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Monday, November 29, 2010

Brick Wall ahead

Well, last entry I thought I had turned a corner. Saturday eve I encountered the brick wall. As soon as the last guest left after the Thanksgiving weekend, the sadness enveloped me. I spent the rest of the weekend sad and inconsolable. I thought about other Thanksgiving weekends when after it was over, it was Bruce and I and I suddenly missed him so much. And I also thought about the month ahead. First there would be the Christmas movies and discussion of the holidays. People will be planning trips and visits. Everyone who doesn't travel will be looking forward to spending time with loved ones at home. I am not looking forward to the emptiness that will accompany my holiday. And I am sufficiently sad enough so that I am not inclined to try and make the best of it.

I know that I need to work on this last piece.
Maybe tomorrow.

Friday, November 19, 2010


Yesterday, I said goodbye to the psychiatrist and the magic pills. It is funny how I feel that I come to the office to advocate for myself when I sit across the room from him. There is definitely a push-pull. He believes that medication can solve some of life's problems and I don't. I am probably being unfair when I say this about him. He is one of the smartest people I have met and to his credit knows so much about the medications used for psychological purposes. He obviously cares and spends a good bit of time talking to his patients. Unusual these days for a psychiatrist. But we said goodbye with the understanding that he is there when I need him. I imagine that I will see him again in the future but for now I am ready to go it alone for awhile.

I keep on seeing the corner ahead-am I "turning a corner"? That phrase so captures a vision of walking down a familiar street; approaching the turn to the unknown. What is interesting is that there is less a sense of fear than of anticipation. I move cautiously as I do not know what to expect. Yesterday I spoke to Dr. K about the grief street that I have lived on since February 20, 2009. Initially I was so stunned by my loss, by the chain of events that took Bruce from me. I sometimes still feel that "what happened" moment. And the shock stayed with me, so that every single day I relived the moments and the confusion that I felt when I considered my new circumstances.

The second phase of my grief was the adjustment to being by myself. Every new crisis resulted in fear, anger and sadness. I considered that my life without Bruce was not worth living-without really considering how my decisions about my life did not just occur in a vacuum. I was living alone, and felt so isolated, but there were people in my life who would suffer if I were to leave them. I had to start looking around me and choosing to move back into a world that I had trouble recognizing. Coming home at night was challenging and I would have flashes of memories in contrast to the emptiness. And I was so very very sad.

So what now? I am feeling more like myself, more accepting of my situation. I come back home after a long day and am not so stunned when he isn't home. I have to push myself to remember and see him greet me with a drink in his hand and dinner in preparation because I am getting so used to being alone. One day follows the other and the months pass. I try not to dwell on the happiness that I shared with him just days before his death. And of course, I miss him so much. But life has a familiar quality now; I am settling into new routines. There are some days when I am surrounded by my family and I feel grateful that there are so many good people in my life, even though my dear sweet man is gone.

I am not sure how long this feeling will last. The holidays are approaching and after Thanksgiving I am usually very down in the dumps-so I am prepared for the overwhelming sadness to return. Today though I am feeling OK.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Visiting my past

I finally got over my fear of flying by myself and got on a plane to visit a good friend. Coincidentally this friend now lives in a town where Bruce and I lived for 2 years. So I visited me and the ghosts of my past life. A bit eerie but I am now back home having survived a visit to my former life 24 years ago.

I felt pangs of sadness, but do not remember our time in Boston being the high point of my past-so was glad that I was not bombarded with happy memories. Most of the memories were fleeting as is my usual state of affairs. I vaguely recalled places in the town where we had been and brief glimpses of events that we all participated in. My friend and I visited the New England Book Fair, an institution that still exists in Needham, MA. I even bought the kids books for old times sake.

What most struck me was how we have all changed. How life's challenges wear us down. My friend has taken on some new responsibilities and I worry that she is sagging under the weight. How do we cope, why do we choose to keep on going? The human spirit is indeed amazing.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Nearly 21 months

February is right around the corner and it will be 2 years. Time moves quickly and I have yet to decide whether this is good or bad. When Bruce first died, I thought the planet would cease to revolve, that time would literally stop. Reminds me of the W.H. Auden poem:

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crêpe bows round the white necks of the public
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

But time has marched on and as I have said before the memories fade and new routines replace the old. They are not routines that I have welcomed but I am comforted by the sameness. Funny how everything shifts, and the expectations are lowered. I do enjoy certain things in my life but the enjoyment is at a different level-it is just ok. I have a good time, not a great time. Almost as if my taste buds are dulled.

And I have stopped thinking about the future. Why dwell on what will be when I was so blindsided by an event that I could not have predicted? The future holds something but I do not know what. All is uncertainty and so I cling to the routines that I have built in to my life in his absence.

I move along a pathway that is still dark. One foot in front of another. Don't think too much, just do.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Fading memories

Yes, I have written about this before. Faded memories of him, although I think I dream about him. Okay by me, even though I do not remember my dreams-I am comforted by the fact that I wake up feeling that we have visited during the night. I miss him. At least 10 times daily, I think about how much I miss him and want to tell him things. I lean over to Bebe and talk to her about it but she doesn't quite fill the void.

The void. It occurs to me that as he fades, I am getting used to it. Someone told me that as time passes that what replaces the past is the new normal. So I am setting my new routines and getting used to the empty house. Last night was Halloween, a holiday that he loved and the second one without him. Particularly bittersweet because we moved the October before he died in to our brand new home-we moved in on the 30th of October, 2008. We celebrated Halloween in our new home the next day and he was excited about all the children in our neighborhood clamoring for candy. We had 34 years of setting up our life and it has been 20 months in the "new normal"

The "new normal" is not as horrible as it used to be. I do not always mind being alone-I just wish that I had him coming home to look forward to. I miss him, I am lonely for him, I want to talk to him. But as time goes on, it is beginning to feel normal that he is not here and not coming home. I guess I resent this as well-but I am getting used to it.