Living Room

I should have started writing my blog a long time ago, but the day got away from me because I got busy L-I-V-I-N-G .  I didn't do anything particularly noteworthy today.  In fact, I spent the better part of the day doing "normal" things; which, in and of itself, is not extraordinary.  But, what was exceptional about today was that I actually got caught up in being "normal".  For the first time in a long while, I went about my day like most ordinary people do; and, for brief moments, I didn't think about Mike being dead.  Today, I gave myself permission to do something other than grieve.  I allowed myself to just be alive.  And, it felt good.

To be clear, in the months since Mike died,  I've had my fair share of busy days; but, today was unique because I felt less like I was simply distracted from my grief because of the business of life.  His death didn't lord over my mind today because I did not allow it to.  Today, I consciously picked life and living over my grief.

  

Today I didn't organize my thoughts around his deadness. 

Today I lived more than I grieved. 

It wasn't the content of my day that was amazing,

My satisfaction simply comes from me choosing to live over ruminating about his death. 

Today I put LIVING before grief and I'm better for it. 

 

I have come to a place where I accept that my life hasn't stopped because Mike died.  There are still demands on me and of me.  And, I am keeping up with my responsibilities and, I'm glad for this.  But, even more importantly, recently, I am doing more than what I am duty bound to do, I am starting to live a little for myself again.

The day he died, if you told me that it would be possible for me to live on I would have desperately wanted you to be right; but, I wouldn't have believed you.  Now, twenty months out, maybe it still surprises me a bit that I am actually living. 

 

However, I am no longer satisfied simply living. 

Now, I want to thrive

And, there is a huge difference in the two things. 

The fact that I am now differentiating between living and thriving indicates to me that my grief is changing.

 

Initially, I was just hoping to survive Mike's death; and, now I am contemplating thriving.  I recognize that this is huge progress.

 

Just before I sat down to type this, I was speaking with my friend who is a lot further along in this widowhood thing.  During our conversation he reminded me that I am not even two years into this mess.  That's not a lot of time - he's right.  He'd like me to cut myself some slack - and, again, he's right.  I know that my expectations are high, and I also know that I need to be more patient. But, this doesn't come easy for me.  I wish I was more content with my progress.  But, I'm just not.  I am restless. 

My friend assures me that I am further ahead than most people are this early on.  And, he isn't saying this to be nice.  He's saying  this because he knows that it is true.  He wasn't telling me anything I didn't already know; nor, was he professing to.  That's the beauty of a good conversation.  A conversation with the right person makes us think and ask ourselves even bigger questions.  Speaking with my friend, I stumbled towards some of my truths.  And, not surprisingly, this lead me to even bolder questions.

 

So, here are my latest musings.

Why can't this be enough for me? 

Whatever "this" is.

Why can't I just take a damn breath and be content with my progress?

Why can't I be content with my Life?

What do I really want? 

And, is what I want the same as what I need?

Do I need love to be happy again?

What do I want to do with my life?

 

 

I admit, it a big list.  And, it's a running list...  And, this is good because it means that I am trying to re-engage in living again.  I have quite easily started a lifetime worth of questions.  But, so be it.  Maybe seeking the answers is what life is all about.  At the very least, seeking the answers will force me into living again and I look forward to this.

In closing, I am sitting here in my living room on the couch that we used to sit on together.  The truth is, it feels like there has been a whole lot less living in this room since he died.  In the early days, I couldn't bring myself to sleep in my bed without him, so I'd lay on the couch alone - with my shattered Soul.  I remember that it felt like I was dying in the "living" room.  Except, I didn't die.  Only Mike died.  I am still very much alive.  And, now, I need to figure out what to do with all this "living" room I have.  And, I am not talking about the room itself.  I am referring to the space I am living in - my LIVING room.  I am drawn towards this place.  This is where I need to be.  There is space to breathe life back into myself here.  In this place, I will find the answers I'm looking for.

I've come to know and believe that, in grief standards, I'm doing pretty well.  But, for me this isn't good enough.  I want something more.  I want to live again.  I want to wholly occupy my "living" room.  And, my Soul will be restless until this happens.

 

In time, I will figure out what to do with all this living room that I've been given, and I hope you do the same.

 

Staci


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  • Staci Sulin
    commented 2018-08-02 06:18:58 -0700
    Christine
    Thank you for your heartfelt response. Thriving is essential to recreating a life worth living, but it is much harder work than merely surviving. However, I think thriving and living well really does honour our beloved ones more.
    So here’s to “sur-thriving “ as you put it.
    All the best to you.
    S.
  • Christine Lister
    commented 2018-07-28 08:04:28 -0700
    I so relate to what you wrote. I’m 10+ months into my own widowhood and have contemplated these same questions.

    I loved John deeply. We had 26 (24 married) years together doing life and doing it well. I miss him every day… but the fact remains I’m still here and he’s not. My spiritual beliefs give me hope to see him again but that doesn’t really help me in the present when I miss his physical presence. Occasionally I’ll get to spend some precious moments with him in my dreams and I see that as a gift. But I’m eager to not just survive his death, but as you wrote, thrive. Early on I coined the term, “Sur-thriving” to describe what I felt. More than surviving but not quite thriving.

    Anyway, forgive the long response. I like your approach to your grief journey bc it feels similar to mine. I am learning how to balance honoring John’s memory and the life we shared with what this next phase of my life needs to be about the business of living well in the aftermath of such an impactful death. Blessings to you on your journey.