Statement from Kim Sheridan

 

Jameth and Kim Sheridan
A Match Made in Heaven
1990 – 2016

 

For Those Who Are Confused as to Why I Didn't Share This News Sooner, Here Is My Story:

 

I thought I knew grief.

My first pet died when I was a very young child. Over the years, this led to many more beloved pets and many more losses. Over time, one by one, I also lost my great-grandparents, my grandparents, a very close friend, and other friends and relatives. To varying degrees, depending on the closeness of the relationship, all of the losses were painful. All of them were important souls in my life with whom I had spent a lot of time and shared warm memories, and they were sorely missed after they departed. Whenever I was hit with a particularly difficult loss, I tried various outlets for grief support. Along the way, evidence of an afterlife came to me unexpectedly and provided significant comfort. Then I found myself on a path into a new career that I had never chosen or expected; it chose me. I became known as an expert on animals and the afterlife, and I became known as a grief expert for those suffering the loss of a beloved animal. I devoted many, many years to providing comfort to those in grief. Comforting others was interspersed with going through losses of my own. I became certified in a successful form of grief therapy. I continually researched both the afterlife and grief in an effort to find ever greater comfort for those in grief.

I thought I knew grief.

Then life took me on a path that I never, ever expected at all. I was on an intense journey with my life partner, and we thought it was preparing us to help countless others to overcome a most deadly disease, a disease that causes intense physical pain and suffering, and one that takes nearly half of our population away, often far too soon. I thought this would in turn prevent many others from having to experience the intense emotional pain that follows these untimely and miserable losses. I had done my time with grief; now I wanted to prevent it from happening to people in the first place.

I thought I knew grief.

Then crisis hit, suddenly and unexpectedly in the middle of the night, and I spent a day in the Emergency Room and two weeks in the ICU with the love of my life. For two weeks, I literally lived in the ICU, sleeping in a little cot with hard metal springs protruding into my back during the sparse and constantly interrupted sleeping hours. I doted over my Beloved, argued with hospital personnel who were completely closed-minded to the idea that alternative therapies could possibly help, and spent hours online at a little table next to the cot, gathering research data to support the use of these therapies in a futile attempt to get permission to incorporate therapies that the hospital wouldn’t allow. For those two weeks, I ate virtually nothing. Literally. I was dehydrated and exhausted, running on pure adrenaline. When my Beloved slipped into a semi coma, I suddenly felt very alone. More alone than I’ve ever felt in my life. But I kept fighting. I did everything I could. I filled the hospital room with as many therapies, positive affirmations, subliminals and other healing sounds as I could. Every day I had a new list of things for family and friends to bring to the hospital. I brought in healers and therapists. I chanted with mala beads, as did two close friends. I prayed the rosary, and I’m not even Catholic. In fact, I prayed the rosary all night long every night, occasionally falling asleep and dropping the beads, only to suddenly awaken in a panic and start again. Every time I went to the public bathroom down the long cold hallway, I literally got down on my hands and knees and prayed, begged, pleaded, bargained. I envisioned and I intended. People came in to pray over my Beloved, and others gathered to pray from afar. I talked to my Beloved, stroked him, tried to make him more comfortable. Hospital staff insisted that he had no idea what was going on and that he was no longer responding to anyone, but whenever I was the one who got right up close to him and looked him in the eyes, he suddenly responded. He responded to me and me alone. He still knew what was going on. He still knew his Beloved was by his side and on a mission much like a similar mission we had been on together ten years earlier when our closest friend was hospitalized and we were fighting for our friend’s life together. This time, rather than fighting side by side with my Beloved, I was fighting for my beloved. It had always been us against the world, so to speak, and we could accomplish anything together. Now it was me against the world. My only goal in life anymore was to get him out of shock and well enough to take him home and go back to our life together, the only life I had known for most of my years on this Earth, and a life that we had only just started redesigning in a way that incorporated more fun and less stress, with all new goals and dreams we shared. I always believed I would succeed in getting him out of the hospital and back to the way things were before.

