No pain in the universe like this, when the spouse walks out.

There is no pain in the universe like the one felt by a person whose spouse leaves unexpectedly or passes away. In either case, the resulting emptiness that engulfs the person is seemingly unfathomable and inexplicable. Some describe it as having a part of their body removed.  Others see it as a darkness that never lifts. I believe I have felt both of these sensations over the last 3 months and have spent many hours considering these feeling and wondering why their depth and intensity are so severe that the only word that comes to mind is ‘addiction.’ I think we become physically, biochemically and emotionally attached to the most important persons in our lives. When that person is suddenly is gone from our lives, all these conditions kick in, creating feelings that are so enormous, they defy description.  I said to a person recently: “This must be what it is like to go through withdrawal from drug use,” but he said,” No, the drug withdrawal stops in a couple of days, whereas the pain of losing a spouse continues on and on endlessly.”  He is so right!  I can say that the pain eases gradually, but only slightly and only when one is distracted by routine activities. Bouts of depression and crying sessions can be brought on by the slightest thing: the smell of perfume, a familiar item, a place, a TV show or anything that might trigger thoughts of a spouse.  Sometimes people will unwittingly say things that cause a flood of emotions hiding within.  I submit that there must be long-term damage to the body from this enormously stressful event.  I wonder if anyone has done research on this.
So how does a person recover?  How does the individual regain his balance and begin life anew?  I have received much advice in this regard which mainly centers on staying busy to keep the mind occupied, but I must say, this only helps so much. I have learned to survive on minimal sleep because of the repetitious and ever-present thoughts of my missing spouse.  I lay down at night with her in my thoughts and eventually fall asleep with her in my thoughts and wake up several times throughout the evening with her in my thoughts.  Obviously this makes for many very poor nights of sleep. It was almost a week after all this began before I slept for any length of time and so was beginning to wonder if I would ever sleep well again!
When a spouse leaves so unexpectedly and suddenly, it is for a myriad of reasons, but I think the most prevalent one is the desire not to confront the spouse.  Life has taught me that avoidance of conflict is a powerful motivator for many. In a majority relationships, arguments and disagreements usually occur prior to the departure, but in some cases, the departing spouse wishes to avoid this situation and so sneaks out the ‘back door,’  leaving the spouse wondering what-the-hell just happened?  I believe this scenario is far more painful than when the spouse leaves after a big fight or major disagreement. When the split is brought on by an intensely emotional conflict, there is something almost tangible to hang on to, which allows the spouses to better deal with the situation and even possibly resolve it.  The departure, when it is not preceded by a noticeable change in behavior, creates that huge void I talked about earlier. This does not lead to a resolution;  it only leads to intense pain in the abandoned spouse! When one half of a couple hides feelings, never sharing disappointments, needs or expectations, it leads to intense unhappiness in that person and may take decades for this to finally surface, but eventually it will, and calamity is the result.
So how might I and countless others have avoided this?  Obviously there are many personal issues involved with every unforseen break-up of this nature, but I believe if I were to single out one important skill that could have helped avoid this, it would be communication! When couples talk, they may vigorously argue and get angry, but there is the potential of resolution within the conflict. When there is no communication, it is highly unlikely that a solution will be found.  In today’s world of less and less face-to-face communication, we may see an exponential rise in this type of separation as our population becomes unable to carry on normal face-to-face discussion. We would rather text than talk. We would rather email or video chat- anything to avoid looking into another person’s eyes to tell him something he may not want to know. We are, I believe, in a dangerous downward spiral as we adjust to all the gadgets in the new information age. Not only will they affect marriages but all interaction between people. The obvious outcome in this scenario is for us to stay in our cubical 24-7, ordering in everything we need, performing our job through the internet and generally isolating ourselves from the rest of humanity. If you think this sounds fictional, look around you. Notice the number of people transfixed on their mobile devices  and the decrease in human voices in crowded areas. Folks, we are already ear-lobe deep in this situation with no discernible plan to remedy it.  Because we are irreversibly in the new communication age and are basically losing our ability to talk to one another.  If that does not strike fear in you, I am not sure anything can.  Well come to 2084….

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