This book by Melody Beattie is a series of daily meditations based on people regaining their sense of their own identity, owning their power and fully feeling their emotions. It was written in response to her own need - and the recognised need in others - to deal with what is coined as codependency. It became a daily source of reference for me as I struggled with my feelings relating to grief. It also helped in addressing my loss of identity and behaviour that developed from distraction.
There was a point for me when the need to be needed again became extreme, compulsive. It was combined with a process of giving everything I had away, emotionally, financially. I didn't want to keep anything, of me or what I had. There didn't seem a point. I had no future, so why the need to retain anything? And the process was a good distraction - from feeling anything.
But ultimately it led to my life staying in limbo - and in the dark. Another devastating experience of loss came as a consequence and I was compelled to look at myself to find out why. After more online research I discovered the work of Melody Beattie and I came to understand that my behaviour was typical of codependency - a trait that is apparently exacerbated by grief. Codependency is to some extent a contentious subject. All relationships are to a level codependent - and in its healthy definition that is good, a mutually beneficial form of support between people. Like the perfect balance I had with Maria. But at its unhealthy extremes, the process becomes dramatically skewed. One person gives, care-takes, enables excessively and the other relies on that, taking but with little to give back. And the caretaker gives at their own expense, neglecting their own needs in order to focus on another.
There's an organisation that's set up as a support system for codependency specifically, called Codependence Anonymous. Their website is on this link if you would like to find out more: www.coda.org.
I'll write on that subject more at a later date, but aside from the issue of codependency, this book helped me to understand more about myself and my behaviours. It also helped me to gain some sense of future, of direction, to making a commitment to myself and living life again. It made me think about life in a wider context and introduced the concept of a Higher Power; I started to consider the perspective of a Universe through which our journeys continue after the time we spend on Earth. It finally started to give me a way to make some sense of death, because Maria's soul lives on somewhere in that Universe. Being able to believe that her journey continues gave me comfort and started a sense of hope.