The mourning process interests me because this is what I am going through. I have a need to understand this, and know what might be a possible broadside. This is a natural thought, and there is some truth to the desire to control my life a bit. But there is more to it too! I reason I can at least understand the possibilities of what might broadside me. It does not mean my own experiences will be the same as other people. It is clear that there are differences, and those are according to who we are and how we think, what our experience was with the person we loved, and who went poof! Because that is just what it is! Poof and there you are! The first thoughts are about “What the hell do I do now?” It’s called suddenly single! I prefer not to use the term widow. Although both are labels. They however do not encompass who I am nor what I had, they both speak of being alone in life.
I have read articles which talk of the various stages of mourning and they repeat the same things and feel unsatisfactory. It’s a hard topic for many. I did find a book a women wrote, an honest view of her experience and how she dealt with it. That was a bit more refreshing.
I think that not all women feel these articles are truly helpful. Perhaps there is a reason for this.
I recently did find an article that made more sense to me. Maybe it is because I have insights into the things this particular article expresses and or it is something about who I am and how I process what I experience. I have to be careful or I can over think and find myself stacking up to many pros and cons about any particular topic. I don’t want to spend forever on mourning Thomas. I have no idea how much time I have at 66. And that is not being morbid. It comes from the desire to continue a good life! Where I am all the things I am now, and more! It’s been exciting to try new things, and take new paths! There is something in me that feels just because I am now single, that I should just stop living my life. There is more to who I am. I was Thomas wife, but I am a mother and grandmother. I am an artist who has developed a great original art form that can help a lot of people or just what it is. I enjoy the pleasures of writing children’s books and poems and want to publish. I love life, and I love people. So how do get my balance back? How can I have my life make sense? What do I want out of life now? Thomas is on to what ever we do next!
My response was to dive into art first because of financial concerns, and the desires to not go “there” in case I got trapped into thoughts I couldn’t move on from. I knew I had to take a step back and take care of me. Give myself time. It’s always been that way___a need to check myself__not unlike when you have been in an accident and made it out whole! “Yup! I am ok! Just a little scratched up! The cars totaled though____.” Then it hits you one you love didn’t make it! But there you are! Still feeling like, “But! I made it through__.” What the hell do you do in such a moment? It’s shocking to learn your ok. The accident wasn’t your fault. You were not the advance pulmonary fibrosis or the heart that needed a new valve, that was weaker and not the same as it once was. Your lungs were not turning into leather so they could not hold oxygen___and you were not hyperventilating more and more. You watched it all, and were the caregiver___watching the accident in an abstract slow motion movie. The thing is, how could you want an end to things? You don’t yet, death becomes release from the awfulness of such a diagnosis. It’s the accident you did not want to see happen. Yet you did and you survived it. I was there to make Thomas feel comfort and loved. For that I am grateful to be at the scene of this accident! I am not going to forget Thomas, nor the accident of death. I must live and share his memories with all who loved him. I need to make new memories with those who love me! I wont always be here but for now I am!
The best article I found explains the clinical side of what counselors understand about the stages of mourning. It’s written for those who counsel people it seem. Because it discusses how we are as humans. That we are in fact unique to who we are and w hat we experience. Everyone of us has a reality we build upon during each age and stage of life. The goal of reality is to gather the best and truest facts to go on, so we can have good realities. We are complex and everyone has that voice that is not us who is in our heads. It is this voice that keeps you in one state or another such as the feelings of depression, loss, hurt, loneliness, etc. It’s like the word game in your head. What do you think of when you think of ? And there you go! The game can go either way! Towards good positive thoughts or not so good negative thoughts. Then your trapped until you change those thoughts.
I reasoned that I needed to “put Thomas away” I had no idea of how much nor do I know for how long__But for now I have put enough of him away I can focus on living life. I have worked to change the rooms so they are comfy and different with bright happy colors and new art, a lot of it is mind. And it reminds me of my being an artist. Some belongs to other people and makes me smile! I have hung some of my grandsons acrylic paintings. He is 5! I love his work! I put out things I love. I began with the bedroom. For awhile I still found myself on my side. I reasoned if I totally change the bed up, it will be a nice place to go! It’s all mine now! LOL and its less strange as time goes on. I couldn’t sleep well for awhile but that did get better. Getting good rest is important to how the days go. I changed the kitchen up with new retro appliances. Thomas and I spent a lot of time in the kitchen. He made the best omelets. The living room was the main place for us! Now that is really nice and totally changed as I wrote earlier. The dining area too is lovely and charming. I have a table yet to paint for that. All I have done has brought me to a point where I can return to the studio and work on my art. It’s almost a year now! The 22nd of August would have been our 23 anniversary. The 28th of September it will be one year since he died. I have no idea of what else will broadside me after these two dates pass. I will guess there will be something. I know I tear up with certain thoughts and songs that make me think of Thomas, and the fact I no longer will have the experiences. Not with Thomas. In time being alone will raise the question “Do I want to do “this” again. I ran across this thought too! “How soon is it ok to date after you lose someone?” I wont get into these. It was interesting because it has made me think about what I would like to experience. Dating I remember after I divorced my first husband and the idea of dating again seemed scary. LOL__and now? Not much difference. But I am not sure I would remarry if I did “find a new partner.” And then when I think of that I think I would want someone different than Thomas to learn about, and do things with. I would want him to like and love who I am! I learned what that was like with Thomas. I know its not replacing Thomas. It’s giving myself a chance to live and make new memories. Being alone and not having all that comes from being a couple___its natural to want to feel loved and wanted. I can still be all the other things I am. So maybe? Ya. It wont happen tomorrow. I have no clue when or if ever! I do know its not making less of Thomas. I know he would want me to be happy as I would him if I had died. I am not sure how he would have made out if it had been me! I had asked my daughter to watch out for him in case. They were close. It was a great compliment that one day she said she would like to have someone like Thomas, perhaps minus the ADHD! Living with the Winnie The Pooh characters___well, it was interesting, and I got it! I got who he was. We had something rare and good. We knew how to love well.
