Growth and Setbacks

Well, last 4th of July I went to a party at the home of dear friends and came very close to having a weeping breakdown in front of everyone.So understandably when this year I had invitations to not one but two parties–one on the 3rd and the other on the 4th, I was more than a little nervous. July 4th has always been one of my favorite holidays–you know what to wear, the menu is pretty much set and there are no gifts involved. Beyond that I happen to LOVE fireworks! L knew all of this and embraced my enthusiasm for the holiday–it was something we shared and looked forward to every year.

The party on the 3rd was of special concern–this annual event was not held last year because the hosts were traveling so as I prepared to go this year I realized that this was going to be a large gathering with several people that I have known for years but who are more acquaintances than close friends. Most of them would be seeing me for the first time since L died. I was tempted to take the easy way out and fake illness and not go but I knew L would be so disappointed in me for this was his greatest fear–that I would crawl into my shell. So I went…and had a lovely evening! The gathering on the 4th was much smaller but there were still a number of “new” faces there as there had been at the party last summer when I had to leave before I broke down. This time I found that I was able to meet people without worrying about whether or not they knew that L had died–some did and some did not. For those who did not I found that I was able to say without hesitation “my late husband” or “L, my husband who died last year” and let the conversation continue naturally. So on both scores I count that as growth on my part–moving past the “it’s all about me and my grief” stage to the “I am doing okay” stage–because I am except…

(And here comes the setback piece of this)…I am finding that the more time passes the more pervasive and devastating the loneliness becomes. I had foolishly thought that I would begin to fall into some sort of routine and fill the hours with tasks and chores and work and walks with friends and movies with friends and dinners with friends and…

And what I am coming to terms with is that IF that is to happen a great deal of the calling and scheduling is up to me and that’s a huge problem because I don’t like to “bother” people so for now I am taking things one step at a time–trying to find things to do even on my own that at least put me in the company of others even strangers.  Someone told me about a sketching class starting soon at the local rec department so I signed up for that and I signed up to volunteer for the annual film festival in September so one step at a time…hour by hour, day by day until like the July 4th parties of last year and this I realize that I have changed and grown and coped.

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2 thoughts on “Growth and Setbacks

  1. Following your blog this past year has given me comfort and a sense that there is actually someone else out there who really “gets” what this process is like. The end of this month marks two years since this new way of being in the world began for me without my love. By now I fully expected life to be flowing with more ease than I feel.

    What resonated for me as I read your most recent blog is the persistent and to use your words, pervasive and devastating the loneliness still is. I find my busy days with beautiful, interesting, lovely friends no longer fills the void. I thought I would be closer to my goal of not only learning to live alone but LIKING it. I begin to wonder if that is possible for me – yet, I keep working on it.

    1. Donna, the truth is that responses like your give ME comfort so thank you. A friend who s now in her 6th year told me months ago that year two was much harder than year one–oh joy!! Hang in there. Anna

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