My marriage to Mike wasn’t perfect. I mean come on…there is usually at least some issue that arises even in the happiest of partnerships. And we had plenty. Most of our concerns stemmed from his unhealthy eating habits and the results of that but we had other little annoying problems and arguments too. On the whole, though, we were happy. We both felt deeply that we were meant for each other, that we were each other’s true soul mates, and so we worked through all the other issues as best we could. There was never a question that we wouldn’t stay together. I really meant my vows…til death do us part…I just never imagined it would really come to that. At least so soon.
Now, three and a half years after his loss, I am finding my perspective shifting about what is present now for me. In our lives we have little moments, little tasks, little accomplishments - getting the laundry done. Running that errand. Cooking that meal. Making that phone call. And we have big accomplishments. Graduating from school. Getting married. Finding success in a career. Having a child. Most of us spend our day with the little accomplishments…but once in awhile a big one will come along. And we will know it when it happens, even if it doesn’t happen suddenly in an instant.
The past few months I’ve been in the throes of a big one. I can feel it. It started when I was served with the foreclosure on my house. It continued when I went back east and started to face the reality of moving back. And it is continuing now as I prepare for whatever comes next in the best way I know how. It is continuing now as I prepare to start school. It is continuing now as I deal with shifts in relationships with the people around me.
I’m trying to find a healthy way to view it all. To find a positive attitude amidst the terror and heartache of these changes. So far what I’ve come up with is the idea that everything that happens to me is a stepping stone to the next. In fact maybe that’s what life is about…yes it’s the collection of experiences and memories, the give and exchange of love and making the world a better place, but the how of it all is what I’m talking about here. How do we go from each moment to the next, each day to the next, each decision to the next. I’m not saying it’s easy. But maybe, the chain of people and events is the how that I am hyperaware of right now.
Even if we spend most of our time holed up alone we are still part of a network of people. We still have things happen to us as a result of other people and what they do or say in this world. We can’t avoid it. People will disappoint us. People will hurt us. Other people will lift us up. But all of those things are lessons. All of those things make us the people we are, and contribute to the people we are becoming. They are part of our grief, part of our challenge, and part of our growth. They can be, even if they are bad things, part of a greater good that is to come. It’s taken me awhile to see that, but I am going to decide to allow that to be true for me. To try and focus on that.
Mike had a lot of sayings - things he didn’t invent himself but was known for repeating often. One of them was what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Well hell. If I get any stronger I’ll burst.