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LBmuskoka's picture



Grief is a Freight Train

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Freight Train,  Sara Jackson-Homan

Grief is a freight train, 

oh no, what's a little pain? 
when you've got so much to love?
Grief is a freight train,
oh no, what's a little pain ?
when you've got so much to love?

Forever as a slow dream
oh what a vivid thing,
when you've got so much to lose.
Hope is a fast car,
only takes you so far away,
oh you've got alot to learn.

Close your eyes.
Take to the sky like a big blue kite,
leave your woes behind.
Close my eyes.
Try to remember what you said to me, 
before you said goodbye.

Love is a slow song, 
playing on the radio.
I know every word by heart.
Happiness is a soft light
that way we see our lives by
only fading to the dark.

Close your eyes.
Take to the sky like a big blue kite,
leave your words behind.
Close my eyes.
Try to remember what you said to me, 
before you said goodbye.

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LBmuskoka's picture



It has been six months now and to those that say it gets easier, I would argue.  It doesn't.


I fill the void with projects.  Exciting projects.  Projects that make me proud but ...


the void of sharing that excitement opens wide in the quiet of the evening when I would have shared the excitement, the joy.  I miss seeing the pride in his eyes with each of my accomplishments.  I miss his encourgement when I hit a wall of disappointment.  I miss discussing the day over a meal.


Grief is a freight train.  Hurtling down the tracks missing the little moments.  Heading for an unknown destination.

waterfall's picture



No argument here LB, sometimes you just have to let go and have another big cry.



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naman's picture



LB, your posts make me very thoughtful.  Fate lies ahead for Namana and me. Thanks for the insight into what is involved.

revjohn's picture



Hi LBmuskoka,


LBmuskoka wrote:

It has been six months now and to those that say it gets easier, I would argue.  It doesn't.


Six months is considered to be somewhat on the shallow side of the grieving process.


Most figures given seem to suggest that the most effective healing requires somewhere between a year and 18 months.  Friend GUC (Not sure if this is his own theory of if he found it elsewhere) seems to think that if there is a formula it is something like a month of healing for every year of the relationship which means a 20 year relationship would need 20 months of grieving time before things began to come back to anything near normal.


And these numbers I suspect are for uncomplicated endings.  I don't know the multiplication factors for complications.


Typically I suggest to individuals and families that I work with that they need to prepare for the first year of anniversaries.  Things like the first birthday of the deceased as well as the first birthday of immediate family when the deceased will not be present and the wound of that absence will be keenly felt.  Things like the first time a routine is broken.  It took a year after a certain dog of our died that my mom didn't through carrot ends onto the floor.  And even then there were moments when mom fell into a routine and the carrots would drop to the floor and the wounds of sorrow opened up as she heard them hit and knew that she would have to retrieve them because the dog was no longer there.


Life is such that we weave patterns with and around other people without being fully aware of it and then, when they are gone everytime we repeat those silly little patterns we are rewarded with aching hearts and bleeding souls.


It won't ever get better.  It will get easier.  Six months is nowhere near enough time for the healing that easier requires.


Be patient with yourself.


LBmuskoka wrote:

Grief is a freight train.  Hurtling down the tracks missing the little moments.  Heading for an unknown destination.


Freight trains can only touch you if you insist on standing on the tracks.  If you cannot or will not move then the train blows right through you.  If, the next time you sense the train coming, you step off of the track and let the train pass you can go right back to the track and continue to stand.


The tracks will always be there.  The train won't always be there.  It does come back regularly.  It always signals its approach and gives time to get out of its way.


Grace, peace and strength to you.  May God hold you and keep you safe.


Serena's picture



They say it takes 2 months for every year that person was with you.

I think after six months it does lessen a bit but it comes back and goes again when you least expect it.

Grief is hard. I think its the hardest thing I ever faced. It also depends how close the person was to you. It may be that the person being mourned lives accross the country and you only saw them on holidays and phoned them. Or it could be the person next door whom you saw everyday.

My sister and I both lost our parents. Our grief was different. Our parents lived next door to me. I saw them every day. She mightve seen them once a month. Her grieving is over except that she misses them at christmas and on their birthdays. She went home after the funeral to her own life and I had to face my life without them.

That is where I suspect you are. The only advice I can offer is to take care of yourself and meet new people. Life is about relationships. Know its normal to be sad sometimes and don't let others tell you that you should be over it by now.

