Sunday, August 10, 2014

Grief: Am I Having Fun Yet?

I knew I was feeling overwhelmed and confused but I didn't realize it had been so long since I had written.  I can't get in sync with my life.  At the beginning I cried all the time and I spent hours in bed watching DVDs or just staring at the wall.  Then I started doing a little more.  I made myself go out with no expectation of feeling anything or being present.  Then life crept back in and I started accomplishing more, having more happy moments.  But I still took a lot of down time.  Grief was a full time job for me.  I needed to shut off from everything and numb myself out to go back into the world again and do things.  My husband is dead.  It hurts all the time.  It just does.

Now I have created this very magical life.  I have friends who are good and loving people.  I have my blog and my Facebook page - Grief Speaks Out.  I have several book ideas - one on grief of course - some children's stories - and maybe other writing.  No - I haven't written a word.  I have movies I am consulting on.  I have started traveling again.  I have the time I spend with my daughter and granddaughter.  I am exhausted.  I don't know how to function as a full time person.  I never did, really.  But my husband was there to hold me up when I fell down.  He was there to tell me he loved me just the way I was.  I could curl in his arms and feel safe and loved.  I always write about him being with me in spirit - in every way he can - and I believe that.  It doesn't stop me from feeling that I am doing this all alone.

It is my daughter's 40th birthday and she is having a grand party in California.  My room is on the beach.  There are 26 adults and 13 children.  Everyone is having a great time.  On one side of me is a couple I really like who have been married many years - on the other side is a couple I really like who met late in life and feel so grateful to have each other.  Hello self pity!!

I thought about it last night.  I have never been an overly social person.  I remember one summer Artie and I rented a place on the beach.  He met a couple who invited us over to their place.  I asked him why he wanted to go.  He was my person.  He understood me.  I went out in the world, I had friends, I travelled but Artie was my person.  He was who I wanted to be with. He is who I want to be with. When I isolated myself I isolated myself with him.  He knew me.  He understood me.  He got my bad jokes.  Our love was forever - we used to say all the time - nobody leaves.  He called it buying the whole package.  Nothing either one of us could do would ever separate us.  Then came cancer.  He died.  He left.  He didn't want to but he was too sick to stay.

I so often stand outside of myself watching myself knowing I am having a really fun moment - a really beautiful moment - but I can't feel it.  I'm there but not there.  I'm smiling.  I'm laughing.  Sometimes when I go out, while I'm on my way I say to myself - Please let me look and sound like a person - as if a person is something I have forgotten how to be.  There is a gap between how others see me and how I feel myself.

It's not true that I never have fun.  My husband used to say that all we have are moments.  I have a lot of fun moments.  I have enjoyed some things very much on these special days.  I am so proud of my daughter and the woman she has become.  To see her surrounded by friends of all ages from all around the country makes my heart glad.

So why, this morning, am I sitting in my room - not even outside my room - by myself.  Why do I want to cry?  Why does the loneliness come up and strangle me?  Why did I come in last night so early when everyone would have loved me to stay?

It's funny really.  I was all settled in for the day - thinking I would hide out and read and catch up on things on the computer.  My daughter just came by and said she wants me on the beach with them - she doesn't want me to wait until the barbecue at six.  I said - give me an hour to get more social.

That's the thing isn't it.  Life keeps calling.  We are alive.  When life calls what are we going to do...go back into our rooms and slam the door shut or go out to meet it?

My answer is still a bit of both.  A lot more going out to meet it than at the beginning - but still too much slamming the door shut.

But the door won't stay shut.

The door keeps opening.

I think my husband is opening it.  I think he is saying, "I am holding you.  Go get 'em Panache."  Or as my granddaughter says, "You can do it, Gammy."

That is my work, my challenge, every day.  To take this enormous dark cloud of grief and put it to the side for enough time to be alive - to have fun - to be present for my life until it is time for me also not to be alive.

I still have my solitary hour.  Then I will go out into the sunshine and try to feel my husband's smile shining all around me warming the coldness of my heart into one that can authentically laugh, love and have fun.

Wish me luck!  xo

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