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.
Last night I chatted with a friend in Canada. She said she feels guilty that she isn’t doing more to help during this pandemic. She sees news stories about chefs feeding thousands of people, musicians creating online concerts for charity, or people working tirelessly at food banks, not to mention healthcare workers. Interestingly, I’ve had this same conversation with two other friends—all of us feeling guilty that we haven’t done more, that we haven’t stepped into the fire, and that we can pay our mortgages and food bills. I’ve donated to two food banks along with my regular charitable donations; I wear a mask and social distance; I’ve purchased groceries for an older friend; I sit on the phone with my older neighbor who lost his wife recently. But somehow, that doesn’t seem enough. It seems like I should be delivering groceries to strangers or dancing down the street to entertain my neighbors (if you know me, you know that’s not my personality at all). Or . . . I don’t know what. With type I diabetes, I’m technically in the high-risk category, so I try to limit my exposure. But, I still feel guilty, along with at least three of my friends.
Feeling Left Behind: Permission to Grieve
I also had a stranger show great compassion. When my house caught on fire, the firefighters released asbestos from my ceiling. My house became a hazmat zone, and I had to have asbestos abatement in my whole house. One day, I put on a hazmat suit as I was required to do, and I went into my house while the asbestos removal people were there. There was a young man who was cleaning my house. I told him my husband had passed away. A few weeks later, I once again showed up at my house, and a card in an envelope waited for me. He and his girlfriend left me a beautiful note saying how sorry they were for everything I was going through. Inside, there was a gift certificate for a massage. His girlfriend was a hairdresser so also told me I could come in to get my hair colored or cut. These are two young people who couldn’t be earning much money, yet they showed me great kindness. Of course, I sobbed when I opened the card because I was so touched that people cared. I hope they have a special place in heaven someday.