Then one day he finally woke up. He suddenly opened his eyes, turned his head in my direction, and looked straight at me. His lips moved, but I couldn’t tell what he was trying to say. He looked better, and his pupils were no longer dilated. He was no longer in shock. After looking at me, he looked over at my mom, who was right there next to me, and then back at me. We were overjoyed and started talking about getting him out of there ASAP, telling him that the worst was over. Or so I thought. I had no idea that this was the last time my Beloved and I would ever look each other in the eyes. And then, just as suddenly and unexpectedly as he had opened his eyes, they closed. Later that night, things went downhill very rapidly. I was more terrified than I had ever been in my life. Nevertheless, I didn’t believe I was going to lose him. He and I had made a pact. He had told me that if he ever found himself accidentally slipping out of his body and heading toward the Light, he would tell them he wanted to go back, no matter how wonderful it seemed when he got there. He promised. We had listened to an audiobook, which came into our lives on two separate occasions as if to emphasize the importance for us to hear it, about Anita Moorjani, a woman who died and then came back to life and had a miraculous healing. That was our Plan B. As the night wore on I eventually realized that Plan B was at hand. I still didn’t believe he was going to die. His breath slowed down, as did his pulse. Every time he flatlined, his vitals mysteriously improved for a moment but then flatlined again. I saw his aura coming and going. I literally watched what appeared to be him trying to get back into a body that just wasn’t cooperating with our plan. For hours after he had taken his last breath, I was still watching and waiting. I still didn’t believe he was going to die. Things hadn’t gone as planned. But I still didn’t believe he was really going to die, even long after he had died. Eventually I was told I had no more time and needed to leave... without the love of my life. I was in shock.

I thought I knew grief. 
 
I stroked the face and hair and kissed the lifeless lips of my Beloved. The now cold, still body was the body I had laid next to every night for my entire adult life. The lips I had kissed goodnight every night. The strong warm shoulders and arms that had held me close and comforted me through countless moments of grief over a 25+ year span as I had weathered the loss of special pets, friends, and family. This time, when I needed those strong warm shoulders and arms more desperately than ever before, they weren’t there.

I thought I knew grief.

He was the one. The one I knew was “the one” the moment our eyes first met. He knew it too. Instantly. We had both felt a strong indescribable call to be in a certain place at a certain time because we both somehow knew that the other would be there. And we were. We each had loved one other person before we met each other. But it was nothing like this. He was my one true love, my soul mate, my twin flame, my other half. He was also my life partner, my business partner, my husband, my best friend, my sidekick, my everything. I hadn’t lost just one person. I had lost a whole clan of important people all wrapped up into one. We had been homeless together. We had been failures together. We had been successes together. We had been together. For the majority of our lives. We had inside jokes and pet names and games and songs and adventures together. We had laughed hysterically together, somehow finding things funny that no one else saw the humor in but us. In a way, we had our own language that only the two of us understood. Every memory that flooded my brain included him. On the list of the most stressful events a person can go through, death of a spouse is at the top, high above the others. Death of this kind of a spouse is that much higher.

Then I heard myself saying out loud – and really feeling it – that it’s better never to have loved at all than to have loved and lost. It’s just too painful.

I thought I knew grief.

Suddenly I found no comfort in the afterlife at all. I knew he was in a better place, but he was in that better place without me. We had vowed to always be together. We had even removed “til death do us part” from our marriage vows. But suddenly we found ourselves on opposite sides of the veil that separates the physical world from the world of spirit. This wasn’t the plan. What the HELL had happened??!!

I thought I knew grief.

Then I found myself trying to raise my Beloved from the dead. Literally. I literally spent three months trying to raise my Beloved from the dead. As insane as it sounds, raising my Beloved from the dead was the only thing that kept me sane. Keeping hope alive that there was still a chance, that he’d still come home with me, was the only thing that kept me alive. Otherwise, I would have become one of those people who literally die of a broken heart. I wouldn’t have survived the first day, or the first week, or the first month, or the first three months. I stayed up all night reading books on raising the dead. I prayed special prayers. I did affirmations and special ceremonies and held the vision. I insisted to close friends that he had risen from the dead. Some believed me, some didn’t. But I was terrified that if people didn’t believe he was still alive, they’d stop praying for him. They’d stop holding the vision. I believe in the power of prayer and visualizing and manifesting, and I had seen that power in action many times in my life, so in my mind, the more people who were holding that vision, the greater the chances of success. I also still truly believed that he would be raised from the dead, so there was no sense in telling people he had died, because it was only temporary. He’d be back to life soon, and life would go back to normal.

