Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Lost and Found on an Alien Ocean

It's only lately that I have felt that I am becoming a whole person again. A Psychologist said recently that it is okay to be 'lost' and not know what your path is... rather, it is a natural way of thinking your way through a difficult period in your life in order to come to a decision on what to do with your life now it has changed. Having read his article, I feel a lot better about being tossed around on an alien ocean of emotions, not knowing where I belong in society any more and not knowing where or what my true path is. I am starting to like myself again; starting to think positively about my life on this planet; starting to feel part of the human race again. My self-esteem is slowly and gradually coming back, although I can't pinpoint the moment this started happening or why. I have also lost weight, and don't know why, because I haven't consciously been dieting, although food has become less important to me lately. I haven't cried for a good few weeks now, and I can leap out of bed in the mornings without that heavy feeling of 'what's the point'? I know that I will have a relapse and will, at some point, give in to 'old' feelings of loss, uselessness and being rudderless. Having read that grief can usually take two years before a feeling of slight hope emerges and helps one on the road to integration again, has made me feel just a tad normal. If only I hadn't listened to all the novice advice given to me after the funeral such as: "It will take a year", "you will have sunshine in your life again", "you are still young enough to find another man" - yuk!

It will be three years in September. I am only just emerging from my ashes of grief into a dawn of normality where I can think about ME; about who I want to be and what I want to do. Although the 'what I want to do' bit is still hazy. I want to work for myself; study archeaology, psychology and philosophy. I want to laugh out loud and meet new people. I want to be alive and vital again... and this doesn't mean searching on a Dating Website... been there, done it and didn't like the results!

I feel safe now. No-one is trying to take my home away from me, (although his 'ex' tried to, just after he died). I don't have 'grieving widow' stamped upon my forehead as I first thought, and I no longer feel as if I am on the scrapheap, waiting to die and join my lovely man. He has been integrated, absorbed into my being and become part of me for ever. I can look at photos without crying, but instead, I smile at the good memories.

If I am moving on... then it is good. If I am deluding myself, then I hope I continue the delusion for it makes me happier and more optimistic.

I can understand why some women take their own lives after their loved one dies; and I can understand why some go a little mad. I have considered both options but have chosen to live and try to be as sane as possible. It ain't easy!


Jay said...

The novice advice I usually give people is that the length of time you will grieve varies - a lot. And that you can only work through it at your own pace. My Mum took about two years, if I remember rightly, after losing my Dad. I shut all emotion away and took .. oh gosh ... about ten years to get over his death. There's no time constraints at all on that one.

I'm so glad you feel you're coming out of the dark phase and can really start to rejoin the human race. Hugs to you!

JennyB said...

Jay, I agree, if you repress your grief it takes longer, as in the case of my mum dying suddenly, just when I thought her a nuisance. I refused to cry, so it took me about ten years, then I cried and was ill.

That's why, when my lovely man died, I cried my heart out, every time I've felt like it.

Puddock said...

As usual Jenny, you express almost exactly how I am feeling too. I have reached a point at last this year where I have stopped apologising for my existence and feel reasonably comfortable within my skin.

At the same time, the realisation that this new life could be for, well, life is really hitting home. Maybe those feelings have to wait until we are strong enough to deal with them. After nearly three years of being brave and cheerful, I am daring to be sad every now and then that I am alone, and likely to remain so, for the rest of my life.

Like you, I feel safe now too. When I walk about, whether in my garden or in town, I feel a new confidence. My theory is that it's because we know that nothing could hurt us now - makes you very strong. The day I turned that particular corner was New Year's Day, when I found myself up to elbows in sh*t, literally, with a blocked septic tank and a neighbour who turned me away when I asked, not even for help but only for his drain rod attachments. That day I hit rock bottom and once I was through it I felt capable of withstanding anything.

Onwards and upwards to both of us, and everyone else out there who is battling bravely.