It’s 4:00 AM. I’m used to being kept awake in the wee hours, needled by thoughts of how Chris’ death changed my life. The storm has passed, and my thoughts about the reality of death, and the chaos that followed, blow around in my mind like the last few leaves at the end of a crisp, windy autumn afternoon.
I still don’t fully believe that I was a happy single woman who met a happy single man, dated him for five years, moved across the country with and for him, married him, dreamed dreams with him, lost him and grieved my loss of him for six years. I no longer actively grieve my loss of his life. I do, however, still grieve the parts of my own life I lost as a result.
After everything I have been through, I know that overcoming my loss of enthusiasm for my passions (musical theater, singing and acting) lies entirely in my own hands. I tend to think I lost six years of time, and work that could have been spent honing my skills. But after the intensity of emotion brought on by the ending of two lives, one life together, I am left with the knowledge that my dream isn’t over unless I decide to allow poisonous, counter-productive thoughts and memories to constrict the door to my future happiness and to my dreams. I know many people who regularly follow their dreams. I must become and then remain one of them in order to preserve my authentic being and all sense of who I am. I am no longer the widow. I have experienced fourteen months of horror followed by six years of intense grief and anxiety, and now, standing at the finish line, I find myself evaluating some “much-needed-at-the-time”, albeit “not-needed-anymore” attachments to places, things and people who were there when it happened, attachments that hinder some of my forward movement today. Letting go is no easy task. Habits of hanging on have been burned into my soul for so long that I am in need of extensive mental reconstruction.
I miss my former therapist, Clay, this morning. I no longer need his services, and I haven’t seen him for almost a year. But he is one of the people who was there shortly after I hit bottom. He carried me along from week to week, giving me a reason for being, and even though that was just business, it felt like love and care. I sometimes feel like seeing him again because I miss him, but he’s not my friend. He’s just a therapist I pulled out of my health insurance database. Without Clay, my mind would have snapped more violently than it did, and I might not have regained and retained some very basic, vital parts of myself.
I’m frightened by how much time has passed since Chris died. In general, I have become frightened by the passing of time, by how old my own mother is now, by the realization that I met Chris twelve years ago, which doesn’t seem possible, because how could he be dead for six years? Where did those six years go? Where did the 32-year-old, naïve woman who met Chris go? How did I suddenly look up and see a 43-year-old woman in her place? If I place the old me in the past with Chris, can there now exist a brand new me in the present and in the future who walks forward holding hands with Jonathan? I’m still not quite sure where or how to put the old me in the past where she belongs.
If I could have one wish right now, it would be to lose the nagging, relentless anxiety with which I have been saddled, and walk, worry-free into my future with Jonathan. I’m not going to drone on about how much I love Jonathan. I do, but that’s for future posts, should I decide to continue writing here, or in a new blog. Maybe our wedding, which is now in just two weeks, will be the major life event, the marker that allows me to fearlessly and without anxiety walk into a brighter, promising future. It’s my choice, and I’m hoping I’ll have the courage to let go of the security blanket I wove from grief.
It’s time to move on. And it’s time to go back to bed.