After three months without seeing my Beloved rise from the dead, I began researching time travel. Perhaps I could go back and change things. Perhaps I could prevent this dreadful thing from happening in the first place. I was constantly finding ways to keep hope alive, which was still the only thing keeping me alive.

I thought I knew grief.

I never really understood until now that grief is actually multiple emotions all in one, often all at the same time. Grief is also fear and it is also anger. I found myself having angry outbursts that I had never before experienced in my life. When my printer malfunctioned for the LAST time, it ended up at the bottom of the pool. When the handset of my internet phone wouldn’t hang up properly, I beat it against the phone until the display screen shattered and no longer displayed the name or number of the person who was calling, so I stopped answering the phone. I beat the crap out of my cell phone until the display screen cracked and then I stopped using it entirely. I ransacked my own office. I threw things. I broke things. And I did a lot of screaming and wailing. I often yelled at the top of my lungs when in the car. I yelled at my GPS. I yelled at other drivers. I yelled at parking spaces that were too narrow for even the smallest of cars to realistically fit into. I yelled at people who hadn’t parked straight and ended up using two parking spaces. I yelled at parking lots that didn’t have enough spaces to begin with. I yelled at people who didn’t use their blinkers. I yelled at God. I yelled at the Universe. I yelled at myself. I mean, really YELLED. At the TOP OF MY LUNGS. When people sent me emails saying they didn’t believe that my Beloved was really alive, or that I needed to make a formal announcement, I was FURIOUS. How DARE they stop holding the vision of my Beloved being alive?!  How DARE they accuse my Beloved of being dead?!! He and I don’t die on each other. That’s not what we do. I never believed he was going to die. For months after he had died, as crazy as it sounds, I still didn’t believe he was really going to die. I’m not a psychotic person. I’m about as sane and logical as they come. I’m not a stupid person. I actually have a very high IQ. I understand the difference between fantasy and reality. Yet I was coping the only way I could. My body/mind/spirit was in survival mode, and it knew what it needed to do to somehow get me through this.

I thought I knew grief.

For the first time ever, I realized that grief is also fear. Fear is the opposite of love. Intense love had been taken from me and replaced with intense fear. Fear about the future. Fear of facing the next 50+ years alone. One day I was trying to figure out exactly what was this physical feeling inside my body that gripped me 24/7. I was trying to figure out how to describe it. It finally hit me. It was like that feeling you get when someone you love dearly is in the ICU, or in surgery, or late coming home and you can’t reach them on the phone and you fear the worst. That feeling of terror that grips your gut and stays there, makes your heart race, tenses your whole body, puts a lump in your throat that practically strangles you, and nearly takes your breath away. That horrible intense whole-body feeling that doesn’t loosen its grip until your loved one wakes up alive, or comes out of surgery, or comes home safe and sound, and then it releases your body with a profound sigh of relief. This was that feeling but without the part where it goes away in a sigh of relief. It stays and moves in and becomes who you are. At that point, you’re just a living, breathing bundle of terror. You don’t know what joy is anymore. You don’t know what laughter is anymore. All you know is terror. It becomes you, and you become it. You live in fear. Constant fear. Fear that the unthinkable not only MIGHT happen; it HAS happened: your Beloved really isn’t coming home after all. The temporary fear of “What if this terrible thing really happens?” becomes the permanent terror of, “Oh my God, this terrible thing REALLY HAPPENED!!!”

I thought I knew grief.

I was well versed in the “stages of grief.” But somehow I had always thought of them as a checklist, and the job of a grieving person was to get through each of them, one by one, until all the boxes were checked and life went back to normal. In reality, the stages of grief come and go in waves and in random order, sometimes one at a time and sometimes all at the same time. You’re in one stage one moment and then you’re in another stage in the next moment, and then you’re back to the one you thought you already got through. It’s like a roller coaster through Hell. A living Hell.

