The grief that accompanies the loss of a loved one is crippling. In Feeling Left Behind, author Kim Murdock relates and empathizes with that pain because she’s been there. She knows what it feels like to be woefully blindsided by music or at the grocery store, to reconsider the future alone, and to connect with a person who is no longer alive. You will relate to her chapters as she describes:
● The crushing desire to freeze time and isolate yourself
● The unstable phase of “firsts”― first holidays, birthdays, anniversaries
● The anger and sadness at seeing other couples
● The loss of self, empathy, security, and tolerance
● The heartbreaking sadness of getting rid of their belongings
● And so much more
This is not a step-by-step guide on how to grieve. Kim outlines every detail of her experience as well as the experiences of her widow/widower friends to show you that you are not alone. You are normal. And you deserve as much time as possible to figure out how to survive in your own way.
Kim Murdock is a writer and editor who has made it her mission to help those dealing with the loss of a loved one, particularly a spouse. After becoming a widow at 42, she didn't want people to tell her how to heal or that everything happens for a reason. She just wanted to know that her feelings were normal. She spent almost three years working with a grief counselor and joined a young widows group, becoming good friends with many widows/widowers. Having these outlets to share her feelings and know she wasn't alone was really the only thing that helped her.
In gratitude to the widows and widowers who helped her, she decided to pay it forward and support others suffering a loss. In her award-winning book, Feeling Left Behind, she shares her experiences and feelings to help others know they aren't alone and that their feelings are normal. In a candid and heartfelt way, she expresses what many–maybe even most–grieving people feel and experience.
I love holiday traditions. Once I have an experience and like it, I repeat it until it becomes a tradition. My favorite is Christmas Eve dinner. Since I was a little girl, my family has gathered on Christmas Eve for dinner (now vegan) and playing games. We usually invite “orphans” with no place to go. I stuff my face and relish the games. When my husband died, I wanted to cancel this dinner, as it felt too painful without him. But my family wanted to continue the tradition. I now once again look forward to it every year. We used to attend the Denver Christmas parade, but I couldn’t continue that tradition without my husband. Obviously, other traditions I had with just my husband (e.g., drinking cider during tree decorating) are gone. But I’ve maintained the traditions I've had with my mom. One tradition is visiting a small mountain town, Georgetown, where we go each year. We purchase roasted chestnuts from a local nonprofit with a booth in the middle of the town’s quaint Christmas market. We also enjoy driving to Golden, another small town, to watch its annual Christmas parade. It’s a small-town parade where the kids throw candy, and Santa arrives on the fire truck. It’s not sophisticated, but it’s charming. I love our traditions!
Feeling Left Behind: Permission to Grieve
In my past, I was that person who loved Christmas. The song “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” was true for me. I spent the holiday season doing all the traditional festivities and enjoying every minute of it. My husband and I would go to the Christmas parade and sit in the grandstand seats, and I would squeal with joy when Santa and the floats cruised by me. We decorated the house with many Christmas decorations, including a Dickens village and a fresh, beautiful Christmas tree every year. Twice, we even went to the mountains to cut down our own Christmas tree. We had a Santa with reindeer on the lawn, a Santa by the front door, lights on the bushes, giant candy canes hanging from the tree, and toy soldiers leading up to the door. We used only dishes decorated with Christmas themes. We had Christmas sheets, a Christmas bath mat, and Christmas hand towels.