SG's picture



RevJohn carrying on the freight train imagery offers some great advice...



Everyone is different and diverse and their love will be. So, IMO their grief will be also. Each experience, intersection and sharing of lives is different and the void left will likely be different. All mothers are not grieved the same. There is the obvious of good and bad relationships. But, there is also the less obvious of time spent together, closeness, sharing of information or emotion, mother who was also friend, how much of your daily activity reminds you of mom....
IMO it is the same with fathers, siblings, and yes, even spouses.


How long it takes or how hard it is may depends on those things and yet it may not. We cannot look at grief and make judgments. One person seems to take it in stride, another is leveled, someone else is working through it... none of which tells us what the other meant.


Our coping and choices come into it also. A person can be busy or not. Some wallow and some don't. We can say "stay busy", but it can delay things for another day.


There is no one right answer.


IMO Some things get easier, some don't... which will and which won't is personal. Sometimes it will seem easier and then all the sudden seem hard...


A friend who lost her husband years ago said she gets along ok and then the furnace quits or the car breaks down and she needs him and he is not there...


A gentleman I know said he misses his wife like it was yesterday when he welcomes a new grandchild or goes to a wedding. Those are the moments he knows she missed and wanted to see and it breaks his heart. Yet, the void in his day to day life is filled with another person.


I visit a woman who's husband has been gone over a decade and she says she still has trouble falling asleep without him beside her. They slept beside each other since their teen years and even while he lay dying in hospital, they never slept one night apart until he died. She cannot imagine sleeping next to anyone else.


Overall, it may not be as raw and painful and fresh.... but I could not point to one person who says it is "easy".

Easier, well, that depends on the month, the day, the hour.... the person.






gecko46's picture



LBmuskoka - 6 months is a very short time to recover from your loss - don't demand too much of yourself.  Take time....and be good to yourself.  I needed four years to recover after my husband's death.  

The day I began to live again and knew that my time of grief had ended came unexpectedly.

When it happens for you, you will understand it for what it is, meanwhile my thoughts and prayers are with you.  Even as you are pulled down the tracks, know that this journey of grief will end and a destination station awaits with pleasant surprises and new beginnings.

paradox3's picture



Hi LBmuskoka,


I agree with the others who have stated that six months really isn't all that long when it comes to grief and loss.


Please know that you are thought of often ... I miss your frequent posts and your plethora of quotes.


Take care,


MistsOfSpring's picture



LB, I'm just a little further down this same road than you are.  It will be a year since Jim died on March 31st.  Everyone is different, of course, but I still remember 6 months vividly.  I've found that it's really true that grief comes in waves.  At the very start, it's a storm and you're drowning in it, but then it starts to recede a bit in between crashes.  The difference that time makes is that it's usually longer between crashing waves and the waves are usually a bit smaller every time, but like the sea or even a lake, there will always be "the big one" that knocks you down sometimes, or a series of small ones that take your breath away and keep you off balance for a few days.  


Six months, for me, was actually kind of ok, but 8-9 months was really hard, probably because of the holidays.  Since then I seem to be doing better.  Maybe it's time and maybe it's just that I'm learning to surf the waves better.  I don't know.  


I'm not sure about the idea of one or two months for every year together.  Maybe that's  a standard theory, but I think it can only be taken as a base.  I go to a young widow's message board now and I've seen some people who seem to move forward with incredible resilience and others who remain very much "stuck" in their grief years later.  Part of it is additional complications, I concerns, raising children, problems with inlaws, dreams that never came true, etc.  The main thing I've learned is that while the grieving process is universal, the  grief itself is different for everyone.  


For myself, it's hard to find the balance between remembering and focusing on life now.  When I focus on now and feel grateful for the life I have, I feel almost normal sometimes.  I don't want to forget him, though, and I want to be sure that Rachel knows her daddy as much as possible, so I bring things up.  Sometimes I'm also blindsided by memories.  The good memories and stories are nice.  They have a bit of sadness to them, but also a lot of joy and laughter.  It's the bad memories, of his illness and death, that bring me to my knees.  


The freight train will come again.  When it comes, my wish for you is that you don't forget that it always passes and that you'll have time to breathe again.  It won't last.  It's hard to remember that right in the middle of it, but it's true.