I thought I knew grief.

All of the types of grief therapy and grief support that are supposed to work sometimes don’t. They just made me feel worse. I found no comfort in words that were supposed to comfort. Words meant to soothe just cut like knives. Words like, “He’s in a better place” just incited furious responses of “But I’M NOT!!!” Words like, “His spirit is all around us now” just conjured up emotionally devastating mental images of my Beloved no longer being intact, but rather torn up into a million pieces and splattered all over the Universe, never to be put back together again. When well-meaning people sent sympathy cards in spite of my insistence that there was nothing to sympathize, I refused to read them, fearing that seeing those words in black and white might somehow etch them into my reality and take away my hope that I might really be able to raise my Beloved from the dead. When I made the mistake of actually opening and reading a card, it opened a floodgate of tears and pain and anger and rage like I never knew one body could contain. When I tried various forms of grief therapy, it often just made me feel worse. When I read books that were intended to comfort and discovered that they were telling me to say goodbye to my Beloved and move forward, I dug my proverbial heels into the ground and said, “HELL NO!”  When I listened to grief support CDs, the sad soothing tone of the narrator and the depressing music often just made me feel more miserable than I already did, if that’s even possible.

I thought I knew grief.

I once loved music and believed it was very healing. I now hated it. Instrumental music made me too sad, and music with lyrics brought up memories and reminded me of the way things were, conjuring up images of slow dancing or ballroom dancing or freestyle boogie or cranking it up and playing air guitars with my Beloved. Images of laughing and singing on road trips with my Beloved. Now hearing that same music was absolutely devastating. If I got into the car and accidentally hit the “on” button and it started playing music, I found myself yelling “Shut the FUCK up!” as I immediately punched the “off” button. If I had to go out to an appointment at the vet or the dentist, if they had the NERVE to play MUSIC in the waiting room, it was a living Hell. I tried to drown out the music with distracting thoughts inside my own head, silently yelling “Shut the FUCK UP!” over and over in my mind. If that didn’t work, I went outside. No one had a clue of the emotional hell going on inside my own mind. I put on a “happy face,” was friendly to everyone I met, acting on the outside like everything was completely normal and wonderful. If I happened to run into someone I knew and they asked me how my husband was doing, I said, “He’s doing great – thanks for asking!” More smiles. I kept up this front for as long as I could, and then I raced to the car or home and collapsed, as it was exhausting and torturous to keep up this front for prolonged periods of time. But the only alternative would have been to respond with, “He’s dead. He died. My whole world has been torn apart, the rug has been pulled out from under me, and I honestly don’t know how I can go on.” This would open up a floodgate of convulsive sobbing and tears that I couldn’t allow to happen in public. I already knew what that looked like in private, and it was nothing I wanted to subject innocent strangers or even acquaintances or actual friends to. People usually don’t know how to talk to someone in grief. They don’t teach this stuff in school. So people fall back on cliches they’ve heard, or things that are supposed to be helpful but in reality just make the griever feel worse. At least that’s the case with this kind of grief. It’s hard on the griever, and it’s very awkward for the kindhearted person trying to help. If people knew that I was in grief, they might think that I must need a hug, so they’d hug me, not knowing that the only hug I want is the one I can’t have: the warm, strong familiar hug of my Beloved. So I felt it was better, for their sake and mine, not to go there. Other than essential appointments, I became a recluse. I was in hiding. I was hiding from music. I was hiding from painful social interactions. I desperately needed the whole world to just leave me alone for awhile and let me do this in the only way that worked for me. Grief is like a fingerprint. No two people’s experience of it are exactly the same.

I thought I knew grief.

