OK, so I was away for about two months at my “cottage” – actually a second home near my daughter and her family. I wasn’t sure how I would feel coming home to this house – a testament to the marriage and life together that was shared by me and my late husband. I wasn’t sure that the memories would not scream at me when I entered the door and guilt would not overcome my senses. Should I feel bad about being away and not caring for this place? Should I feel guilty for escaping, even for a short time from living in the shadow of my life.
For those who have been following my blog and understand my confusion about how to proceed with my day- to- day life as it is, I would like to tell you that, to my surprise, I was actually not the least emotional about this house when I walked in the door – after all, it is a building – four walls and a roof.
Memories did not attack me as I thought they might. Instead, I checked the sump pump and replaced light bulbs. I saw this house as I did my new one -an investment, a responsibility – my house.
Was it still “my home”? I have come to realize that a house is not a home without the family that makes it breathe – that makes it a viable, living entity. A house is only a house without its people. Memories of this place as “home” were hurting me because I did not want to let that “old” family go. I loved my family – my husband, my kids, my pets, my role as a mom, wife and nurturer. I wanted it to stay just as it was – with all of its challenges. I was refusing to go on – I still am in some ways.
The simple fact that I did not become a puddle on the floor when I returned home after my vacation to the north during the worst winter in a decade caused me to heave a great sigh of relief to say the least. Now I think I may be able to look forward instead of backward. I am becoming free to smile, to plan, to share, to love.
I dreaded the thought of coming into this beautiful, memory-rich house and taking the risk of having an overwhelming sense of loss once again – that did not happen. A step, I think, toward healing that enormous pain that we call grief.
The Verdict: Not Guilty