Art, grief and grieving, Leslie Robinson Sharp, Life

Staggering through the Holidays

Christmas 2012
Christmas 2012

It’s coming up on six months now since I lost my wife. For some reason I thought I’d be through the worst of the grief by this time but I realize now that I’m just getting started. I wouldn’t say that there is any progression in what I’m going through. Some days I feel pretty much OK but most days I feel lost. Everyone says that the holidays are particularly hard to grieve through. I wouldn’t say that I feel noticeably worse now because of the time of year. It’s different all the time. Sometimes I’m feeling the loss of being in a relationship and living in the context of someone else. Other times I miss Leslie personally, her physical presence and personality. Sometimes it’s just hard to be alone.

I think the bottom line for me at the moment is feeling without bearings. My Buddhist readings indicate that this may be the natural state of life. Bearings are invented. In truth there is no up or down. Those are decisions we make. I try to embrace not having bearings and let that experience flow over me while it lasts. I expect that eventually I’ll choose an ‘up’ but I hope I can still keep a part of this experience in mind.

This is by far the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through. I can not control it. It pushes me around and takes me to places without my consent  and without warning. There are other people in my life who are suffering and I feel that I’m letting them down for not providing more comfort to them. I titled this post ‘staggering’ because I’m afraid that sometimes I may have crashed into loved ones who were trying to help or who needed help and I regret that. I worry about it and roll it over in my mind but always come back to that I’m doing the best I can.

I have had some experiences of Leslie, sometimes in dreams and occasionally in daydreams. I read recently, from an internet psychic, that sometimes the departed communicate with loved ones by ringing in their ears. I’ve had tinnitus since Les died and, although I don’t put much stock in internet psychics, it feels good to let that be true for me. When I notice the ringing, it takes me away with her a bit and I like that.

A happy moment from last year. Les had two shirts made with the words “Luminous essence is all. All is luminous essence” and she wore them every day of her last weeks at home.

I don’t want to paint an overly bleak picture of my life. I am very fortunate to have close friends and family and two beautiful daughters I adore. I’m grateful for all the extremely happy holidays I shared with Les and for the many comforts I enjoy. Although I’m sad a lot of the time, I’m also happy in many ways. I have the luxury of being able to cherish my memories of Les and to share them with my daughters and others who love her.


I wish everyone Happy Holidays and hope the memories you create now will sustain you when hard times come.

16 thoughts on “Staggering through the Holidays”

  1. Bill, your paintings are beautiful, and you are such a wonderfully talented writer. I understood everything you said because you said it so well.


  2. A nice post. My mom said it took two years before she could start feeling ‘normal’ at time after my dad died.


  3. Keep busy and occupied, even if you don’t feel like it. I got a dog and it forced me to go for walks and interact with other people outdoors. Best thing I could have done. It’s a struggle to lose your life partner, but you have to move on with a “new normal”. It’s been 9 years since my loss, and I’m thankful for the 47 years that I had with my spouse….. some people never have that.


  4. I wish peace and happiness for your and your family. What a lovely tribute to your loving Wife. Yes, time does change everything, and there are seasons to our lives. Being human is not easy! I love your blog and your painting. Just keep painting and living!


  5. Hello Bill! It’s nice to know that there are actually couples who enjoy each other’s company; sometimes I think that doesn’t exist…I guess I’ve never been lucky enough to have someone that I loved want to be with me forever. Enjoy the ringing in your ears…Merry Christmas!


  6. i am so sorry for your loss, bill. life is fluid. a series of ebbs and flows, it is hard to miss someone that you connected with so closely. you have many gifts, but it is still a loss to the heart and to the soul when someone you love leaves your world of everyday. may you find your balance restored when you are ready. let the feelings roll over and into you in the meantime. peace, beth


  7. Hi Bill, I am so sorry for your loss. Have you read “A Kiss Before You Go” by Danny Gregory. Danny also lost his wife. I’m not familiar with your work, but Danny drew his way through his grief in his journals. Possible for you, too? Take care!


  8. Bill,
    I just read your last entry by chance. Very sorry about your recent loss. I find that painting helps for me to deal with everything – the happiest moments and the darkest ones as well. I think it will see you through.


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