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 I was younger, I considered myself an optimist; I believed everything would work out, and I could find positive outcomes from negative experiences. As I’ve aged, however, my optimism has diminished. When my husband received his cancer diagnosis, I wasn’t fazed. I knew he’d beat it and live; I had no question. Even when the cancer spread, I remained hopeful and continued to research ways to cure him. Yet despite my hope and positive outlook—and all we did to give him a fighting chance—he died. His death, sadly, affected my hope. Now, I’m more of a realist. For example, I’m not hopeful about reversing climate change and saving our planet, especially because much of the population is unwilling or unable to conserve or care. Given events on the Capitol this week, I’m not hopeful our country can or will heal. I’d like to think we can, but I’m not encouraged. Lest you assume I’m a Debbie Downer, however, I do have hope in many areas: I expect our democracy will survive. I’m hopeful that black Americans will finally get more opportunities. I’m hopeful my friends and family will survive COVID-19. I’m hopeful my cat, who has chronic kidney failure, will live for a while. In other words, I maintain faith, but I’m no longer blinded by optimism.
Feeling Left Behind: Permission to Grieve
Another quote on the sign that has angered me is “Think positive. Good things tend to happen.” I used to think that too. In fact, I was absolutely sure that even though Reg had an aggressive cancer, he would survive. But look what happened! I recently saw an interview with a famous, retired NFL player who had cancer and a small chance of survival. But, he survived. He said a positive attitude was the most important reason he lived and just as importantly, he survived because his family and wife also kept a positive attitude. I wanted to throw something at the TV because I was furious. I wanted to scream, “That is not enough! I had a positive attitude, and my husband is dead!”