Your Gateway to Music and More from a Christian Perspective
Slow down as you approach the gate, and have your change ready....
the Rock Doc
By Dr. Bruce L. Thiessen, aka Dr BLT, psychologist
* Details contained in the original correspondence, or inquiry have been omitted or otherwise altered to protect the confidentiality of the inquiring party and to make key spiritual/psychological points.
Dear Rock Doc:
The death of my husband is something I thought Iíd never have to face until, possibly old age, if I didnít go before him. He died at the age of 21, two years after we were married.
He was a rodeo and was killed in a bizarre rodeo accident that I still canít talk about even though itís been nearly a year now.
He was a country singer from Los Angeles who read your articles and blogs, and desperately wanted to be a part of that nu Bako sound or Kccrock (Kern County country rock) that you are considered to have started in California. He pulled up that Cake video youíre on almost everyday, and played it for his friends who were big Cake fans and Dr. BLT fans as well. He also loved Merle Hasnít Lost His Fightiní Side, If You Wanna Be the Next Buck Owens, and a few others of your songs that are popular among underground internet fans.
No offense, but personally, I had no appreciation for country music, or Kccrock music, for that matter until he died. Losing him meant losing everything about him that I admired and loved. I even miss the things about him I didnít necessarily love, but put up with, including his music. I remember him saying that you had an unusual day jobthat of psychologist, and he said you had an advice column for musicians and friends/family members of musicians.
He said youíre a Christian too, and so am I, but Christ has done very little for me lately, and sometimes I think he left me along with my husband.
I didnít think Iíd ever tried to take advantage of that resource because, until now, I thought I could handle whatever came my way---you know, suck it up and move on.
This time itís soooooooooooooooooooooooooo hard to pick up the pieces and move on. Even after nearly a year, itís hard for me to feel happy about anything at all, even my 6-year-old daughter. I take it out on her sometimes. Itís never risen to the level of abuse, but I just spank her too often, about little things that irritate me.
Sheís musical, like her daddy, but Iím so self-absorbed in my own suffering that I tend to ignore it when she tells me about a new song sheís learned on the piano.
Iím already on psych meds, and itís helped a little, but life just doesnít seem worth it some days. He was my world and now heís gone. Can you help me get through this grief?
Dear Weeping Widow:
Iím sorry to here about your deeply personal lossthe loss of your husband. There really are no words that capture the depth of pain that a person feels when he/she loses somebody so dear to his/her heart. But sometimes the words of others who have experienced such deeply personal loss can give a person a sense that he/she is not alone.
The Psalmist said, ďYea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.Ē
You said that you feel that Jesus left you when your husband left, and I can understand how you could feel like that, but the fact is, that God promises that he will never leave us, nor forsake us, especially not in moments of our deepest despair. Those are promises we can stand on that are independent of how we may feel.
Itís easy to understand that the promise is real, but much, much harder to feel it during times like these.
Iím glad the medication is helping a little, but medication canít replace those whom weíve lost. The memories donít get wiped out by the medication, and I donít think youíd want to lose the memories. But it sounds like youíd like to at least lose the intense pain that you feel---the pain associated with those memories.
Music can help the healing process. George Jones wrote The Grand Tour after his wife passed away, and Iím sure that this was, in part, a healing experience for him. Listening to songs like his may help you in terms of knowing that another person has experienced a similar type of loss.
Songs like these will help you re-visit the past, so that you can then let the past go, or, at least the pain associated with the past. When you are ready to do this (and readiness is different for every grieving individual), you will be ready to hear songs that move you in the direction of the future, in a positive and hopeful way, like this one:
Future 2 Behold
There is a future for you, and there is happiness. You will find it and be able to share it with your little one. I donít blame you for being ďself-absorbed,Ē in your own suffering, as you put it, but your daughter needs a mother to be emotionally available and nurturing.
Get better, so that you can be better for her. Get better so that you can be better to yourself too. Easier said than done, I know, but do whatever it takes to get better.
We know from research that a healthy body is a better container for happy feelings than an unhealthy body, and that exercise and a good diet help the body to release natural mood-altering endorphins.
We know from research that when a person surrounds him/herself with caring, trusted friends and family, instead of remaining cut off and isolated, the mind and the emotions heal quicker. So surround yourself with friends and family and let them help you carry the burden.
Donít give up on God either, because God has not given up on you. Read his word, especially the Psalms, for they offer words of comfort and hope. Pray to God and let God know the depths of your suffering.
As far as your psychiatric treatment is concerned, make sure you work with the doctor until you find the right medication and right dosage for you, if you think medication could do more for you than it is.
But the medication may already be doing its job, and it may be that other, non-medical interventions, like psychotherapy may be in order as a supplement. A support group may help as well.
One day youíll treasure the memories, and when you do, youíll notice that the feelings you get from those memories are more joyful than sorrowful. Keep the memories alive, share them with your daughter, and be more actively involved in her musical, emotional, social, psychological and spiritual development.
It wonít be easy, and it wonít be quick, but healing is possible, and you will feel the effects of that healing if you follow the steps Iíve introduced in this letter. Let me know how the journey goes, and write back if you need to.