I was a hermit. I needed the world to stop interfering with my process. Unfortunately and ironically, because my Beloved and I had lived lives in service to the world, now that I was going through the most painful experience of my life – more painful than I could have possibly imagined – more pain than I thought a human being could go through and even survive – that same world we had served for so long was now looming in the background, threatening to pounce if I made one wrong move. When you live a public life, you’re not really allowed to honor your own privacy, and the world at large isn’t willing to honor it either. They want to make your business their business. In some cases, you’re expected to announce the very personal hardships of your own personal life for all the world to see. Experts say you’re supposed to wait a year before making any big decisions when dealing with this kind of grief. Deciding exactly how to make an announcement of this caliber is a big decision. A very big decision. I knew I’d only have one chance to decide exactly how to do it, and then I’d have to live with it, because I wouldn’t be able to go back and undo it if it came out wrong. If I announced my private business to the world too soon, I’d likely do it wrong in my incapacitated state, and it would incite a backlash of cruel people who would just LOVE to slam my Beloved and everything he stood for. If I waited until I was actually ready to come out of my cocoon and do it right, I’d be criticized for waiting too long, or accused of hiding something. I knew I was in a no-win situation. I also realized we live in a world of conformity where unique and ethical lifestyle choices are always in question. Vegans aren’t allowed to have cancer. Raw fooders aren’t allowed to get sick. Health conscious people aren’t ever allowed to have anything wrong with them. The rest of the population can be wrought with cancer (not to mention heart disease and diabetes and a whole host of other health conditions) and they’re treated with sympathy. But when health conscious vegans have cancer or any other health condition, it’s blamed on their diet. If veganism and health products were actually the cause of cancer, then that would be great news for the rest of the population, because that would mean that the vast majority of people would never have to worry about cancer. Such is not the case. If my Beloved’s diet and supplements had caused his demise, then I would have died too, as we were both on the same diet and supplement regime for 25+ years. But I know the world we live in and the industry my Beloved is known in. In a world of good versus evil, so to speak, the evil seem to enjoy going after the good while making it appear that it is the other way around. They want to make your hardship their glory. They want to kick you when you’re down. They want to make you wrong. And because they feel that your private life is their business, the times when you need space and privacy the most are the times when you’ll end up being criticized the most for it. The truth is, I couldn’t even bring myself to announce anything to my own close friends and family. Even putting it into words was too devastating to entertain. That would make it too real. My pain was raw and deep, and I just needed everyone to leave me alone for awhile. Immediate family already knew, and they were honoring my process. They were going through their own process. I couldn’t even think about dealing with public relations or what would become of the company, or how the company would pay its legal debts, or even my own future. None of it mattered anymore. The only thing that mattered was preserving the honor of my Beloved, the most kindhearted, generous, selfless, and compassionate man I have ever known. This wasn’t about a PR campaign, or a company, or public opinion. This was about two real living, breathing human beings who were each other’s world, who had tragically and unexpectedly become separated, causing more pain than one can even fathom if they haven’t been through it themselves.

I thought I knew grief.

When you don’t think you’re going to die, you don’t get your affairs in order. When your affairs aren’t in order, someone else has to handle them post-mortem. The paperwork involved in getting one’s affairs in order is more time consuming and complicated than I ever realized, especially when your life is as busy, complicated, and multifaceted as ours was and still is. So I never really took actual time off. Along with grieving, I was still working. I had a lot of responsibilities still on my plate. I was now also doing all his jobs, all my jobs, all his chores, all my chores, and handling all the required paperwork that was coming at me because of his passing. So I was still at my desk in my home office all day virtually every day, dealing with credit card companies and files and reports and taxes and other things that just kept coming at me. And all of it was constantly reminding me of a harsh reality that I didn’t even want to believe, which made me feel even worse. Life wasn’t letting me take time to just grieve. It was forcing me to grieve while simultaneously doing ten other things at once.


I thought I knew grief.

