Sunday, October 30, 2011

Grief: Bah Humbug - Go Away Self Pity and Regret

Today was one of those non-starter days.  The night before last I smelled something burning and the fringe on my lampshade was actually on fire.  I put it out.  Then it snowed and I went for a long walk, had a lovely lunch, came home and talked to my daughter for a ridiculous 4 hours.  Today not so much.  Maybe I should have something on fire every night to wake me up!  I think it's the holidays coming around the corner and Artie's birthday.  There always seems to be time for self pity but then at the end of the day I wish I hadn't wasted so much time.  I have been having this fantasy that I wake up and Artie is in bed next to me and I say, "Goodness, here you are.  I was so stupid.  I thought you were dead."  Of course he is really dead.  So in the morning when I wake up I have to jump over the fact that my head knows he's been dead a long time but somehow my body still doesn't.  Some days when I try to jump over this fact I trip and lie there for a while.  Self pity can be so darn seductive.  All the great things I have in my life and one little gigantic fact causes me to stumble.  Eek and darn and oh well, that's the way it is.  That's why I'm writing now so I can say - I ate too much, didn't do everything I planned but AT LEAST I did the laundry and put clean sheets on the bed and wrote my blog.  That's my self pity weapon - fire at least one thing every day at it. 

Regret.  I'm not usually one to regret things.  Someone's father died and he regrets not spending more time with him.  That's my biggest regret.  Artie and I love each other brilliantly and yet often we turned away from each other instead of towards each other.  I hate when I see people do that.  You just don't think that there will be end - that there will be a day when you can't visit, can't get that hug, have that talk.  That's why I hope that Artie and I will be together again so that we can treasure the time we spend together more.  He used to say he needed time to be alone - I used to say I needed time to travel or be in New York.  Now I wish that we had always just enjoyed our laughter and love and not gone in different directions.  No blame.  We were very lucky to have time before he died to talk.  He apologized for all the ways in which he failed me and I apologized too.  I think if my fantasy could come true and he could come back we would fail each other less often.  Things I got so angry or hurt about seem so unimportant now.

I don't know.  Two and a half years.  Some days I'm good at dancing with grief - somedays not so good.  It's good that I have a clean bed to crawl into - but not so good that it is really cosy now!!  I don't want to waste my life - yet some days it is easier to hide than to come out and play.

Tomorrow I have someone filming me at my balancing exercise class.  That should be funny.  Nothing like falling over on film.  :)  

Laughter.  Maybe that's one of the keys.  As much as I have those moments of self pity and regret I also laugh a lot,  Trying to help other people.  That's another key.  Being grateful.  A third.  Sometimes the thing is that I do have a key ring with lots of keys - but some days I can't get any of them to fit the me that is locked inside the loneliness - the me that has to live without my husband being physically here for me.  I still sometimes say, "Come back!  Come back!"  I know he can't. 

Yesterday was a snowy day and I went out and had fun turning into a puddle wearing my sparkly gloves and scarf for the first time.  Today here in NYC it was sunny again and it was the sun I found hard to take.  Silly old me.  I have a love letter from Artie saying how proud he is of me watching me fall and get up and try again.  That's the main key.  When you fall down - get up and try again.  Grab for that actual hand of friends and family - grab for that spirit hand of those who aren't physically here any more. 

I hope tomorrow is a getting up day.  Katja - the woman who is filming me asked if I had time to do something afterwards. I said, "If I can still stand!" 

That's it.  Keep standing everyone.  Don't let life - or death - knock you flat.  What lovely things will I come up with to do tomorrow to keep self pity and regret quiet and joy and gratitude and glorious memories saying amen and hallelujah?  What will you do?

It's Halloween tomorrow.  I've already had the trick - time for a treat!   xo

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