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Monday, February 28, 2011

Who am I?

Monday morning. I enter my office at work and look over at my small photo of Bruce next to my computer. Try to remember the way I felt 2 plus years ago when I could be sure that he was on his way to work, or settling in to teach his class. My life so intertwined with his that I could count on his presence to give me courage-even when he was not with me. I was Bruce's Jill. Funny that I feel this way now-if you would have asked me about this before his death, I would have been insulted to think that my identity was so merged with his. Not very liberated of me but there it is. I guess I am like the feminist in the foxhole, fervently proclaiming my independence until they bombing starts or in this case until the "man" vanishes.

So who am I now. I have written about this before-difficult that one's identity or the perception of my identity can change over time. True, I am still a mother-but feel less like a mother day to day as my children are adults. True too that I am not now a wife. What else has changed over the past 2 years? So much of what I knew about myself was reflected in his eyes and now that they are closed forever-how can I possibly understand myself. Especially given the trauma with bereavement.

This weekend I spoke with another widow about the creation of our life. My life was set-I was at the top of the hill and could anticipate the downward slope and knew even a bit about the bumps and curves ahead. Now the road is uncertain. I have no idea what is ahead and even though I acknowledge that much of the journey is in my hands-I feel less able to map my route. So much of my confidence is gone.

I think that I need some time to think. I am now more used to being by myself-and the loneliness is less devastating. Also time to plan the next steps on the road-even if it is just 10 paces forward.

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