I don’t know if this will ever get published. There are several unpublished drafts here.
Why did I stop blogging? I don’t know. Why did I ever blog in the first place? Well it just started off as a nice way to document my trips to Paris, then my life and then as my life got more serious with Michaels illness I guess it was an outlet for my fear and worry and other emotions. So why. When I was going through the grief did I stop?
Maybe it was too deep, too personal and painful to share. I did try, as it says above I’ve found several unpublished drafts.
Today on my emails I found a comment on another blog from December 2013. Michael and I were waiting for the PET scan results and I described how I felt.
Emotional pain is like childbirth, nature makes you forget how bad it is. I’d forgotten how I was feeling then. Now I’m sorry I’ve not documented my journey through grief
Now, 19 months on along my journey of grief I am in a much better place. I could say I’m happy even. there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Strangely I can now weep. Healing tears. Previously the tears would not come freely. As if when the floodgates opened I would not be able to stop. Typically British The weeping is controlled, other cultures weep and wail and throw themselves about. Here it’s just not done.
For me the journey through grief has been a series of cycles. the well known stages of denial , anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance have come round and round again, each time getting a little easier. . It felt like I just kept on going, putting one foot in front of the other, head down into the storm. Trying not to fight, just accepting what came along , One day at a time. During the dark depression days , which were inevitably the most difficult. I just went with it, stayed home and ate toast., Not wanting to talk to anyone, hiding away. ( and that was Ok!). Usually after a couple of days I’d feel better and come out into the world again, surprised to find it kept on spinning and all was normal.
Eventually, on the anniversary of his death, I removed my wedding ring. This of course is a very personal act. For me it symbolised moving forward. I no longer wanted to define myself as a grieving widow. Now I wear it on a chain around my neck? I often find myself holding it as if Michael is with me in spirit in that ring, but I need to get on with life.
There is nothing like the death of a loved one to make you acutely aware of your own mortality and how short and fragile life is. Michael taught me a valuable lesson in living life to the full each day.
It’s not been all doom and gloom. I’ve had some good times. And of course I have my wonderful children and grandchildren. Strangely though I find family gatherings the most difficult. Perhaps that’s when I’m aware I’m not in a couple.
I went to America for a month last October, spending two weeks in California with my brother and family and two weeks in Massachusetts with a friend. I ended the trip with a week in Paris. I had a wonderful time and found some new insights about life along the way. Which is another story!
I’ve also travelled by myself to France and Croatia and some places in the UK that I always wanted to visit. I’ve got hooked on solo travel and actually prefer to go alone.
About 6 months after Michael died I realised I needed a purpose. I got a bit bored with being a ” lady who lunches ” Maybe caring for him all that time showed me thats what life is about… So I found some voluntary work. One day week I work at a local.refugee centre. We provide a safe place for them to socialise, a barber, advice on thier asylum application’s, food bank , clothing bank and activities like art.
Another day I do a shift on the Manchester telephone helpline. Both activities are very fulfilling and help me focus on something else than my own loss.
I do this for myself. Because it gives me purpose. Makes me feel useful.
There’s nothing like realising other people have it worse than you as an antidote to self pity.
Today, what could have been a blah day ( I hate bank holidays !) turned out to be a wonderful day. A friend text me and we went for coffee which turned into lunch. It was such a lovely day we decided to go for a walk. I could appreciate the beauty of the blue sky trees and the reservoir . Families happily strolling around the water. I could feel joy at just being alive. In some of the dark days it was very hard to find gratitude, but I did. Even if it was just for the memories of 27 years together. I appreciate now the idea that its SO important to make memories.
SO TODAY MY MESSAGE IS MAKE MEMORIES WHILE YOU CAN.