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Monday, June 27, 2011

Passivity

I am alone much of the time. I analyze my life and thinking process as I walk Bebe and go about my day. I realize that after Bruce died I became extremely passive. I still have yet to fully take the reigns and bring some control to the day to day. It is hard to plan much. Is this a consequence of my grief or is this who I have always been? Difficult to know who am I without the partner that I grew up around. It is almost as if I am experiencing myself without the context of my marriage. Strange new world of me alone.

There are also the possibilities that exist now. How do I come to know myself and then make choices about what to do in my future? Funny how in my marriage there were times when Bruce and I would get confused about which one of us liked something. Even the kids confuse us-for example, it was Bruce who liked asparagus and me who liked cauliflower. Seemingly unimportant now-but only illustrate how the lines blur. While I was always fiercely independent, there were less choices to be made-because the other needed to be considered. Now there is just me-and I often do not know what I want in the absence of his opinion. It is resistance that guided me then-so his preference often triggered a resistance or acquiescence. This helped me to have insights about what I wanted.

The resistance lingers and I feel like a leaf on a tree, letting the wind dictate my direction. I resist making plans, resist controlling my time, resist those things that I need to do to move forward.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

This Time of Year

This time of year always brings a certain sadness. The sadness comes without warning and I have to think about it and then remember that it was around this time in 2008 when Bruce and I traveled to London and had the most fantastic time. We left for London on June 24th, 2008 and did not return home for 2 weeks. When I have trouble falling asleep at night I try and recapture Bruce and I walking down the streets in London, Edinburgh, Paris and Dublin. I am holding his hand and we are laughing, so enjoying our time away.

This was always the time of year when we had some "free time". Bruce loved to vacation and he would plan at least a trip to Hawaii. This is the first year I will not be going since 2001. He loved Hawaii and loved vacationing. It was something that he lobbied for and eventually I would give in and we would go. Vacationing was not something that was easy for me-but I loved him and his enthusiasm was contagious. Ironic now that I welcome the time away with the kids. I love to travel with them to new and interesting places.

So the summer begins and he is not here to help me through it. I will carry the sadness with me this year although it is more bearable. There are things to do and now some new events to look forward to.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The New Normal Revisited

Yesterday it occurred to me that I am getting used to my solitary life. I walked Bebe and had difficulty remembering life with Bruce. This is the the final awful layer of my grief that I have blogged about before. There was the initial loss, an ice cold water bath-so shocking and painful. There was the cold numbness after, and then the realized loss-when the pain of missing him was so present and I could reach across my pillow imaging him on the other side of the bed. There was the loss experienced floating in and out of my past and present-where I was distracted and then I would think of him and his image would come to me and the sadness overwhelmed me. And now this-the day to day life without him, filled with a routine that I never wanted yet am "married" to. I am used to it, perhaps even find comfort in the familiarity of it. And occasionally there is the pain of realizing that my loss has been so great that there is no recovery. But here I am, used to a life I have never imagined.

The imagined life.... We all are guilty of creating a life that does not always jive with reality. I imagine my life or did before Bruce died as a fairly uneventful walk down a long road. Sure, I thought there would be small cracks in the sidewalk - but did not imagine that anything big would alter the course of my path. I saw grandchildren and retirement, travel and minor money issues. I did not see death or disability - did not think that crises would get in my way. There are so many around me who have experienced the "unthinkable". Cancer, death, financial ruin, job loss-so many stressors. How does one reconcile the reality of their life with what was imagined?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

30 years ago

Thirty years ago today my life changed forever. I remember the day vividly, waking up at 5AM with contractions. I had decided the night before that I was staying home from work anyway-I had a week left before my due date and I was tired. I had worked many days in a row at the hospital in the ICU, and I thought I could use a mental health day.

But my plans for the day were not happening! I had contractions and was even more cranky than I thought possible. There was a tinge of excitement because I was anticipating the arrival of my first child. Bruce, of course was ecstatic-and we called the doctor as soon as we could to announce that I was in labor. His advice was to sit tight and hold off for a bit. Keep busy, he said and then Bruce proceeded to take the advice very seriously. He had me vacuuming and shopping, baking and cleaning until I finally broke into tears. I fell asleep on the couch around 4PM, an indication that my contractions were not all that intense if I could sleep through them.

The phone rang and it was my cousin. As I sat up to answer, my water broke and I was really on the way. I called the doctor and jumped into a shower (something I later learned was not allowed) and dressed in new jeans. Even though I was a nurse, I misunderstood about the amniotic fluid and thought that once my water broke-I was done with the fluid, so I was really surprised that my new jeans and Bruce's car were soaked by the time we got to the hospital. A few hours later, my first child was born, a small beautiful little girl. She weighed just 6lbs, 9ozs.

Bruce and I were such proud parents. She was the apple of his eye, they shared so many things. They both loved Disney, aquariums and musical theater. They were quick witted and so bright and both were very critical of others. She was able to get him out of a bad mood pretty successfully. I know that he was very proud of the woman that she had become before he died. He would have loved to share this day with her.

I had a dream last night and my children were small and Bruce and I were navigating the difficulties of parenthood. As I look ahead to this day, the day of my first child's 30th birthday and the beginning of her first year as a mother, I am reminded of the three of us those first few years that we were a family.

I will miss Bruce today celebrating the birthday of our first-sharing memories of her childhood. Happy Birthday my beautiful little girl, and capable mother to be, with love from me.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

resilience

I am not resilient at all. There were a few months when things were a bit better and now it seems that we are back to coping with bad news. Illness, financial difficulties and stress an old friend that has come to sit beside me once again. I can count my blessings but it is hard when there seems to be so much turmoil around me.

How does one weather the storm? I used to turn to Bruce for support or at least companionship when life became difficult. His sense of humor and then mine would kick in and we would joke about the harsh realities. It helped us to get through some really rough times. Now I am alone in it and hard to not give in and be morose.

But I know that I and those around me will persevere and I need to try and put these things in context and hope for the best. I have gotten through some very challenging crises over the years especially the last 2 since Bruce died. I will try and focus on the positives.