There has been a handful of times lately in this last 8 months I caught myself thinking “what the hell are you doing?”
The passing of time can do so many things to us. It can change us in ways we don’t see coming. Time is one of those things that can be your best friend or your worst enemy. The thing is, time doesn’t care, it keeps right on existing.
Whether it be when I’m bawling for what seems like no apparent reason though I am fully aware it is sorrow, sadness or just missing you.
Whether it be when I struggled to get up and go to a job where they acted more like high school girls worried about the latest gossip rather than women concerned about the changing world around them and what rights they may lose.
Whether it was when I willingly walked away from that job because the dread of it every morning was more than my soul could take. Don’t people understand how precious the little time they have left is? I thought one of the women who had also lost her mother the year before understood but she was one of the worst when it came to gossip and talking about other people. She hadn’t learned anything from her life lessons.
What a relief
It was a relief to wake up in the mornings that followed to the thought of not entertaining such foolish chatter any longer. My stress level eased, and I was able to allow myself peace while grieving.
I also realized I was just tired of working. I am 60 years old. I left home when I was 15 years old. I worked before I left and worked throughout my lifetime, off and on, in between raising children. I am tired of working. No I may not be done working but for now I need time away from the grind.
Whether it was when I sat in the evening and drowned myself with whatever concoction of drink, I could create that tasted good and eased the emotional pain of never seeing you again. Self-medicating is such a dangerous thing. In the end it did nothing for me but make me feel worse. I knew you didn’t want me drinking my sorrow away. Once in awhile sure but on a daily basis no.
Whether it was when I told myself “Create, work, write, she would want you to continue,” knowing full well that it just wasn’t there in my heart let alone in my mind. Thinking I should feel bad about not being able to drum up the energy, the thoughts, the words, the actions yet knowing that sort of shame of what I should or shouldn’t feel wasn’t going to be the answer. So letting go of judging myself instead.
Your last “I love you”
I kept remembering your face as you strained to tell me your last “I love you so much.” I will never forget that.
I needed time. The most precious commodity any of us have.
So instead of doing what others thought I should or doing what “society” taught me I should do, I allowed myself time. Time to grieve, time to remember, time to feel, heal and be overwhelmed with the loss of my mother, my friend and my first teacher. I allowed myself the luxury of feeling all of those things that most people do not, cannot or will not during the grief process.
I didn’t want to stuff the feelings. I didn’t want to go sit with a stranger in an office and discuss the myriad of thoughts running through my mind or the feelings that engulfed me to no end some days. I didn’t want to bury them in sexual escapades, flavorful concoctions nor bury them in the busy-ness of life.
I wanted to feel them, to allow myself to be fully engulfed in them, to let them run the gambit so that when it was all said and done there would be nothing to rear its ugly head later down the line in this magnificent, beautiful, scary but wonderful thing called life.
Honoring our relationship
During the grief process it occurred to me that one of the ways I could honor our relationship, your life and memory while living mine was to travel. You were not brave enough to step out into the world after Dad passed away to do anything. You kept yourself busy at home and isolated away from living or experiencing anything.
We had talked multiple times about taking off in a rental car to go see your sister in Minnesota. You just couldn’t see yourself doing that. You had multitude of excuses all of which we could have dealt with, but you chose not to. We were able to get you out to go see other relatives that were closer by.
One of the things that you allowed me as I was growing up was freedom. Our town was small enough and everyone knew everyone to make you comfortable in your children exploring on their own. You knew most of our friends, had their phone numbers and allowed us to roam within reason as long as we were home before dark. That is one of the most precious gifts you gave me.
I explored our tiny town, the park, the cemetery, the creeks, the rivers, the outlying areas that we pretended to “camp” on. I loved being outside more than anything. I loved finding the toads, ring neck snakes, little lizards, watching the butterflies, catching the fireflies, climbing trees and hiding under bushes that were bigger than I was. It made my body strong, my mind alive, and my soul fell in love with nature deeply. She remains my first love.
Life is too precious
I don’t want to sit in my house with my grief and do nothing while watching the world go by as I wither away, like you did. Life is too short and precious for that. So with the small bit of inheritance that you left I am mustering up my courage and bravery and taking to the road to allow myself the freedom to live life on my own terms for the last part of it. To gift myself some of the experiences, and wonders that can help heal my wounded spirit. At 60 years old I have many things I still want to do, places I want to see, let alone people to meet along the way that will leave my life richer. Then later I can sit in my old age as I remember when I was brave enough to believe in myself and take a chance on living life to its fullest potential even after everyone thinks you’re too old to do so.
Pushing through my doubts, my wonders and my “what the hell am I thinking” pattern has been a constant ever since my divorce in 2012. I don’t think it will stop until I am out there in the midst of doing “it” then it will only occur to me that I no longer am doubting my own ability to be totally on my own, walking through whatever door opens and knowing that I am capable of creating a life well lived.
I hope you will share your experiences and thoughts with me in the comments below. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to email me. Thank you.
All the best,