Pilgrims Progress's picture

Pilgrims Progress


Saying how long grief will last is like saying how long is a piece of string.....


The loss of a partner especially has daily reminders as you say, LB, - nobody to share your triumphs, joys, disappointments -all tangible evidence that you are not only valued, but loved.

(And, there are times when we don't love ourselves, and this is when a partner's love can make all the difference in finding the balance we need to remind ourselves of the truth, we are all worthy of love).


Sharing intimately is such an integral part of life - it's what we all aspire to, even those who find it too difficult, IMO.


When the grief is still raw, in a sense it's your partner. It's the focus of your life, just as your partner was.

It's five years now since John died, and it's just this last year that the weight of grief has lifted. I talked about this with my therapist and asked her if it made sense that I now realise that grief had replaced John as my partner for those intervening years. She said it did.


At my stage of life I know many women and men who have lost their partners and experienced grief.


All talk of what you decribe as a void in their lives.


When grief reaches a certain stage you know that it's the void that has become a problem that you need to address.


A dear friend confided in me, after marrying again a year after his wife died, that he just couldn't live with the void. It wasn't the same for either he or his new partner - but being with a partner made for a more comfortable and enjoyable life.


My own Mum found  love three years after my Dad died..........



Something that has troubled me about grief that folks seldom mention, I'd like to raise here. I don't think you'll mind, LB, as we're great mates and you know me well enough to know that I have difficulties with colouring in between the lines).


It's not until you are in the position of grief that you realize that grief isn't solely about missing the other. The bonds that you've forged together are bonds of love, intimacy, giving, being given.....

When the person dies you still have these feelings that the relationship gave you - but there's no-one to share them with.

At first that makes them a bloody nuisance - how can you still feel moments of love and sharing say, with your grandchild, when the love of your life is no longer alive? At times, it's almost like guilt - "I've just lost my husband, why am I laughing?"


But, with time, you realise the truth, that this love and joy you still feel is the fruits of the love you shared with your partner. It is their gift to you, and it won't be denied......


What to do?


Some find another partner.


Some devote themselves to causes that can be a vehicle for their love.


Some, like me, relate more meaningfully and intimately with others they meet along life's journey. They blog and travel (ahem) and are even known to have intimate conversations with those that just happen to sit next to them on public transport....


Whatever the choice, it's important not to deny the love and joy that the partner you loved ignited in you.

Afterall,  death wasn't the most significant thing you shared, it was love. A sense of gratitude means you will go on loving .


(As we say here in Oz, I'm "busting a gut" for you here my friend. I'm exhausted, it's time to close the laptop and walk around the bay.)



InannaWhimsey's picture



"that which doesn't kill you usually hurts quite a lot"

--a former roomie of mine


"grief isn`t something to be overcome"



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Witch's picture



It's been 10 years since my beloved passed over. I still cry, sometimes.


You have no choice but to ride the train to the end of the line. You can't just choose to get off when you think you're done grieving.


But the seats do get a little softer. with time, and you might meet some friends along the way.

crazyheart's picture



Thank you for that witch. Nice words for you LB

Tabitha's picture



gentle thoughts to all thos who are missing a loved one due to death. It's not an easy journey. Peace be with you!

paradox3's picture



crazyheart wrote:

Thank you for that witch. Nice words for you LB


Very nice words.

Beloved's picture



In the last issue of Our Canada magazine the pic on the cover was of a pair of blue-jeaned covered legs that had a bright pair of red boots on the feet. The feet were standing on a sculpted heart in the snow. It made me think of you, LB. Caring thoughts are with you as you continue on your journey of grief. To me, six months into this particular journey is not very long. As you keep putting one foot in front of the other (or one red rubber boot in front of the other:) one step at a time, may you be supported by the love of others as on wings of eagles.

Elanorgold's picture



There's a neurological aspect as well. Our thinking process is tied up in the presence of the other person, so that when they are taken away, we feel half of us is missing, no one to bounce off. So there is actual neural rewiring that needs to take place, and that takes time.


I think looking for someone to fill the gap is a reasonable plan. My Aunt did that, two times, after the death of two consecutive husbands, and she is very happy now with her fouth husband. (the first was a divorce) They just got married and are as giddy as a young couple.


Blessings to you LB.

RitaTG's picture



grief is indeed a freight train.......

...yes indeed.....

Hugs to those that are compelled to ride .....


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