I spent a week in NYC visiting my adult daughter. The best part of the trip was being ghost-free. When I opened my eyes in the morning I didn’t see Rick’s side of the bed, empty. There weren’t constant reminders of our life together everywhere I looked. I was sleeping in a different bed, opening another refrigerator, doing different things.
Taking a vacation from my life was healing. When I came back home, I cleaned like I haven’t done since Rick got sick. I washed floors and reorganized items and vacuumed. I still haven’t touched any of Rick’s stuff, and there are still those piles of papers and documents from his illness and death, but they are neatly arranged now and pushed back into a corner.
The frightening part was realizing that, yes, I will move on with my life. That’s good. That’s the goal. But I need to figure out how to do so in a way that is respectful of what we had. I felt so terribly lonely when I came home and walked in to an empty house. I don’t want that in my life; but I also don’t want to rush forward so quickly that I lose what we had.
2. New Year’s Eve
We were together every New Year’s Eve from 2004 to 2011: eight years. We always had a fancy meal at home; I like to cook and it was more pleasant than battling crowds at restaurants. Some years we went out after dinner, others we stayed home, but it was always a nice evening. Most of the time we were home by midnight or shortly after.
This year I went to a friend’s house for a very casual, pleasant gathering. I left at 11; I just couldn’t take being out at midnight. I was alone. It really hit me. There were so many years before I met Rick where New Year’s Eve was sad and lonely, a time of reflecting on my life and hoping it would be better in the next year. I’m back to that, again. It feels like a failure; not due to my actions, but a failure that fate has provided me.
I don’t have any eloquent way to put this, and there aren’t any meaningful insights that I can come up with. I just feel cheated. When Rick & I first met and were dating I felt like I’d won the lottery. He was funny, sweet, nice, handsome, and treated me well. I expected the winnings to last longer.
3. Why can’t I get off the couch?
It’s a gorgeous day; bright blue sky, sun is shining; the snow is even melting a little. I should go for a walk but I can’t seem to make myself move. I know I’ll regret it tomorrow when I’m stuck at work, but it seems I’ve been glued down. I finally made myself get up and walk, but only for a few minutes.
Lately it’s been really hard to make myself do anything. I’ve stopped calling friends to go out, and I’ve stopped exercising, and I’ve stopped doing anything social other than looking at Facebook. I want to be a hermit. I don’t want to face anyone. I just want to go hide.
4. I’ve never been good at “living in the moment”. I recall having anxiety attacks in my early twenties over what I’d be doing when I was 40. I’ve always been worried about what the future will bring, and sad over what I view as missed opportunities in the past. Lately, though, I’ve been better about that. Maybe it’s grief, perhaps this is the one plus in all the rotten shit; but I’m able to focus on the “now” in a way I never could before (of course, it just figures I’m able to do so only when my “now” is so dreadful).
I’m convinced I’ll be okay at some point, not now, certainly, but at some time. I will recover and find life engaging, joyful, worth participating in – just not now. When that particular point will be doesn’t really bother me much; I just know it will happen, later.