It is March 24 and I ponder the blooming spring amidst 3 feet of still-frozen snow. Two years ago, Jim and I were patting ourselves on the backs for buying a motorcycle trailer. He and our sons would have lots of fun trailering their motorcycles all over Ontario – doing the father and son thing – the “man thing” together. He was limping a little on that “still weak left leg”, but stronger than he had been. The radiation on his lower back seemed to be the ticket to shrink those cancer cells in his hips and spine. Now he could do something with his summer – something active, something that meant he was still here and still alive.
Jim always was good at setting our next goal as a family and I was always a willing follower. He certainly did more exciting things than I could ever do and I got lots of laughs and joy just from watching him do his thing. I did not watch hockey, but I watched him watch hockey. I would not ride the bikes or even accompany him and the boys on their new adventure, but I would watch him think it through and prepare and I would listen attentively to his wonderful stories when he got back. I know that sounds really lame – I must be the dullest person on earth.
Now, two years into “alone” I wonder what to do with myself as I once again seem to be dwelling on the unreal reality of his absence. Once again, I come to the abrupt honesty that he is gone and I am alone. Once again, I realize that being the survivor is not necessarily a good thing.
I am sure that Jim saw me as the lucky one when he knew he was dying, and maybe I did too – but not anymore – there is no luck here – there is no joy here and there is an unreal sense that what happened really could not have happened. I know better, but I cannot seem to actually feel better.
I can advise you, if you also are bereaved, to get involved with your kids and get a pet. I can tell you to wrap yourself in the love of your family. I can witness the fact that being busy and being creative in ways you have always enjoyed can be great distractions, but I cannot identify the exact recipe for grief relief . By that I mean really genuine – deep down honest grief relief. There does not seem to be a formula or a magic potion or activity that gets you free from the you that you used to be – that let’s you just “be” in the present and work from there.
I admit that moving away from our home and into the lives of my grandkids has given me a new lease on life. It is only in going back to that home now, having been away a number of months, that I am beginning to renig on my self-promise to start over. I do not know how those hallowed walls of home will treat me: how those beautiful family memories everywhere will tug at my heart . I am already shrinking back into grief a little just contemplating the trip home.
Is it still home for me now? I will need to think about that when I get there.
Will I stop shrinking back into the past? into grief? I will let you know………