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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. 

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Comment by Starfish5 on January 1, 2019 at 5:12pm

I can totally relate to this. My husband and I were friends, partners, soul mates. We did everything together. So now, 14 months after his death, I am slowly coming to grips with what is supposed to be my life. It's a hard, hard thing that most people are clueless about. It's not all their fault. They just haven't walked the path yet. They will, and if they've loved deeply, they will grieve the hardest. This is the most difficult thing I've ever done in my life. A lot of my friends say, "oh, you're so brave"..... yeah, that's very overrated!  It's hard for me to look down the road and see another close, meaningful relationship. I just don't know. 

Sometimes I feel too broken to consider myself as available to be in a relationship. I too am working on defining what happiness is for me, which is strangely more difficult to ascertain than I first thought. 

One thing I have done is join Grief Share, which is a (nationwide) Christian-based grief support group. This has helped me a lot; not solved all my issues by any stretch but it is good to be able to talk with others who've undergone traumatic loss. And that's exactly what this is. We're all on this road we never wanted to be on in the first place. I am going into 2019 with the idea of trying to find a life I will like and can be an active part of. It's a tall order but I'm hopeful to at least see some glimpses of this in the coming year. 

Comment by sis on December 22, 2018 at 2:57pm

Beautifully put, and very thought provoking for me. God Bless

Comment by DIVA70 on December 16, 2018 at 2:32pm

I always find your comments so encouraging....maybe that's because my husband's name was Tony and he was an encourager too. I too have felt as if I were making two steps forward only to slide back down and seemingly have to start all over again. My Tony and I had 50 wonderful years together. I am now 70 but I always felt that he would be my one and only. I still feel that way as I go into my eighth month without him ,,,,but I know of others who have gone on to find a second chance at love and once again found the joy of having a life partner. I think its all about taking it one day at a time and trusting yourself to make the right choices for you as you navigate learning more about you. I certainly am learning more about me. I miss my husband so much but I want to look forward and focus on the possibilities that still exist for the retired, mature, independent spirit hat I am. Thank goodness my Tony and I had plenty of time to talk and we did not hesitate to talk about life without one another. As much as it hurts I know he wants me to enjoy like and live it to the fullest. Listening to you talk about your wife it seems as if she would have wanted the same for you. So go for it! There will be more hills to climbs and plenty of valleys along the way but while you're traveling this road we call life embrace it and enjoy! Have a blessed holiday season.

Comment by Rainy (Misty) on December 13, 2018 at 9:52am

Well said Tony and yes, best of luck to you.

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