again. I'm honing my life, making it better by degrees. It's both exhausting and necessary.
And while most of my latest experimentation comes from a good solid ground, it wasn't always that way.
When I was first widowed, to be perfectly blunt, everything sucked. Friends and strangers would make suggestions about what I should do in order to make this "better." They'd say, "take care of yourself." They'd ask, "what was good in your day?" or "have you done anything fun for yourself lately?"
As one widowed friend wrote, "doing nice things for myself, or even cleaning the house - it's just rearranging my prison cell. I can polish all I want; it's not going to change the reality."
Experimenting with what helps and what doesn't help is delicate territory, especially in early grief. No amount of trial and error is going to fix what is foundationally irreparable.
I think the big distinction is whether you're trying different things in order to solve grief, or if you're trying to find things that bring you even the slightest bit of comfort. One approach tells you you're doing it wrong, the other says you are worthy of all the love and support that can possibly be found.
In grief, trial and error is less about making things better than it is about making things not feel worse. What you can do for yourself is notice: how do I feel after I see this person? Do I feel supported and centered, or crazy and exhausted? Are there times of day I feel calmer and more grounded? Are there certain books, or movies, or places that take the sharp edge off my mind, if only for a little while?
Micro-comparisons. Trial and error.
Looking for those things that make this worse, and heaving yourself in the opposite direction.
It's all a work in progress. If you find anything that feels less bad (in early grief) or eventually, even a little bit good (whenever that happens), aim for more of that.
This week, my readers, I wish you a whole week full of things that make life suck less. I wish you love that sidles up beside you, supporting you. Love that is fully evident, if even by small degrees.
As always, I love your questions and your comments. What things have you found that help you feel companioned, or comforted, in your grief? Remember, when you hit "reply" to this newsletter, your email comes right to me. I'd love to hear from you.
PS: Today is the last day to register for this round of the Writing Your Grief course. Writing with other grieving hearts definitely makes all of this suck less. Please join us. Register here.