It is almost Spring, time for people to go for walks holding hands...yes, another of those triggers that gets me sad again. Why do I feel so lost and bereft when I see that happening? It is almost three years and down I go into that black hole again. But I have a ladder called HOPE and I climb back out again. I hate that the triggers are still there under the cover of a sunny day so they are ready to be released any time I see or hear something that triggers that lonely sadness feeling. I say hear because it is also the sound of that intimate laughter that says "we are a couple" as well as people stroll past. Just to listen to them chatting you can tell they are special to each other. I want to learn to rejoice in other people's happiness instead of feeling jealous.
I am expecting a visit from Ray's sister-in-law, his older brother's wife on Friday. I am thrilled and excited that she is calling in as she lives in Queensland a long way north of here and I haven't seen her for four years, her daughter lives in Sydney and will bring her here for a visit. But there is also that part of me that knows we will rehash Ray's death, and the years in between and while I can hold back the tears talking to her on the phone I may not be able to do so when she is here in person. I know other people want me to be "over it" and I want to be "over it" too, at least the tearful part.
In a busy week I hardly have time to breathe, people to see, places to go, this week is the opposite, only one really engaging activity so I have packed it full of yard work. if anything I am going to bed too tired to sleep so this morning counted the hours from 1am and got up at 5am. That puts a lot of day ahead of me but I would rather be up than laying in bed tossing and turning. I guess a lot of you are like me in that. I can go through the day well but from time to time not the nights as the nightmares come back again and I wake up in tears. Almost three years and that still happens.
So I have to keep packing the weeks with activities when I can, learning to relax and allow myself to think it is okay when I am alone. It is as if I am having to do this retraining my brain over and over as it still does not feel like a natural state. I know some people just love to be alone and retreat to their little home and enjoy the silence and the freedom to do what they want, eat when they want, sleep when they want but that is not me. I like to be around people. I don't particularly enjoy being alone. Even in those last months of Ray's life I never felt that aloneness. I didn't feel it until he actually died even though the last year or so he was in the nursing home, I still felt his presence here.
People who see me casually say how well I look now. It is strange isn't it that you can look so well and feel so miserable at the same time? Please don't get me wrong I am not depressed, not desperate, not unbalanced, I am just a little sadder than usual. I know if you read my last blog "Dreading September" you will know why, all the hype for Father's Day, then Ray's birthday, then the anniversary of his death. It seems so trite and yet it is all so emotional. Even now a week before I feel the strain of it all. And who can I tell this to? who will understand, only other widow/ers. None of my still married friends, none of my family because you see I should be over it by now!
I encountered another widow yesterday at a meeting I went to, some one I hadn't met before, and she was still reciting all the bad things that had happened in her life. I guess it is natural once you have had a major event like the death of your husband to see the universe as being against you and I try not to do that. I try to look cheerful and act happy at least while I am out in public. I don't see that as any particular virtue but something that makes interactions easier and more comfortable, I try to remember "it is not about me" as I listen to other people's stories. And it isn't, it is actually about all of us, we all have stories to tell. As my church work involves a lot of listening believe me I have plenty of time to practice this.
So, try to fill the days with something interesting, eat good food, get some exercise, get plenty of rest. I am giving myself all the advice I would give to others. It works in a way, this positive self-talk, but I sill say "roll on October".