Saturday, January 1, 2011

Grief: New Year's Day With and Without

Whew.  This was a hard day not just for me for a lot of people.  It's odd how as human beings we mark time.  2011.  A brand new year.  Can I face it, conquer it, love it, live it without my husband?  The Widow Warner.  It makes me laugh when I say it that way but it was like death this morning.  The old - how am I going to get out of bed if I have to live another year without my husband?  The old - what's the point?  The old - it's not worth it.  The old - it hurts too much.  It's too hard.  I can't do it.  It took me a while but I dug myself out.  I had a lovely time last night until they started singing Auld Lang Syne.  Then - aside from the tears - it was like a bad horror movie - Zombies Ate My Heart.  I was still smiling and laughing but I felt so empty. 

I did eventually get up, not this morning, this afternoon.  I spent a little time on line and then went to the gym.  I was never a gym person but I had this wonderful personal trainer for a while and I know if I do at least one thing I will feel better about myself at the end of the day.  So I went to the gym and a woman I had never seen before wished me a happy and healthy new year and that was nice.  I kinda wished it was a 45 year old guy (my daughter says I can't date anyone under 50 - that's her territory) - but I really wished it was my husband.  Still can't figure out if I want to date.  Part of me wants to have someone to share things with again.  Part of me is content with my husband ghost.  It would take a very brave man to come into my bedroom which looks like an Artie museum.  I call it Artie land.  I thought - I'll put one thing away every day.  Then I thought - no - not yet.

Here's the problem.  You can read my list.  I do set up my life so I can do as many interesting, exciting and caring things as I possibly can.  I'm very lucky that I am financially able to do this - although there is a lot of free stuff about if you don't have money.  I purposely live in a city where there is always something happening.  How can I describe it?  I'm having a perfectly happy moment and the Death Whisperer comes up next to me and whispers in my ear - life sucks, come with me, join your husband.  I have to tell the Death Whisperer to shut up.  It's not my time yet.  I heard the actress Liv Ullmann say that Kierkegaard the philospher said that when we are born we are given Secret Orders.  We never know what they are but when we are living our lives in a way that makes us feel centered and on track we get a sense of what they are.  If we choose an actual death or a living death we aren't fulfilling our destiny - we aren't carrying out our Secret Orders.  If I write - if I do something nice for someone - if I go to the gym - if I do storytelling - those are the kind of things that make me go to bed at night with a sense of satisfaction.  The thing is - no matter how much I do - I can't seem to get rid of the Death Whisperer.  Artie - my husband - was a great bufferer for me.  When I felt life was too hard in general or something specific happened like someone said something mean or I got a rejection slip - he held me and I felt safe and loved.  Now where he used to be there are buckets full of spirit and energy - but I need a simple earthy man - that one man: Arthur Warner.  How do we go on - and happily not miserably - on when there is someone we love so much that we can't look at and touch and listen to.

I was looking for New Year's quotes for my Facebook Page and I found this one by Bernadette Devlin.

"Yesterday I dared to struggle. Today I dare to win."
Now there's a challenge.  I do a tremendous job struggling.  I could get an Olympic gold medal in struggling.  In 2011 do I dare to win?  Me.  Me by myself.  Me with the help of all the folks who get it and all the folks who don't but try to.  Watch this space.

I hope if you had some happy times over the holidays you can stroke those, hold those, remember those and whoosh - blow away the dark sad moments.  We are grief warriors - watch out world - we dare to be honest about our feelings and keep on living.  Maybe this is the year - if we haven't yet - that we dare to win.  (However you define winning.  Today - for me - winning was getting out of bed - going to the gym - and writing this.  Winning can be the tiniest thing - if it's something grand that's grand - if it's something as simple as going into the garden for five minutes that's grand as well.)  xo

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