It’s been a few weeks since I’ve written anything. It feels as though I’m letting you all down, but my writing just seems to have become redundant: “I thought about A today and it made me sad, but I’m choosing to not let it get me too down. The End”
Honestly, that’s my daily life in a nutshell. Most of the time, each day is easier than the one before, and most of the time I can pep talk myself into acceptance and understanding that my life now, in “the after“, will never be as it was before and it is up to me to make this new reality the best it can be.
But there are periods where, although I look “normal” on the outside and I can function from day-to-day and I can laugh and smile and enjoy spending time with my family and friends, I’m just feeling somewhat empty and hollow and incomplete. A mere ghost of my former self. I’ve been through this cycle before, and I’m fairly certain I’ll be here again. I’ve just learned to ride out the wave. So please understand, if I’m not “here”, I’m probably just surfing…
In any case, I recently turned 50 without much fanfare, slipping quietly into the land of AARP discounts, but
spent a really pleasant day with my family – my children and their significant others. We hung out at home where they presented me with a meaningful card (my kids know me well – I absolutely love greeting cards chosen with care and inscribed with personal messages from each giver) and birthday cake before taking me to a nice, casual dinner and then surprising me with a visit to an escape room. (Side note: If you’ve never been to one, you should try it. We spent just over an hour finding the clues that would allow us to punch in the code to “escape”. So, while we solved the mystery, the extra 3 minutes it took us to do so eliminated us actually being able to claim success. We vow to do better next time, and all save Duchess are excited to go again.)
Overall, it was an enjoyable day, dimmed only by the fact that A wasn’t there to share it with me, and that distant, niggling memory that 50 was the last birthday we celebrated with him. His absence was much like a mist, a shadowy reminder of all the past milestones celebrated together and all the future ones we won’t.
For the most part, things are going well for us all. As a family unit, my children are going through exciting transitions. All four of them (and I’m including my new son-in-law in my count) have recently been hired by some of the largest corporations in our area. Actually 2 out of the 3 companies are definitely the top 2 in the area, with both of the parent companies on the Fortune 100 list, and the third has connections to one of the other two.
My own life is in a transitional period, as well. My employer, the woman I had been working for for the past few years, and who helped me immensely through the initial stages of my grief, both through friendship and understanding, and an equine session with a beautiful Arabian named Officer, moved out of state 2 months ago.
Although she wanted me to move with her, I wasn’t ready to leave my children (and I hope they weren’t anxious to see me go, either). And so, I helped her pack up her 6,000 square foot home and move 8 hours north to a home with half the square footage and 30 or 40 times the acreage where she, Officer and her two other horses will be cooler and better able to roam freely, which is exactly what she wanted.
So I’ve essentially been job hunting while trying not to stress too much about the uncertainty and still making the best of the situation, treating it as a bit of a “vacation”, sleeping in, getting some long overdue tasks done around the house, reading more, etc. As of this week, it looks as though I’ve got a viable long range plan in sight and I’m choosing to believe that it is happening as it is meant to.
And yes, it is a choice. All of these moments where I make a conscious decision to focus on the positives (somewhat of an oxymoron where grieving is concerned) are individual choices made in the moment with the belief that happiness itself is a choice, to a certain extent.
I will definitely continue to have moments, days, and periods where the choosing – and subsequent action – is more difficult and takes more effort, but I believe that the only other option is to be sucked down into the abyss once again, and I know from experience what a horrible place it can be. I will continue to be haunted by shadows of the past, longing for what will not and cannot ever be again.
But I will get through them as each shadow visits. I will continue to choose the bright side (or as bright a side as I can achieve, that is) because I know only light can cast out the darkness.
In the words of Helen Keller, whose quotation adorns the home page of my blog, “Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadows. It’s what the sunflowers do.” And so I will…
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