My home was silent. A home once filled with music and laughter was now silent. Deafeningly silent. I needed something to drown out the silence. Something to drown out my own thoughts. I decided to give music another chance, but I knew it had to be music that didn’t remind me of him. I tried to recall the music from my high school days, a million years ago, before I had found my Beloved. Music that didn’t bring up memories that I couldn’t allow in. Music that I could resonate with in my current state. Music that could be a companion, whose lyrics spoke what I was feeling. Music that expressed on my behalf, to help share the burden. Only one song fit that bill: Fade to Black by Metallica, so I found it on YouTube and played it on my computer, over and over, for hours on end as I worked at my desk. Whenever it got to the long guitar solo at the end, I started it over. I needed the lyrics. I needed those words to be the only words in my world for awhile, because those words understood me. Then I ordered the song online and put it on our stereo in the middle of the house and cranked it up. Really loud. DEAFENINGLY LOUD. I looped it and cranked it for hours and hours and hours, over and over. Somehow, I couldn’t turn it down. It had to be LOUD. I played that song over and over, over and over, only turning it off at bedtime. This went on for days. Then my ears began ringing so loudly that I feared I’d lose my hearing. So I turned it off. And my home was silent once again. Deafeningly silent.


I thought I knew grief.

I’ve never been a suicidal person, but when a small earthquake hit in the middle of the night, for a moment I got excited, thinking, ”Maybe this is FINALLY the BIG ONE – here to take me out of this Hell!” When a sonic boom soared through the sky overhead when I was in bed, I seriously thought, “Awesome – maybe World War 3 just began, and a bomb is about to put me out of my misery!” When I heard the news that some people were murdered in their home not far from me, I felt sad for the victims and their families, but also deeply disappointed that the murderer had gone to their home instead of mine. If someone else killed me, it would provide me a much-welcomed exit because I could never actually kill myself. As enticing as suicide sounded, I never actually entertained the idea for three reasons: 1. I would NEVER want to put my family through even a tiny dose of this kind of grief;  2. It might land me in a different level of the afterlife from where where my Beloved was, thereby defeating my whole purpose in going there;  and 3. If he did rise from the dead and come back to me, only to discover that my own body was now lifeless, it would be a very tragic Romeo and Juliet story, and we’d still be on opposite sides of the veil. So I’d have to stick it out here on Earth, as miserable as I was 24/7.

I thought I knew grief.

Never before had I spent so much time making comparisons like, why is THAT person still alive, doing nothing good for the world, and my Beloved isn’t. Why is THAT person still alive, causing so much harm to others, and my Beloved isn’t. Why are THOSE people alive, and my Beloved isn’t. This led to creating mental bargains. “Okay, God, how about this: Let’s trade those  six – eight – ten – whatever – worthless lives for this one good one. Send this one back, and we’ll all be glad to send that other dozen over. They’re doing no good here, and their souls don’t appear to have the capacity for any more growth in their current existence anyway.” Sometimes this even degraded to, I wish THAT person had died instead. And on and on went these negative and non-productive thought processes. This inevitably led to relentless rounds of coulda-woulda-shoulda that nearly drove me insane. Painful images played over and over in my head, which led to more could-woulda-shouldas. Eventually I would yell, “STOP THINKING!!!!! Don’t think! Don’t feel! Just be. Just do. NO THINKING!!!” Then I forced myself to do positive affirmations and fill my mind with something empowering for as long as I could sustain it before the negativity forced its way back in. I talked to myself incessantly, in a frenzied pace, like a madwoman, saying the same things over and over again. As I walked across the room, I heard myself saying, “I’m walking across the room... I’m walking across the room... I’m walking across the room...” This would continue until the next task, and then it was “I’m sitting at my desk... I’m sitting at my desk....” or “I’m filling out this form...I’m filling out this form...” etc. And on and on it went. Eventually I realized it was my mind’s way of keeping me in the Now. What seemed like the actions of a person who had finally lost it were in reality getting me out of my downward spiral of coulda-woulda-shouldas and into the Now. Not the past. Not the future. Now. My body/mind/spirit seemed to know what it was doing, and it was able to do so better than any book or CD or other attempt at working through this. But it needed its own space and it needed its own time.

I thought I knew grief.

