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.
Words . . . they have the power to help us and hurt us. Sometimes, they confuse us. Mostly, we don’t give them much thought. As someone who doesn’t pay attention to pop culture and spends almost no time on social media, I’ve been clueless about words over the past few years. For example, I didn’t understand what a meme was. I kept hearing the word, but what did it mean? My nephew (28 at the time and social media savvy), had to explain it to me. Or “hashtag”—I’ve heard this word for years but didn’t understand its importance or why people use it. The Bublish CEO, Kathy, told me I should use hashtags when marketing my book. But why? She explained its use to me, and now I add hashtags—#griefsupport, #griefbooks, #widow, etc.—to my Facebook and blog posts. But otherwise, I’ve never used one or searched for one. While new social media words garner much attention, I believe other words don’t get enough: love, grief, acceptance, empathy . . . After my husband died, I noticed how much society wants grieving people to “heal” (a word I hate!) and doesn’t leave room for grief and struggle. We don’t accept people as they are unless they’re seemingly perfect. I believe we need more love and acceptance.
Feeling Left Behind: Permission to Grieve
Another woman sent me an email shortly after Reg died and told me to ask for help with the grief and healing. It’s as if people think there should be a time limit on grief and that I should be healed and okay even though I didn’t—and don’t—feel okay. As I discussed in another chapter, in Victorian times mourning etiquette actually dictated that widows stay in mourning for years and that grieving people should not attend fun places, such as the theater. Grieving was to be public and not private. I’m not suggesting it’s good to insist on public mourning for at least a year or two like the Victorians, because everyone grieves differently and in their own time. But now it feels to me as if friends just want me (and the widowers and widows I know) to be healed. I know many of my widow friends feel as if their mourning is offensive to others and they have to hide their grief.