It is odd; this mixture of feelings I am having. So very lonely at nights, when I should have my love and his warmth next to me.
Twitching at the Silence inside the house, only the cats and artificial sounds abound.
Enjoying the small moments of having both cats cuddling with me. When friends come to visit. Trying to find myself again in whatever way I am strong enough for.
Steps forward and back.
I'm finding it easier on some days to just put on a mask and lie (I consider it lying, at least) and smile and nod and say "I'm fine. I'm doing ok. Let's talk about _________."
Some days, it is not a lie, and I can care. I do care about my friends and their lives.
Some days, it is hard to smile to see someone I love celebrating what I lost or never will have.
I am doing best to move at my own pace. There are some influences in my life (no comments needed, please) that think due to some reason... (age? length of marriage? ??) I should be doing certain things by now, taking certain "steps", walking a certain path.
That's not really what I feel entirely though.
I might have been following a trail once, but it veered very much off the track. I might have been following steps of others who had their trails veer from the paved, smooth road, but it had long since been covered up by circumstances.
Bush-whacking? Is that the term? Trail-blazing?
Some days the walking is easier; the ground level, the air dry and wind calm.
Some days... headway can be measured in inches or centimetres not miles/kilometres.
I get overwhelmed still, so often. At some predictable things I am learning to avoid until I can learn to deal with it. Surprises however can not be that entirely prepared for. I can prep as much as I have learned in my life, but there might still come up some new problem to solve that my wits and skills alone cannot win.
Those days are the ones I fear lately.
A lot of it with the holidays, a lot of it with memories of sadness at holidays past.
Thank you to everyone who has been sending me holiday cards. They do help.
I still have not quite figured out what to do for Christmas eve or day next week.
I am starting to become functional in some ways, but mentally, it is so hard to just make a decision. There are always variables to consider and I am compelled to consider them all.
I miss company as well though. I miss companionship. I miss watching a movie in the evening after dinner with someone, talking maybe even laughing, and going to bed warm, touching the person I love who loves me. I miss the sounds around the house; doors closing. Kitchen sounds. Talking and laughter. My own laugh often sounds so odd to me now, though it does come more often.
I try to be thankful for those who loved us and helped us throughout the years, especially around the holiday times. But, that puts me in the past; such bittersweet memories.
At what point I wonder, does it hurt less to remember? Does it ever?
Perhaps like all grief, it truly varies from one person to the other.
Some times it is the most simple of actions, the littlest of things.
Someone to bring me tea in the morning.
Hugs. On a daily basis. More than once a day even.
Having my hair stroked by him. The way he sometimes would wrap his fingers in it as he slept, keeping close to me.
Hearing my name.
Being told "I love you". Knowing it is meant when it is said.
The world does go on, yes.
My friend put it very well in some correspondence with me:
"Making friends as a young adult, the way we mostly do it, is easy. Most people have coworkers or fellow students, so their friends are handed to them on a platter. You've got a triple-whammy situation happening, in that you're much older than other people your age (not just because of Wash; I think you started out that way), you're not in school or working some crappy job, and you've seen a whole lot more than most folks do in a lifetime.
There is no way to overcome those barriers that does not disrespect what you've done and who Wash was, so I won't even suggest that you not talk about him or hide what happened.
You must not allow this to make you brittle. You *must* not. Even in the worst moments while Wash was dying, you reached out to other people and were beautifully flexible and loving. Most people don't manage that in a happy life.
That said. . .these next few months will hurt. I wish there were a way around that, but there's not. You've essentially lived a life already, at 26, that most people don't have until they're 80. Now you have to go through birthing pains again, to be Tashi. It's going to suck, and it's going to feel hopeless at times, and there will be moments when you're glad for the absence of feeling, as opposed to actual pain. You'll end up as Tashi at the end of it, but you'll wonder sometimes if it was worth the price."
I do expect pain. I do expect more misunderstandings, and more patience needed on my part and every one around me. I don't expect it to be perfect or happy, or even an end. Life only ended for him, not me. I somehow how to keep more than breathing, to keep working to find myself again, who I am now, re-defined.
Without him as an 'active' part of me. Only part of my history and my shaping as a human. As the person who taught me what "unconditional love" meant on my own part; not just others'.
The long journey really begins now. We've done the Kilimanjaro of brain surgeries, the Rockies of chemo and radiation over and over month after month, and now I am left alone to go up Everest.
The Hope in the allegory being he trained me to do this. I have to trust myself.
That is the next step.
If doing this helps the next ones to follow in our path, perhaps my pain will mean something.
I have to Hope. Some days that is all that is left.