I became dependent on anti-anxiety herbs just to get me from one dose to the next. I had fits of sobbing for literally hours on end until there were no tears left to cry. I spent a lot of time hyperventilating while rocking back and forth in the fetal position on the hard cold floor. Even when I sat at my computer and worked, I moaned and rocked back and forth uncontrollably like a madwoman. I’d have periods of quiet and then suddenly, unexpectedly, I’d get triggered by something – something I saw or heard or read or came across – and then I’d spontaneously burst into tears. I’ve never been one to cry very easily, so this was new for me. I’d go from screaming to deep wailing to moaning. Sometimes I’d literally cry all night long without stopping. In the morning I’d lie there for hours trying to find a reason to get out of bed, then finally force myself to do so because I needed to take care of something. I’d try to exercise, but then collapse on the floor because I was just in so much emotional agony that I couldn’t even hold myself up. As the day wore on, I began praying for exhaustion so that I could have a few solid hours of blissful ignorance in slumberland before being awakened by harsh cold reality and having to face this reality yet again. Each time I awakened from sleep, it was like being dealt a fresh blow. When I first awakened, there was a mere split second of blissful ignorance, but then I was attacked by reality all over again. It was like losing him over and over again, night after night after night. When I reached over to the other side of the bed, instead of feeling the warm safe body that had been there for nearly 26 years, I felt nothing, which was horrifying. All I had now was a bag of my Beloved’s hair, which I had collected from his hairbrush, and his lifeless photograph.

I thought I knew grief.

My heart was empty. My heart was broken. I had never before realized how much a broken heart physically hurts. My heart literally, physically ached all the time. Sometimes it was more of a stabbing pain. It felt like my heart had been brutally ripped out of my chest, torn into pieces, thrown on the floor, and stomped on. I also felt like I had been punched in the stomach, and my throat had a permanent lump in it. I never knew that this level of extreme grief had so many other physical symptoms that I had never experienced before. I didn’t know that grief could cause things to taste different, or that it could cause dehydration, dry skin, shortness of breath, or other symptoms that had now become a regular part of my everyday existence. My appetite went away, and when I forced myself to eat anyway, I didn’t really digest it. Not even a simple piece of fruit. For months on end, even the simplest foods just ran right through me without really absorbing, and I began losing weight until I got down to 92 pounds. I began researching the physical symptoms of extreme grief and realized I had them all.

I thought I knew grief.

I was living in territory that I had never known before. Thankfully I had my mom, who was my rock. She too was extremely close to my Beloved and felt her own pain over this loss, but she made it her mission to focus on somehow getting me through this. If not for her getting me out of bed and keeping me fed, I probably would have starved to death. She kept me company, even overnight for the first few months, and she provided as much support as any human being could possibly do under these circumstances. I was grateful to have her, but I was also terrified. I was afraid I might lose her too. And the rest of my family. Nothing felt safe. Nothing felt secure. I was waiting for the next shoe to drop. Thankfully, it didn’t. I gradually found grief outlets that worked for me, at least to a tiny degree, and that was progress. I had never stopped praying, but now I also had an increasing collection of other tools working for me instead of against me. The extreme physical symptoms lessened, the weight started coming back on, and instead of just shutting down as I had hoped, my damn resilient body was recovering in spite of me. I was just starting to come out of my shell. Preparing to take the next step. And then the other shoe dropped. It was a different shoe than I was fearing. I didn’t lose anyone else, thankfully, but the outside world caved in on me and invaded the personal life of my Beloved and me. It felt like fresh wounds had been cut, and acid had been dumped into them. I am still weathering this new storm and doing the best I can under the circumstances. I feel terrible about all the stress this has caused others, as I would have preferred to just go on living in my own private Hell than to have the details of my private life spread over the internet and used to dishonor my Beloved, everything he stood for, and everything he worked so hard for, thereby affecting the lives of countless others, saddening some, frightening others, and angering still others. I want to apologize to them all, but I fear that my words will just be used against me. Against my Beloved. Against everything we created together. I don’t know how long this new storm will last, so I’ve completely withdrawn once again, protecting my fragile and broken heart from a sometimes cruel and vicious world. I am not ready to be hugged. I am not ready to read sympathy cards that might tell me things I don’t want to hear. I may never be ready to read those cards. I’m just taking it one day at a time, trusting the inner voice that has somehow guided me through this nightmare thus far. But it’s by no means over.

