Recent sad events have brought an end to another life change, which in itself has caused me to reflect back on even bigger life changes and how they coloured my life. In some ways it is easier to write about now than it was 16 years ago, and I hope that by writing this I might help others dealing with similar situations. There is plenty of help on dealing with death, loneliness and all the problems around that but I haven’t found a lot that talked about how the perception of colour changed. In 1996 my husband and I moved to what we thought was our final, retirement home. It was a bungalow in a fair bit of land because we had a lot of German Shepherd Dogs. I used to love walking up a hill behind the bungalow and seeing it glowing with a creamy yellow colour, I did the walk everyday, more than once with different dogs.
Then disaster struck, my husband became ill very quickly and died more or less in that house, although paramedics tried it was too late. I then became aware that when looking at the bungalow from the hill it was no longer creamy yellow, it was grey. As the days went on it seemed as if a cloud descended on to the bungalow, no longer a home, just a place; and it struck me even at that time, that my colour perception had changed and I remember thinking how odd that seemed. I also remember that the sense of loneliness seemed like a black cloak that I couldn’t shake off.
One of the ways I dealt with the grief and loneliness was to make a bit of garden in front of the bungalow, everywhere else was more or less a field with kennels for the dogs.
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It wasn’t big but I wanted the pinky red path and a red plant in the hanging basket, and also the mixture of green foliage that would later have flowers, I hadn’t studied colour therapy at that time so wasn’t aware of colour effects. Looking at the picture now and thinking how it lifted my spirits at the time, is one of the reasons I am writing this article. Although I was very involved in spiritual events, and had received several messages from my husband, we are on earth to live a human life and to experienced human feelings, grief is one of them.
Now 16 years on a very close friend has just passed over, I met him a couple of years after my husband died, nothing romantic just very good friends and we had a Pet Shop together for a few years and did a lot of animal rescue together. There is not the intensity of grief but a very deep sadness and the sense that it has really ended an era; ( he was much younger but suffered from many illnesses) and for the last few years I have stayed with him at Christmas.
When I moved away from the home I shared with my husband I took a lot of the plants with me and they are flourishing red/pink/green in my current home, and as I look at them I remember how I felt, and how I worked through it albeit over quite a long time. We each have our timeframe for dealing with loss, and I would also say that this can also apply to losing pets. Sometimes a pet is the connection with another experience, and is certainly a companion, a reason to do things and also a connection with the outside world and people. I had 12 large dogs to care for when my husband died, and the friend I have just lost came into my life and helped me with them.
This morning I have received a sympathy card and it has a bright orange Marigold on the front, as soon as I looked at it I felt the brightness and felt uplifted. What I am trying to say to those that are experiencing sad and dark emotions, is to put some bright colour around yourself, you don’t have to explain yourself to anyone else: for years those in mourning were expected to wear black and, yes, sometimes it helps to make that mark of respect, but your soul needs something brighter to help you work through the emotions you are experiencing and believe me I do understand. We each deal with death differently; but grief and loneliness are part of our human life, and the better we deal with them helps our health and our own well being
I am now going out to buy myself a Red Poinsetta plant in memory of my dear friend at Christmas.