Dear Carolyn: The love of my life was killed in a car accident. I am lost. What do I even begin to do? Everyone’s asking me what I need and I don’t even know. My head is full of questions. What am I going to do now that the future I planned is gone? Where do I even sit at the funeral? His parents are beyond kind, but there is no official role for the girlfriend. And I’m afraid to think about him or my future. I’m afraid that if I let go I’ll fall into a deep, dark well that I may never come out of.
I am meeting with a grief counselor today. Any thoughts on books, or things that have worked for people?
I am so sorry.
The only answer to “What do I do?” is this: Get by. You don’t need to accomplish anything, answer anything, figure out anything right now. Right now is for raw grief; anything else can wait. When your friends ask what you need, don’t be afraid to say, “I have no idea.” When you get to the funeral, you will sit where someone steers you , and if no one steers you, choose a seat with people you love. As for your future, your future is this evening, and this evening, your future will be tomorrow morning, and so on. Shorten it into something you are capable of managing, even if your future becomes “an hour from now.”
Enlisting the help of a grief counselor says you are indeed functioning, and that’s something you can count on as you get through these days.
You might find comfort in Kay Redfield Jamison’s memoir, Nothing Was the Same. It’s about her challenge to grieve her husband’s death while managing her bipolar disorder. It’s moving and grounding at the same time.