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.
When you’ve lost a loved one, the holidays can be merciless. After my husband died, I wanted nothing to do with Christmas, even though I’d previously been a huge fan. I now, however, enjoy Christmas again and even feel sad when it’s over. That’s true even for this Christmas, which COVID-19 altered. Normally, my mom hosts a Christmas Eve dinner with friends who have nowhere else to go and family. This year, dinner included just my mom and me, which seemed bizarre. I still set a formal table because I never know how many more Christmases I’ll get with my mom. If for some reason this was our last Christmas Eve dinner, I didn’t want regrets that I didn’t bother with the table. I realize that sounds morbid, but I recognize life holds no guarantees. COVID has made that even more real; life can change at any moment, and people you love can be here today and gone tomorrow. So, I set the table as if it were a fancy dinner party. Like normal, I set a place at the table for my husband, including photos of him on the plate and a teddy bear in his chair. Although I still missed him, by incorporating him I’ve learned to enjoy Christmas and even love it again.
Feeling Left Behind: Permission to Grieve
Yes, Christmas is its own special hell. It’s supposed to be a time with your loved one and family. It’s supposed to be a merry and enchanting time. But, when you’ve lost your spouse, it’s a time that highlights yet again that the person you love is gone. Dakota said that on the first Christmas without her husband, she just wanted to stay in bed until it was all over. She didn’t want to go on with life and wanted to crawl under a rock and die. Even now (two and a half years later), she said she wouldn’t celebrate the holidays if she didn’t have children and grandchildren. She feels as if she is just going through the motions and forces herself to purchase gifts (for their birthdays too).