I was asked recently to speak at an AA meeting in my old community in NJ.
I’ll be traveling there at the end of this week. It’s been 3 years since I’ve connected with family and friends there. Family and friends who knew Chuck, who knew me when I was with Chuck.
Memories will hit hard. I’m not trying to set myself up for that; I’m merely acknowledging the fact.
Family and friends will surround me with Love.
That’s a good thing.
So the topic of the particular meeting that I’m speaking at is “gratitude”, which is a really tough word for me to grasp.
Because here’s the truth of the truth of the tree of life that is my life since Chuck died…
I don’t feel gratitude for anything in my life. I know that’s a terrible, forbidden thing to say, in life, but, I think, especially as a widow.
We’re supposed to have gratitude for, I don’t know…everything.
But it’s hard to feel gratitude anything when I don’t feel gratitude for life.
Which is also practically sinful to say, I realize. How can anyone not feel gratitude for being alive?
Alas and alack…I don’t.Read more
I ask myself again and again - What do I do? I whisper these words to myself as I walk out into the world and go about my life - without him. I've been asking this question for nearly two damn years... I am tired of this question. I want to fill my mind with other thoughts. But, since he died, I'm different than most women my age. The things that consume me are much more profound than they used to be. I don't give a shit about the changing seasons, or that pumpkin spice lattes are back. I care about things that live deeper in my heart. I care about my children's happiness, our life, and my life that is connected and also separate from my boys. I care. I care deeply. But, not about the shallow stuff that many people my age care about.
Mike's death changed me, a lot. I'm a very different person than I used to be. And, truth be told, I like the new me. I am becoming a woman I like to spend time with. And, this is a good thing because I spend a whole lot of time alone now. It is advantageous that I enjoy my own company - in a way I never have before.
In quiet solitude I think about the direction of my life. I ponder everything. The life we planned together died with him. This is a fact, whether I like it or not. And, now, I have to figure out what the hell to do with the life I have left. So, I think. And, I think. I endlessly question what it is that I want. I contemplate what to do with this alternate life. I must figure this out myself because no one can "fix" this or plan my life for me. It's up to me to decide what to do with the life I have left. I know all the decisions ultimately rest with me; therefore, the things I think about are heavy and profound. And, I realize that the answers will not just magically come because I ask the questions. Throughout this process, I am generally impatient with myself and my progress. I need to work on this.
My mind does not rest easy. I'm exhausted by my thoughts. But, at least I am engaged in life enough to be thinking and asking questions. At least I am curious. I think this counts for something. It has to because it is all I've got for the moment. And, this is okay - it has to be. At this point I don't know a whole lot, but I do KNOW the answers to all my questions live inside me. They are there for the finding.
There is so much I wonder about since Mike died. Big things and small things consume me and I wish like hell I could talk to him about this stuff like I used to. Since he died, I continually contemplate what I should do. What do I want to do with the rest of my life? I blogged about having a Makeshift Plan a few weeks ago. And, I am glad that I have created a "plan"; but, still, I am anxious about the life I am living without him. I know full well, that life does not always go according to plan. I am somewhat prepared for the curveballs that life will undoubtably throw at me. And, in some weird way, all of this change is kind of exciting. Going forward there is so much potential before me. My life can take any direction. And, so can yours.
Still, living solo doesn't feel comfortable to me, yet.
The life Mike and I imagined is the life I want, but it is not to be.
I have to adapt.
I have to go with the flow even if it is not the life I had planned. And, so do you.
Soon, Mike will be dead for 2 years and I would be lying if I said I know what to do with that. I have not accepted his death. I don't want to. And, part of me may never come to terms with it. I am okay with this. A part of me will always want him to be alive and I accept this. It is what it is.
I remain conscious of how long Mike has physically been gone from me; yet, I feel the need to make more forward progress without him. And, here is the tricky thing, I feel like I am going nowhere fast. I do not know where I am heading... I have a rough idea of what I want to accomplish in my life, but it still feels somewhat lack lustre without him beside me. Will this ever change? I think it will. In fact, I know it will. I just have to be patient. Mike has only been dead for 1 year, 10 months and 23 days... (I had to google this on an app.) As time has gone on, I have stopped knowing the numbers. And, really, it doesn't matter anymore. Maybe it never did. He is gone. He isn't coming back. The days keep coming. And, I am still here. I had better start acting alive. I need to live. We all do, because we did not die.
Since early on, I have had the desire to live life well. I have draped myself in hope. But, even with all the optimism in the world, when night falls, I am always alone. And, I feel the missingness and the emptiness. There is a profound sense of loss. Being lost fills me. My Soul aches for him with every breathe I take; yet, I take each breath as it comes and I keep going. I have to. For myself, for my children and for Mike. I did not die. I can not let his death define my life. The way Mike lived and loved me must be what I cling to as I move toward life again. Day by day I fight forward. And, I know that you do the same.