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Friday, September 21, 2012

Counting our sorrow and joys

Ahhh, the Holidays that take place in the fall - Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur force us to stop and think.  We review our past and make vows to do better in the future.  We stick to a very small unit-a year....

So this past year has been hard but hard in the different way than the previous years since Bruce's death.  It has been a year of awakening.  I started last year embarking on a road never experienced as I witnessed and participated in the birth of my grandson.  He is all that is good and renewing in my world.  My raison d'etre.  His presence pushed me to experience other aspects of a once abandoned activity.  Being social has not come easy but has resulted in many rewards and distractions.

Multiple ways of perceiving-there are so many positive and negatives inherent in my life right now-thus the title of this blog entry.

The sorrows: 

Of course the loss and the aftermath of the loss. The financial constraints, workload burden (career and then the house and taking care of a dog and cat with health problems that not only cost lots of money but also involve frequent trips to vets and pet stores),  the loneliness in the middle of the night, the lack of focus, the sadness that sometimes engulfs me.

But there are joys:

My grandson!  His smile, his recognition of me as someone that is in his life.  I think I obsess about his knowing me partially because he will never know Bruce.  It affirms my presence in the world as my family sphere has gotten smaller and I have less influence over my offspring.

My children!  They are so there for me.  Ready to listen (sometimes the sorrow is that I get lots of feedback about my behavior and not all of it is good-funny how this reverses.  When they are young - you shape their behavior -when you are older they attempt to shape yours!)  But they are here, close by and I am grateful.

My family!  How lucky I am to have so many family members within a 100 mile radius!   My aunt (like an older sister-and we are so alike), my large group of cousins-they are all so much a part of my life and I so enjoy them.  This month, my nephew moved to LA and I will relish getting to know him better.  Family to me is everything-they represent the people that I am connected to - that I did not have to choose.  There is an ease there.

My ever widening group of friends-my widows, my knitters, my colleagues, my comrade in arms.  I can hardly keep up but they are so wonderful, so entertaining, such a good distraction.

My mental health team-how lucky I am to have a great therapist, psychiatrist and rabbi!

The new men in my life deserve a mention here.  The online adventure in dating has become fun.  Coffee dates bring interesting people in interesting venues. 

Work, a challenge still to crack-I am trying so hard to manage my time and my energy.

So as I rap up this Holiday blog-I am grateful that I can still see the flip side of my life.  There is a sadness that will be with me forever-a detour down a road I thought was open wide as I raced down.  I am realizing that though the road is closed ahead - there may be others that open to me.

I wait at the intersection.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Entertaining the troops, revisited

I have always know about the drama queen that exists inside me.  I think that this is a somewhat familiar
topic here.  The last few days I am caught up with the repercussions of my drama.  I have put myself on display since Bruce died.  Here I am - the widow-anxious to tell all about my experience with grief, here I am reawakened and activated-this is my experience.  To what end and with what goal in mind?  Who benefits from these disclosures?  Are there ramifications?

It is time, I think to pull in the stakes and move the circus.  Take a hiatus from the bight lights for a bit.  Be quiet, be careful, keep my private life private.  Funny and ironic that I am writing this in a blog-but that only brings the point home.  This blog has served to be my voice for most things "agonized widow".  And there continues to be unrest-perhaps I can no longer call this agony.  Even the start of a relationship harkens back to every other relationship that we have had and lost.  Processing these emotions is difficult, and the blog, the story telling is a fairly effective way for me to process.  But I must move past the moment.....

Monday, September 10, 2012

What was Lost

Every now and then I am acutely aware of what I have lost.  As I have written about before-this grief experience has many layers.  Even in the midst of the online dating world-I remember vaguely what it felt like to be loved and to be comfortable in the semi-permanent nature of my married state.  I am on a see-saw of emotions these days.  One minute I am in love, the next I am in despair, worried that the object of my current affection is not interested.  It feels good to be in the spotlight of someone's attention-but that too is a reminder of the pain of being left and the heartache of the loss.

Past joy is not enough for me.  It does not sustain or comfort me.  It does not make up for disappointment or concern about the future.
And it is so hard to adjust and to lower expectations.   

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Love and Belonging

Okay so back to Maslow's hierarchy,

The need for love and belonging is pretty basic.  My first difficulty post loss was safety-I guess I was too shell shocked to understand how many needs were going to be absent.  I likened the loss to having a serious illness-I felt sick and unnerved and that the world beneath me was so unstable-it was difficult to put one foot in front of the other.

Some days are still like that. And it is not just about the loss of a person-it is about the loss of a life that is familiar and comforting even if at times it is not the life we ideally wanted.  And yes, at 3.5 years I am doing pretty well-but compared to what, and in what context?  I am not sure what "doing well" means.  I can cope day to day-again not always being as productive as I expect myself to be.  But the loss prevails-it always comes back to the loss and the past life that was built on fulfilling needs that were identified long ago.
As I have written before, I grew up with certain unmet needs.  I felt that I did not belong anywhere.  I was not well positioned in my family-I was sloppy and stupid compared with my sister and mom.  Love was rather elusive-and I struggled with feeling that I was not loved unconditionally by anyone.  Fast forward to adolescence and I was attracted to the physical aspects of love-because it looked like the "real thing".  But disappointment again ensued.  This all led to my meeting with Bruce and the love that sustained me for 34 years.  I finally had the love and belonging needs met.  I had a family and was part of something that I created.

Okay-so when Bruce died the rug was pulled out from under me.  First-I did not have the connection with my family the way I once did.  My children were out on their own-finding their own way of having love and belonging needs met.  I was alone, very much alone after becoming accustomed to being touched, and hugged, kissed and sometimes prodded by a man who hungered for human touch 24/7.  While it took awhile for me to become used to being accosted at every turn (initially he would engage me in  public displays of affection and sometimes would pinch my bottom in front of company) - once he died and there was no one there - I grieved for this too. 

Now I have been reawakened to this need - I long to be touched and loved.  I want to belong as part of a two some.  AND I HATE THIS NEEDINESS but am not sure what to do with it.......