There is a broader picture here. If you zoom out your a small part of a bigger thing. We are all connected in so many complex ways and they all factor in. The complexity of thoughts, and how the body reacts to them are one component. What we come to believe our truest reality is, another component. The information we send and receive to one another___well we decide what is true. That is why we are so angry when we feel we are lied to. All what we are, and were, and what people believe about us, we react to. If we recall good times or bad. One single thought can take us “there” to good times or bad times and there we are! And when someone goes poof we remember what we believe to be true of them as we did in life with them. We know the intimacy of being us. And then there is what others come to believe. And its all ok or it becomes something else. We cherish what we feel are special and endearing and we don’t go there with what hurts us. When someone dies we can no longer clarify thoughts with a trusted partner, no longer make things right. No longer have physical experiences. Just thoughts that lead us this way and that way. If you want to live differently and not in the past, this way of thinking has to change. You need to let go of your partner. Not doing so, not dealing with his or her belongings, not changing thing does feel like you live in a shrine at some point. That person is no longer there to use their things, talk about some of those things. They are not things you personally use most times. There are things you purchased together. Some of them were not things you fully liked but your partner did. How you feel about such things can make you feel guilty about letting go of them if you allow that mind mind set to creep in. What will help the most is to let go of them and replace them with new things around you, or simply change how things were when your partner was alive. Seeing, having a new environment to be in, does not make memories disappear. You will find somethings do not trigger emotions that lead you to sadness. You do need to feel that sadness. I found a photo I do still enjoy of Thomas. It makes me smile and feel warm inside. I feel these things first so I do not go into feeling sad unless I allow myself to go there. The thing is emotions are much like the word game! One word and there you are making associations. In time you get tired? Of making associations? Maybe that’s it. The thing is when we do this it also is stacking up the pros and cons of something. And if that is all we do well there is no bottom line. Nothing to make a stand on. Nothing solid we can work with, and let be.
However, there is a drawback, and that is as balanced as I feel at times I still get broadsided! And have to regain my balance.
Something else happened to me I did not fully understand the why of. I felt this over whelming need to pivot from what I was doing, and go into a self sensing mode where I found inner peace, and allowed myself to feel the feelings as they came to me. It felt right to step back so I could make conclusions. I knew what I did not want. I did not want to feel overwhelmingly depressed. I did not want to go through what others seemed to, even though I knew things certainly would and could be similar. The commonality of being human. I knew things would trigger me. I knew I should not avoid these. I did not want to hear well meaning things, about what I should be doing. What I needed to do personal I felt/feel is unique to me. I have always felt my body and searched my mind, checking in on me. I am very comfortable with who I am mostly. I am not comfortable with my weight and health and I now I have time to focus on me. I also have children and grandchildren; family, friends____life! All these people and living life mean constant change. That translates to life is interesting! Thomas was interesting an engaging, compassionate, loving…but he is no longer here. I am!
I don’t know how other people think about their mourning experiences. I am curious however. I wonder what I will know about living beyond Thomas in another years time. I will know in another year.
It’s ok to think about life beyond Tom. Will I enter into another relationship after 67? I have no idea. But I do want to have those experiences, and I can not have them a lone. This said I do not plan to seek out a relationship. I feel what I want is to make changes in who I am first. To be independent, and focus on my art. To become healthier, and lose weight. I have been married more than unmarried. I was a mother and then a student, I have been a care giver___ And now? Who do I want to be. It requires time. How much do I want to spend and where? Do I want to travel and have new experiences?
I find that pen paling works at this time. I enjoy writing and have not been able to focus in on it, and I have not focused fully on art. This in part has driven me to get things in order and to let go of Thomas’s things. I want to have a home that is easy to care for, and fits my needs. I want it to reflect my nature. I want it to be happy and full of color and life! I want the things I like to be on display, and the art I do is a part of that! I want to dress as I want to dress, and do things I want to do and am curious about. I love learning. I want to be a significant help to others so they can heal___ I can’t do it all but what can I do within the time I have left to live? I live longer if I can have a healthy mind and body. These are my thoughts for now.