I have always been a people person. I love being around people. I love attending social gatherings, hooking up with friends, meeting new people, and reuniting with old. I would never consider myself a loner, far from it. I love sharing ideas, engaging in good conversations, listening to other people’s stories and words of wisdom. I also just like having fun with my girlfriends and guy friends. I learn a lot about people by listening and observing. My husband, on the other hand, was not really a social guy. He would willingly attend events and functions, but if it was left up to him, he’d be happy at home reading, writing, working, or whatever, with me by his side. He would say to me,”As long as you’re here with me Sugars, everything is fine.”Actually, however, I appreciated that. The fact that he was content in my presence doing the mundane, the routine, the unspectacular, made me feel loved and cherished. So we compromised by spending much of our marriage together, rarely a day apart, and we had a good balance of social activities and “us” time. When Chuck passed away I could never really regret having not spent enough time with him, in fact , it would become a recurrent soothing memory for me, the time we spent together. After all we were partners in marriage, and there was no one else that I would want to spend my time with more than him. We spent time with friends often enough, so I really felt that I had the best of both worlds.
After Chuck’s death in 2009, I felt completely and utterly alone. Unfortunately, I’d had no choice in the matter and I was now truly by myself and feeling out of sorts. When Chuck was in the throes of his illness, someone suggested that I keep in mind that his illness was his illness. So although this journey was ours, his cancer was his. I would remember that bit of advice as I made my way as caretaker.It helped to give me the stamina to get up everyday and care for my husband. I worked very hard at trying not to get sucked into his illness. Before the morning he died I had held his hand the night before and fallen asleep, but I would soon realize that no matter how tightly I held onto him when death called, not even I could prevent him from slipping away. Chuck’s life here had ended and he was onto another place, unknown by us earthly mortals. The way he was born was how he left, alone. He had found his way back to himself, no longer a part of the we, us, the couple, but just him on his own.
Soon after I realized I ,too,was truly alone.I found myself having to find my way by myself, back to my future. I would have to figure out who I would become without my spouse. When I was able to begin to escape the grip of grief, I had to decide who I would be all alone. What would I do now that I had no one else to consider but myself? I would spend many days in deep thought, pondering the circumstance of my future. I went deep as I considered who I was, my likes, dislikes, all the variables, possibilities, and options for my new beginning. When I went into this rediscovery of myself I consulted only myself. I no longer felt the need to be surrounded by people. I couldn’t afford distractions or the well meant suggestions from others. People suggest things based on how they see you, but I wanted to find myself based on how I saw myself. So even as I dealt with the pain of loss, I began to rediscover old interests and new ones too. This time alone caused me to develop a solitary life, unconnected to my social persona. I was able to re-examine the things I did as Chuck’s wife and sort through many new ideas as I rebuilt my new life bit by bit.
No one else can tell you who you are;you have to discover that for yourself. Everyday in the early morning I would pray and meditate and listen to the messages in my soul that helped me to get acquainted with the new me. No phones, no texting, nothing but me with myself. Soon I came to know myself differently than when Chuck was alive. And after a while, when I was satisfied, I was able to emerge anew. This was the road I journeyed on, away from the thoughts and activities of the outside world.Soon I emerged into my new life, having found my way back to myself.
Read more about how I found my way back to myself in Brave in a New World: A Guide to Grieving the Loss of a Spouse http://www.lulu.com/shop/yvonne-broady/brave-in-a-new-world-a-guide-to-grieving/paperback/product-21949269.html ,Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/ze9az8m, Barnes and Noble and all other online booksellers