I regularly check the breaking science news feed provided by a site known as Eureka Alert. I have checked it daily since Kevin was diagnosed with lung cancer. I was always looking, searching for that miracle that would save him, put him into remission. There are always ‘breakthroughs’ with respect to cancer. The volume of research is very, very real; there are many people searching for the answer. As we all know, though, time is very much the enemy for those who have the disease.
Recently the news feed published an article released by Arizona State University. It considered ‘resilience’ after suffering a major stress in one’s life. The article’s findings contradicted popular thought about how quickly and capably a person ‘bounces’ back after suffering a significant loss. I was relieved when I read this. Since Kevin died I have compared myself to the few women I know that have lost a spouse and found myself lacking. They seem to be adapting better – mind you, I only see the public facing side, what they want me to see. Who knows what happens behind closed doors?
I’m still very sad. Going into this week I am very emotional. A year ago today I still had my husband. He was still talking, not a lot, his neck hurt, but he was still here and consequently hope was still alive. I think about him daily. I see a black Jeep and it makes me cry, for so many years Kevin booted around town in his little “jeepie-jeep.” I’m missing him very much right now and combing through the pictures we have, listening to his voice on the tapes, on my cellphone. I’m doing all this wondering if there’s something wrong with me. So, it was a relief to read that grief research is ongoing too, and that maybe we don’t have it quite right, maybe resilience isn’t the norm.
It’s a good article, and not solely about death, but also about any significant life stress. I take what I want from it; others may find other things of value in it. An excerpt from the news release speaks to my particular mindset:
“We show that contrary to an extensive body of research, when individuals are confronted with major life stressors, such as spousal loss, divorce or unemployment, they are likely to show substantial declines in well-being and these declines can linger for several years. … Previous research largely claimed that individuals are typically resilient to major life stressors. Whereas when we test these assumptions more thoroughly, we find that most individuals are deeply affected and it can take several years for them to recover and get back to previous levels of functioning.” (Natural resilience to major life stressors is not as common as thought – March 18, 2016, Eureka Alert)
I will just keep plodding along in my own muddled way and not worry quite so much about hitting milestones that are arbitrarily set by a community of thought that is actually quite divided.