Up until six months ago, I thought I knew grief.
In hindsight, I realize I didn’t really know grief at all.
Now I know grief.

Kim Sheridan, September 14, 2016

 

Where did the name Sheridan come from?

About the founders

 


Dear Friends, Family, HealthForce Team, Fans, and Strangers Alike,

I am terribly sorry that so many of you had to learn of this devastating news via the cruel and heartless actions and false assumptions of those who have chosen to turn my personal nightmare into vicious rumors [regarding why it took so long to announce this publicly]. I am currently not in the space to even entertain the thought of planning a funeral, but if/when I am, I will be sure to announce the details to family, friends, fans, and the entire HealthForce team.  

To Those Who Have Chosen to Initiate and Spread Rumors, and All Those With a Mob Mentality Who so Readily Believe What You're Told,

I forgive you, for I realize that you truly don’t know any better.
 
Kim Sheridan
September 18, 2016

 


UPDATE: OCTOBER 2016

Dear Friends, Family, HealthForce Team, Fans, and Strangers Alike, 

Thank you so very much for the outpouring of love and support that has done so much to help heal all the damage done by vicious rumors spread several weeks ago, filled with false assumptions as to why it took so long for this announcement to be made. I have read all the comments people have made, and I wish I had time to respond to them all. Regarding those who were unwilling to honor our personal privacy during this very difficult time, and those who made false assumptions and spread rumors and lies based on this invasion of privacy, as well as those who believed what they were told and thus said and did hurtful things, please know that I have truly forgiven them all, as I do realize that everyone does the best they know how. And the outpouring of love and support from others has more than made up for it – so, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I read somewhere that it was once a standard custom for widows to stay closed up in their home for a full year just to grieve in privacy. I get it. I really could have used that year. My year got cut in half. Nevertheless, ready or not, I’m back. The German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, once said, “That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.” Perhaps that's true. Between the nightmare I’ve been navigating over the past six months and the events of the past few weeks, I’ve come about as close to being killed, figuratively speaking, as a person can. Yet I’m still here. And the strength I have found has enabled me to rise to the occasion at a time when I just wanted to retreat. Do I still feel like crying all the time? Yes. Does my heart still ache beyond description? All the time. I've just learned to live with it. There are still important things to do.

So, after careful consideration, I am hereby officially announcing that I have stepped into the position of HealthForce CEO. I will continue to do everything in my power to carry on the mission of HealthForce, and to uphold my beloved husband’s honor and all that he stood for – all that he still stands for.

With gratitude,
Kim Sheridan, Co-founder, HealthForce


UPDATE: MARCH 14, 2017

One year later...

Today is the anniversary of the first worst day of my life. Whoever said "time heals all wounds" obviously didn't understand about PTSD or complicated grief. In cases such as these, time often just equals more accumulated days of intense emotional suffering. Unfortunately, in my case there have been multiple shocking and highly stressful events before, during, and after the loss that have nearly pushed me over the edge at times. I was a very strong and independent person before this happened; but I was/am also part of a very rare and healthy bonded relationship of the highest caliber that one doesn't just "get over." This has become a Dark Night of the Soul that I am still working my way through. On the outside, people see me as strong and highly functional. But on the inside, I'm still processing a tremendous amount of pain. In the larger scheme of things, my soul understands that there is so much to learn and so much to teach from this experience. However, it will be quite some time before I'm ready for that next step. Six months ago, I had hoped to be ready to hold a Memorial Service for the one-year anniversary. However that date is now here, and I'm not at all in the space for such an undertaking. I am singlehandedly juggling so many responsibilities that I literally do not have the time to plan such an event even if I were emotionally ready. So, instead, a Virtual Memorial page has been launched as of today, and I am hoping that will suffice for all those whose lives have been touched by my Beloved. I have received many kind letters and emails from people letting me know how much he touched them, helped them, inspired them, and more. Please know that those letters and emails mean the world to me, and I am very grateful to those who have taken the time to share. Meanwhile, rest assured that I am continuing to uphold the mission of HealthForce and will not allow anything to compromise that. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support.

Web Marketing
Joomla SEF URLs by Artio