My husband died a little over 3 years ago. 1,195 days ago to be exact. I know there is no timeline on grief. I have not been grieving this entire time, at least not visibly (and not consciously). I actually started dating about a year after he died. It didn’t really work out because I wasn’t ready (and frankly neither was the recently divorced man I was dating). After that I decided to figure out who I was and what I liked to do. I hung out with friends and did a lot of karaoke! I was going through some issues with my daughter, and so I was still up and down, but for the most part I was actually happy. I tried dating again, with the warning to the man that wanted to date me that I wasn’t sure I was ready for a long term relationship or if I ever would be. He was willing to give it a try anyway, and we were in a relationship for over a year. It was amazing, until I realized that he was making plans based on me being around for a long time… and I just couldn’t commit to that. Besides, he loves to camp and fish and I would rather go out and sing karaoke and go dancing and attend spiritual gatherings and classes and workshops, etc. We are still very good friends and I will always love him and treasure what he was for me at the time that I needed it.
Single again, I had a lot more time alone with myself – which is great for self reflection. I’ve been doing a lot of personal development work, a lot of learning and growing personally and have made some amazing new friends and connections through women’s groups and volunteering. I’m feeling very confident about my personal development. My career development is a different story. I have made some amazing progress, but I’m not where I would like to be. I have not had the desire or motivation to complete some of the courses I signed up for that will help me with my coaching. I’ve also noticed that where I used to be very good at memorizing and remembering information, now even when I am speaking I seem to need to use my notes more than I used to. I pretty much stopped holding Mary Kay parties when I realized I didn’t want to become a director, even though holding the parties and teaching skin care is something I love doing. It’s like I’ve been in a holding pattern and I’m not giving myself the clearance to take off.
The past few weeks I have been very tired, and have been sleeping a lot. Since my husband passed there have always been times when I get really sad all of a sudden, and I know that these times will always come to me from time to time. Typically they don’t last very long, I feel them and then let them pass. Lately, they’ve been coming more often and lasting longer. The other day I was talking with a friend who is also a coach specializing in grief counseling. When she told me my tiredness and lack of motivation was grief. I was surprised but not surprised by that. It’s amazing how we can shove the obvious under the carpet so well.
Last night I attended a gallery with a psychic medium. I put my wedding rings on a chain around my neck. I was really hoping that Scott would come through. The gallery was amazing but I was one of the few people that did not get read. I had also woken up yesterday with a bad headache that would not go away. It was like there was some kind of energy in the back of my head, my neck and spine that was stuck. My thoughts yesterday kept going back to why I was not pursuing the courses that I had signed up for, and fear that there was something that was stopping me from being able to learn and remember things. Last night after the gallery I came home, threw up and went to bed.
This morning I woke up with a foggy head, but the pain in my neck and back was gone. I was thinking about the day before, and my concerns about learning when it hit me that I was in “watch mode” again. Let me explain what I mean by that. The summer after I met Scott we both went home to our parents. It was the only time we would be apart from each other for that long from the day we met until the day he died. That summer I was a sad mess. He was all I could think of. I slept in every day until the mail came. He wrote me a letter every day. I would get the mail, read my letter (several times) and write a reply. Then I would go back to sleep or watch tv. I didn’t talk to friends, I didn’t talk much to my family. I was basically just watching the world go by and waiting until summer was over so I could be with Scott again. When we finally got back together right before school started, we both noticed how being in “watch mode” had made me and my brain very sluggish. Fortunately the damage was not permanent, but there would be several times throughout the years to follow when I would get in a slump and we would refer back to my summer of being in “watch mode”.
It hit me this morning that I have been in “watch mode” for over 3 years!!! And if I’m honest with myself, I’ve probably been in “watch mode” since I left my job back in August of 2013. That puts it at close to 5 years that I have been tuned out. Wow – I am so grateful that I finally realized this. It’s like a light switch turned on. That’s not the only switch that got triggered though. As I was thinking about the gallery last night and my disappointment that Scott didn’t show up, I realized that he is not going to. He is gone and he is not coming back. Our time together was amazing but it is over, and now I need to let him go and move on. I will never lose what we had, but it’s time for me to stop trying to hold on to the past.
It’s time. It’s time for Roni.