As time continues to trickle away behind me, I find that there is this illusion of distance looming out in front of me, and has been for some time. When I first lost my wife reaching a place where I could truly be happy again seemed very far away, there was no illusion, it was clear as day that those mountains were far far away. As the weeks and months started to fall away, the mountain started to appear close, like if I could just keep up this pace for a little longer I would reach the foot of the mountain and then I had only to get passed it and things would feel better. But as I continue to slow march toward that destination the mountains do not seem to be getting closer, the obstacles in the way seem to simply be offering more ups and downs than the seemingly flat path that I observed from further back. The dips in the road acting as moments when I just want to sit in one place and not move at all, but knowing that if I do that I may never get up again, I plod on forward trying to get to the next crest in hopes that it will be one of the last.
I know, somewhere deep within, that the mountain is not truly reachable, it marks the culmination of a life well lived. Instead I need to erase the need to reach it and start to live in the here and now, find happiness in the little bumps and cycles of life. Enjoy the flower growing in the crevice on the roadway. See the beauty in the little things. It is hard, my wife really was the person who did this so well. She would pause and look at a bug crawling on a rock or a flower and just be stuck in a moment of awe over such a little thing, when I was off trying to find the next big surprise around the corner. Finding a way to channel my wife's wonder, her awe in the little things in life can bring happiness back to my world.
So the question is what is stopping me? My simple minded answer is that the pain of reflecting on the fact that this is my wife's way of looking at life is part of what is stopping me. When taking a step forward feels like shoving myself 2 steps back it is hard to take comfort in it initially. There are other things that also are holding me in place. I have recently started thinking of how to get out and meet new people, perhaps consider a new relationship with someone and my mind instantly goes to the betrayal that I feel for even considering it and I curl up in my little ball and stop moving. I recognize that for some people 3 months was long enough and for others 3 years is what it took, and for still others never again was the right answer. I don't really know where on that spectrum I truly fit, but I know that never will likely not work for me and 3 months was clearly not long enough as I am now at 13.
And so I keep marching toward the mountain that I may never reach, and trying to find ways, as hard as it is, to find happiness along the way. I will continue to try to paint on my happy face each day knowing that if I fake it long enough eventually it will become a habit and then it will feel real. Most of all, I know that I must learn to define my happiness for myself not through another person. I made that mistake in a way before, not that my marriage was a mistake, but that I allowed happiness to be wholly defined by my interactions with one other person and now that I have lost that, I have lost my tether and now must find a way to reconnect myself.
Don't let the mountain define you, don't let the target be your only way to reach happiness, find happiness in the path along the way, and if you must, pause to take a breath and enjoy what you see, but remember to start moving again. That is what I must tell myself and hopefully that is what I will do. But so many things are easier to say than to do. Good luck on your journey as I am sure you all are wishing me good luck on mine.
Hope everyone is having at least a peaceful if not happy holiday season.