Just back from Chicago–part business and part memory lane. Chicago was where L and I fell in love and it has always been very very special to me. So when I had the chance to go into the city for business I decided to stay overnight and take a little sentimental journey. I visited several places that were all landmarks of the times L and I shared there. Most of the places are no longer actually there–like where I worked and lived while there–but the neighborhoods are still there and so are the memories. Wonderful wonderful memories of laughter and tears and long walks and serious talks and just being young and in love.
I am realizing with the passing of each day how very very important it is to look back and appreciate all we shared–not in a maudlin, sorrowful way and with NO regret. Rather in a way that makes me smile at the memories and even from time to time brings on the tears. They are tears of sadness, of course. But they are also tears of appreciation for the time we had–and the fact that overall we did not waste it. Each day was a treasure for us–sometimes we missed seeing the treasure in it but the number of days we spent fully aware of just how fortunate we were to have found each other far outdistances those days when we forgot. How do I explain a love story so fulfilling–so strong–that it has indeed continued beyond the grave? I had him in body for decades, but I am beginning to understand that I will have him in spirit for eternity.
As I had expected once the hustle and bustle of handling details — financial, home maintenance, plans for immediate events–lessened, the reality that L is not here and will not be here is beginning to settle over me like a dense fog. A contributing factor is that from the time I was eight or nine the season of October-November has depressed me so that doesn’t exactly bode well for slogging through these days in a normal year. This year is, of course, anything but normal. So I wrestle with the usual sadness and despair that comes with the season even as it is finally beginning to sink in that L is truly irrevocably gone. Yes, his spirit is with me but that is not at all the same. I can’t curl into the side of his spirit the way I used to; I can’t discuss frustrations with all the details that come with handling the house maintenance–workers not calling back, not showing up, etc.; I can’t go through the financial stuff to be sure I am doing it right.
Yes, there are others in my life I could turn to but it’s not the same–they have their way and it’s not L’s way–or for that matter my way. So tough times right now–I know this too shall pass but that small comfort. The truth is that I feel like I am simply moving through the hours– continuing to accept the invitations and attend the various functions and tell myself how blessed I am to have so many who care–and I know that things could be ever so much worse for me. L used to use that argument whenever I started to whine and feel sorry for myself–and I would fire back that we were not talking about “other people” and their problems–we were talking about me and what was going on in my head. Guilting me out of it never worked–and it doesn’t work now although I’ll admit that I am deeply ashamed of myself for not focusing on what is rather than what isn’t.
No real conclusion to this post…just rambling…feeling sorry for myself…and missing L more than ever.
It occurred to me the other day that this journey–like many journeys in life–is all about making choices. Each choice becomes its own destination–its own little postcard moment. Some of the choices are pretty routine–when to eat, what to eat, where to eat for example. When L was alive we sat at the dining room table (more spacious and a better view than our small kitchen table) every evening somewhere around six. The meal was well-rounded–meat (usually chicken), rice or potato, veggie, salad. If there was going to be dessert it came later as we watched TV. Up until about 2 yrs. ago L might have made the meal–when he retired (at age 50 because his health was beginning to fail even then) and I went to work (mostly for the health insurance) he made supper three nights a week. It was the only meal of the day we shared (altho he was dedicated to eating three well-rounded meals a day). Over supper we would talk about all the things that had happened that day–in the world, in the workplace, in the neighborhood, among friends, and most of all with us. We never ever lacked for conversation. Now that I am alone I find I need to make different choices. These days the dining room table is often covered with some project I’m working on–bills and bank statements and such that need attention; my latest writing project; lists I need to make to be sure I take care of everything now that he’s not here to remind me or handle it himself. So I don’t so much eat as I graze–a slice of cheese or some carrots with hummus, or a bowl of soup or sometimes something I pick up at the store. Blessedly I go out with friends at least once a week for a “real” meal. But altho I thought when this all began that eventually I would settle into some kind of routine for eating normal meals again, I can see that this is unlikely. The choice has been made–not the best choice perhaps but one that for now works for me.