Although it has been years since my husband died, I was recently reminded of the pain of that loss.
My car was in the shop having a new motor installed. My brother had loaned me his truck. While applying for a temporary military vehicle pass, my set of keys seemed to disappear from the face of the earth. Panic set in!
Don’t laugh! My life was wrapped up in those keys. I had always prided my self in being very cautious to hold onto them whenever entering or leaving the car, house or office. They stayed in my hands until I inserted them into an ignition or keyhole and then went into my purse and stayed until the next use. There were keys for my car, my brother’s truck, to my front door, bolt lock included, the back door and a few other keys of necessity.
No one at the Pass and ID office had seen them. Relentlessly, I traced my steps from the truck to the office 2 or 3 times, looking under the truck and inquired again at the office, of the four military workers there. After being told “No, no one had turned in the keys, ” I asked to use the phone to call the military police, so they could unlock the truck.
“Perhaps the keys had fallen under the seat or behind it, ” I thought. Enduring the embarrassment of 2 Police cars parked in the vicinity of the “crime scene” and onlookers eyeing me with suspicion; I began to feel guilt; of what, I don’t know; Stupidity, I guess.
Since the first two officers couldn’t get the door unlocked, they called for “backup, ” now there were 3 police cars. The first one joked that the third officer could get the door open because he had been a reformed car thief from Florida and knew all about opening car doors, then laughed.
The third officer succeeded in opening the truck door. I thanked them profusely as they left and I began looking for the keys. I searched the ups and downs and unders, but still no keys. Now what?
I felt so alone, so abandoned, and so helpless. My brother had another set of keys, but I had his truck. He couldn’t help me. I traced my steps once more, taking time to observe the grounds surrounding my path to the Pass and ID office. No luck.
Since I had no place to go or transportation to get there, I decided to leave notice at the Information Desk, the ID Checker at the front door and the Adjutant’s Office. A glance at my watch said it had been 2 hours spent in my search.
I found a seat in a phone booth across from the Prescription Waiting Area, after leaving notice there. Only then did I feel as though I would do the womanly thing and cry. Poor me, I was all alone and with no one to solve my problem, no one to make me feel secure again. Who would solve my problem? The familiar feelings of a need to upchuck churned at my insides. Common sense and a sense of pride said I must shut down that avenue of escape, NOW! Lest I embarrass myself further. After a few moments of surrender to my helplessness, I asked God to help me focus, to be able to make a sensible decision.
“Dave, I’ll call, my guy, Dave! The idea seemed to blare in my mind. He readily, brought my brother's keys to me and my immediate problem was solved. No found keys, but I could drive the truck.
The point of this story is not to make a big deal of my lost keys, but to show that the experience of losing something of value and trying to get it back is a PROCESS.
I am not trying to minimize the loss of a loved one to separation; divorce or death, to the same importance as losing one’s car keys, but the process of getting from point A to point B is pretty much the same.
- The initial response to loss is DENIAL, shock, disbelief, “It can’t be! I know this isn’t happening!”
- Then one moves on to ANGER: “Why me, what did I do wrong to deserve this?” “I’m always careful with my keys!” “Someone stole my keys in that office!”
- Next comes BARGAINING: “ Yes, but… maybe if I do this or that, my problem will disappear, my life will be the same as before. ” But it wasn’t, nothing worked.
- In the phone booth, it was DEPRESSION, the feelings of sickness in the pit of my stomach. I wanted to give in to the helplessness and let whatever, take over me.
- That last bastion of self-preservation took over. ACCEPTANCE of the situation and then the solution came.
- The PROCESS had to be experienced, completed, accepted. Then peace seemed in the distance, but it could be seen. The ultimate goal in experiencing the PROCESS is that it is an absolute, un-escapable, even distasteful necessity, if we are to find peace, be it a lost husband, lover, friend or one’s keys.
For more tips and tools to on how to survive divorce, death of a spouse, a love or other essential person and make healthy choices, you are invited to visit http://www.butterflyintonewlife.com Patricia Hubbard has Facilitated a Support Group for Separated, Divorced and Widowed people for the past 11 years.