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.
Though my husband, Reg, laid unconscious for almost two days before he died, I maintained hope that he’d wake up and our lives would continue. I finally realized death was imminent because of my cats Boo and Taylor. While Boo slept on Reg’s stomach, and Taylor squished next to Reg’s side, Reg stirred. I tried to move Boo, thinking Boo was hurting Reg. Boo yelled at me, and in that moment, I knew—just knew—that Reg was dying. I placed Boo back on Reg’s stomach, and he assisted Reg in peacefully transitioning into the next world. After Reg died, I laid my head on his shoulder and sobbed with unbearable pain. My cat Rita, whom Reg adored, climbed on his chest and settled in to bear witness. I felt comforted knowing Rita and I were grieving the loss together; neither of us was ready to let his body go, and we needed it to comfort us one last time. Almost a year later, our house caught on fire. That night, my cats and I moved to a hotel, and I sat on the bed sobbing uncontrollably remembering how just a year earlier, we’d all been together. Now our house was uninhabitable, and Reg was gone. Thankfully, my cats surrounded me on the bed and comforted me yet again.
Feeling Left Behind: Permission to Grieve
I know it makes me sound like the stereotypical crazy cat lady, but my cats make me feel more emotionally secure than pretty much any human I know. Often, I can’t wait to get home to be with them. I feel loved by them. They greet me at the door and when I’m feeling so alone, they sit in my lap and remind me I’m loved. They don’t talk about their spouses or tell me to move on or that I should be okay. They never tell me they are too busy for me or make me feel like a third wheel. Instead, they just love and accept me. I do, however, worry they will die. I worry the stress of losing Reg and then our fire and subsequent six-month stint in the hotel caused them enough stress that they will get sick and leave me too. Therefore, I guess even they don’t provide absolute emotional security for me. Nothing does.