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.
For much of the pandemic, especially at the beginning, I was flourishing. I had a lot of editing work, so I kept busy. I already worked from home, so my normal, day-to-day life didn’t change. My exercise routine also didn’t change drastically; although I couldn’t use the gym, I walked or hiked daily, and I alternated where I walked. The lack of traffic made traveling to different paths easy, which kept my exercise routine fresh and interesting. I enjoyed epic hikes last year, witnessed spectacular scenery, lost five pounds, and felt content with life. Now, however, I’m languishing. In November, my blood tests revealed thyroid disease; either coincidentally or because of that, I’ve gained weight. This has caused many self-beatings, depression, and frustrations. Meanwhile, my work has decreased, so I don’t have work to consistently distract me. I know I should do more to market my book. With almost 600,000 COVID deaths and millions of deaths from other causes, our country has a tremendous need for grief books. Yet, I feel unmotivated to do the hard work of marketing the book. I still walk daily, but traffic now keeps me at my local park; I’m bored with my walks. Even my hikes haven’t brought excitement. In other words, I’m languishing and unmotivated, and unsure how to flourish again.
Feeling Left Behind: Permission to Grieve
Obviously, I have not died. But Reg’s death has affected me not only emotionally but physically. For example, I’ve always been someone who turns to food in times of stress and for emotional comfort. I’ve often joked that I will be the person who still eats on her deathbed, when most people don’t. But when Reg died, I could barely eat. My mom took me out to dinner every night to make sure I ate, and I would usually only eat half of my food at the most. Trust me, I’ve never been someone who had leftovers on her plate. I usually finished all of my food. But after he passed away, I could not eat. In a short period of time, I lost quite a bit of weight and could feel my ribs easily. It has always been challenging for me to lose weight, so this was definitely a new experience. I finally forced myself to start eating because my fingers were getting thin enough that my wedding ring was falling off. I didn’t want to lose my wedding ring so decided eating was a better idea.