When you are grieving, you have no choice but to live in the present. Reliving the past, at least early on, is full of landmines. It is not helpful to rehash the way he died, the last goodbye, and all the “what ifs” that go along with that. You can’t help doing some of that, and it can be very painful. Eventually, you move on when you realize dwelling on painful memories does not help, and may even be inhibiting your recovery. And you know you can’t change the past.
You can’t plan the future because you don’t know what it’s going to look like. You are too unsettled and too vulnerable to make major changes.
But, just like living in the past and living in the future don’t work very well, living in the present as a newly single person can also be difficult. I was married to a handyman who could fix anything, and I got dependent upon his talents, and spoiled, I must admit. Now I find things around the house that really need his touch, but he is not here. A year ago I had a bad fall and cracked my pelvis. Jerry was there; he was always there for my mishaps. He couldn’t do anything medical for me, but he took me to Urgent Care, and he was just there. He became my caregiver, as needed – a role reversal for us – and I knew he would take care of me. Now? I go upstairs and a little voice tells me, Be careful on those stairs, don’t fall, whatever you do. There is no one to take care of you.
I find myself thinking about all the things that could go wrong. What if we have a hurricane and one of those huge pine trees in my yard falls on the house? What if we lose power for days? I didn’t have these worries in the past. Jerry and I were a team, and we felt we could handle anything.
Living here, in the house we shared for seven-plus years, it is easy to forget he is gone. I sometimes feel like he could walk in any minute, but I know he won’t. I am always thinking of things to tell him. Jerry, you are getting awfully out of touch these days.
I was single for ten years after my first husband died. I became very independent, so my second marriage required major adjustments. I am older now, but I know I will get back to living alone comfortably again. These are the kind of thoughts I try to concentrate on.
Jerry knew he was going to die first, and we both felt that I would be okay. And I will, eventually. But right now I am missing those blue eyes and that easy grin, and the comfortable feeling that everything is going to be all right.
Goodbye, sweet prince. I will be okay, but I sure do wish you were here.