A young widow in my on-line support group, who lost her husband to depression very recently, said something this week that really got me thinking. She had one of those moments that happen in the early days where you kind of forget your partner has gone - she picked up her phone to text him about something and then it hit her hard, she could never contact him and tell him her news again.
I had forgotten that feeling. After 16 months without Dan, I've pretty much adjusted to being on my own again. Sans-partner. Table for one. Lone wolf. I don't like it - God no, it's bloody awful and lonely and it freaking sucks. I miss him like my left arm, but I don't forget that he's gone anymore.
That realisation that I've adjusted in this new life still takes me by surprise. When Dan first died, the hole he left was so vast, I couldn't imagine how I would go on living and navigate my way around it. But now I see, looking back, that I have. I've slowly, step-by-step, started to rebuild my life around the hole.
It is still there but I don't fall in as often anymore. I've gotten used to it. Then I've felt terrible for getting 'used to it' and confused by what that meant. It's a long and difficult path but I have been walking it. I still don't really know how.
Every time I've taken a step forward it's come with the complications of guilt and confusion along with constant self-analysis and judgement. How can I be moving forward into a life where he's not here beside me? So. Many. Things to feel bad about. So much information and emotion to process and comprehend. No wonder I'm exhausted all the time, with so much going on in my head.
I raised this with my grief counsellor and we spoke about the importance of trying not to assess my progress or determine my status in this process. While it's wonderful to realise that I've made some kind of progress or grown in this after-life, I still get nervous when I'm having a good day, or disheartened when I have a bad day - because of my inherent need to 'assess' what it all means.
Am I going backwards? Have I turned some kind of corner? Is this a milestone? Ugh - so much pressure! I am working really hard at letting go of the expectations I put on myself.
She pointed out that people have good days and bad days - even when they're not carrying the extra complication of bereavement. Before Dan died, I wouldn't sit and think 'But WHY am I happy today? What does that mean!? Will I ever feel sad or angry again or is that behind me now?!'.
So I am trying not to question. Not to assess. And gee, it feels nice to stop worrying and just 'be'.