It’s been months since I’ve blogged. I’m writing but I don’t have anything clear to share. I could talk about the fear and excitement of walking into whatever is next, which is to say walking into this moment and the next and maybe even the moments that will be called tomorrow.
I could share how grateful I am for the life I have built with Pete. A dear friend reminded me that I am a builder. A builder of community, of networks, of programs, or businesses, and most important to me, my family. I’m really proud of what I’ve built, personally and professionally. It’s actually a really hard act to follow.
This moving on part of grief is less emotional and more exertion. I’m exerting energy in ways I have not before – like using new muscles. Like the muscle that is attracted to people other than my husband. Or the muscle to throw a party on my own, or invite people to dinner when it’s just me. I’m exerting energy to protect my time for my own sake and not for the sake of marriage or family. I have to figure out how to eat just for me, to cook just for me, to shop just for me. It’s a mew kind of workout being me… because I’ve been “we” for a very long time.
And don’t get me wrong, some of this exercise, a lot of this exercise is enjoyable, meaning I am finding joy in a lot of my days. And I’m even grateful that I cry a couple times each day too. I’m grateful that my body wants to feel all of it still. I’m grateful that I’m strong enough to feel all of it still. But all of the “feels” are exhausting.
I’ve never been one that lingers in bed in the morning. I wake like clockwork around 6am. And in the past, I got up, poured the caffeine and moved into my day. I read and journaled in the mornings. I used to do a lot of my thinking in the morning. But these past months my body is too tired. I still open my eyes around 6am but I often roll over and open them again at 7:30. And here’s my big secret – I waste time in the mornings! And by waste time, I lose 45 minutes looking at facebook marketplace. Or I fiddle between three websites that sort of have to do with things I’m thinking about – like finding a rug for my bathroom or figuring out why skin on my arm all of a sudden looks like crepe paper or why my computer has no more memory for the update.
And before I know it, it’s 9:20am and I haven’t journaled and it’s time to go to the gym. So, I write for half a second, get to the gym where I watch an episode of Grey’s Anatomy while on the elliptical. I lift; I stretch.
And then I go about my day which is always accompanied with the work of grief, which is to say the work of living after loss. This is what I mean by grief accompanying me. When I sit alone in stillness for three minutes, in my car, at my desk, walking to the coffee machine, I am acutely aware of the absence of my former life. It’s not just the absence of Pete (although that’s definitely there too). My life does not feel the same. I do not feel the same. It’s a haunting feeling I guess.
All of life is new. Same surroundings. Different Beth.
I cry a couple times each day when the haunting feeling shows up. Then I go through a series of helpful and unhelpful thoughts like – I don’t know what I am doing. How did this happen? I miss him. I’m grateful for him. Pete, did you see that? Yesterday was a good day. Damn, this is hard. I’m so tired of crying. I’m so tired, period. I don’t think I want to do this. Can I call out sick? I don’t want to call out sick, then what will I do? What would be helpful right now? I want a cup of coffee. I want to have a cup of coffee with Pete. You know what, screw that, I want someone to want to have a cup of coffee with me. I’m fun to be with. And I’m cute.
The particular combination of those thoughts take about three minutes and then I shake my head – yes, I literally shake whatever that was off. I exert the energy to move into the next moment.