Life is complicated isn’t it? One day you are worrying about what flavor popsicle you want as you anxiously await the ice cream man, hearing the music blaring from the next street over. All of a sudden it is time to decide on a college and career. What will you do for the rest of your life? Do you want to marry and how do you feel about kids? What if you don’t find the right person? Where will you live? See, it’s complicated or is it?
What seemed like big decisions when you were young are minute now as you grieve the loss of someone or something you loved. Decisions are simple during the weeks following loss. What do I eat or do I eat? Should I try to go to bed or wait until I am so exhausted and I can’t fight it anymore? When I wake multiple times, do I give in and get up or do I stay and fight the racing thoughts that are so painful? What do I do with the “things?” I should take a shower and go out, but I don’t feel like it. I’m so tired. How do I celebrate the holidays? Do I celebrate the holidays?
Decisions are on a much smaller scale now. Life as you knew it has changed forever. Will I ever feel better you ask yourself. What does this new life look like?
Rick died exactly 5 weeks and 5 days ago. My entire identity is different. I was married for 46 years and in filling out a form the other day I had to list myself as “Single”. This is so beyond my realm of thinking and caused me to reflect on how quickly life can change. Those everyday decisions become almost unbearable and can even be physically painful to make. I realized that I don’t have an identity right now. Sure I am still the same person physically, but I am a very different person inside. You change when you lose someone and that is normal. Many want you to go back to being the person you were, but that isn’t possible, nor would you want to. You are who you are because of what experiences you’ve had in life, good or bad. You are forever changed, but the change is the challenge. How you are affected by life’s speed bumps is really up to you. There is a meme that says you can be bitter or you can be better.
What you want for your life becomes the question. This revelation doesn’t come overnight, but I believe is a process that evolves over time. As you incorporate the loss into your life and learn to live without that person, you also start to move forward towards a new and different future. That future can be frightening and that is where I find myself today, frightened about the road ahead. Where do I fit? What do I do for recreation? People have asked me innocently if I was going to move. Honestly I had never considered that an option. I read something about what to do with your wedding rings, didn’t know that was a thing I needed to consider. Lots and lots of decisions for someone who is just trying to get out of bed and get dressed isn’t it?
When Lindsey died I was in a dense fog for at least a year, but right now I am keenly aware of each and every aspect of my life. There is no fog, the path is in front of me and the water ahead is crystal clear. I know what I need to do, I just don’t know how to do it and I sure don’t know how to do it alone. That is my challenge, to figure out how to be Carolyn without Rick.
So for now, I’m going to stop and rest in the maze, contemplate my future and eat my grape popsicle.