A New Level of Grief

Tombstone heading reading in loving memory covered in flowers

After a while you just ask yourself what the point is. I lost my wife in a car accident in 2007 and I never really recovered. Rather than take the appropriate time to heal and reflect, I took literally two days after the funeral and decided it was best to get back into my old routine. There I was, a 38-year-old widower running the business that I had built from the ground. This is at least how I projected myself on the outside. On the inside, however, I was an unmanned bus careening toward the edge of a cliff.

I was just going through the motions of life, trying to convince everyone that I was always OK, while everything, literally everything, reminded me of my wife. There was not a second in the day in which I didn’t think about her in some way or the other. She was constantly in the back of my head. Sleep had become a pipe dream that would not be fulfilled. I would lie in bed for hours, and before I knew it, the night would pass and it would be time to get up and fool people all over again. This became my life for about six months.

I first started taking Xanax to try and sleep. I thought that maybe I was suffering mild panic attacks and that’s what was keeping me awake. The pills did, in fact, help me sleep, but they made me incredibly drowsy throughout the rest of the day. What’s more, I began craving them constantly. Soon I was mixing them with alcohol. After a while I was more depressed than ever and started feeling anxious and suicidal. On the night of the first anniversary of my wife’s death, I made the decision to join her. The next thing I remember is waking up with a mask over my face.

My doctor, with whom I had gotten quite close over the years, insisted that I get help and gave me the names of some luxury drug treatment centers where I could get the care I needed and heal at my own pace. At first I didn’t want anything to do with it. To me, there was no solution. Whether I got help or not, I would still be depressed. Part of me actually thought that my moving on would be a betrayal to her memory. Despite my reluctance, I agreed to enter treatment and was extremely surprised with how much it was able to help me.

I thought that luxury drug treatment centers just meant heightened relaxation, but they actually provide advanced treatment, as well. I was treated for my addiction as well as for my grief-related depression. I never expected to even talk about my wife during treatment, but the more I did, the better I felt. Eventually I was able to get to a place where I could help myself, and that’s all I really needed. I’ve been clean and sober since leaving treatment, and now have the personal strength to think about my wife the way she was meant to be thought of: as the greatest thing that ever happened to me. Instead of lamenting that she’s no longer here, I choose to celebrate that she once was.

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