Monday, September 7, 2015

Four Months - My Reflections

I've been doing a lot of reflecting the last few days.   I've been thinking about two things - how much I miss Rudy and what the heck am I supposed to do without him.

I believe in Heaven.  I believe Rudy is there and that he's happy.  I believe he is often with me and others he loves.  There's still a connection. I believe at the end of my life, I'll join him on the other side.

I think there's a possibility that before we are born we may get to choose a few things about our life in order to put ourselves in situations where we will do what we're supposed to do and learn what we're supposed to learn.  I can even imagine Rudy being given a choice - he could have chosen a longer, safer, more sedate life.  Instead, he chose a slightly shorter life lived doing exactly as he pleased, saying exactly what he wanted to say and having a heck of a time all along the way.  That sounds like a pretty great way to live, actually.  It can ruffle feathers, but it certainly simplifies things more than beating around the bush or avoiding talking about things.  He had great health with hardly any trouble at all up until 7 months before he died.  I can see him choosing that, too.  So, he had a good life.  62 years isn't long enough, but it's more than many get.

1978 - this was my first trip to his family's yearly reunion.
It was the summer before we were married.

If I truly believe Rudy is happy in Heaven and that Rudy had a good life on earth, then it follows that much of my grief is because I'm feeling awfully sorry for myself.  That's true.  What do I do without him?  When I pictured my future, I pictured it with him.  We would grow old together.  We might even "check out" together in a car crash. He was a very talented driver and had incredible reflexes, but he went way too fast for me.  I could even picture us going through the "after-death tunnel" together. As we would be pulled towards the bright light,  I would be fussing at him all the way, saying, "I TOLD YOU your driving was going to kill us!"

It ALSO follows that I am still here because my journey is not over.  The question is, what is my journey?  I have been reading lots of online sites for widows.  The posts are often inspiring and the comments by other widows are often enlightening and/or thought-provoking.  If I thought about it long enough, I could probably come up with 5 or 6 highly generalized categories for how  widows deal with their grief.  One category would be for widows who desperately want to find another person to love.  I don't begrudge them, but I'm definitely not in that category. I've never been the type of person to get bored alone. I can have just as much fun by myself as with someone.  Another category would be for widows who pretty much give up.  Just today I read a great post inspiring widows to stop picturing themselves as one day old and alone (I have to admit that scenario scares the heck out of me) and start visualizing themselves living a full and happy life.  Then I read the comments and there were MANY from widows who said they were too old to start a new life.  The surprising part?  They were in their 50's or 60's.  Not a single one of those comments were from ladies over 65.  If those widows were in front of me, I'd be tempted to shake them til their teeth rattled.  So clearly, that's not my category.

So what widow category is mine?  I'm pretty sure I'm in the category of widows who despite being devastated, pick themselves up and figure out how to spend whatever time is left on earth being a good person, living fully, and seeking joy.  I have no idea how that's going to look.  I can't imagine what the future may bring.  I can't imagine the path I might take, but you can bet I'm going to keep moving.  I'm going to stay connected to family and friends and life.  I'm going to make new friends along the way.  I'm going to be open to possibilities... new hobbies, new things to learn, maybe I'll even live on a lake or on the coast one day.  When my ride is over and Rudy meets me on the other side, he'll be grinning and he'll say, "Well done".

That all sounds very brave, doesn't it?  Here's a little widow truth...  I won't be able to go out bravely into the world with that attitude every day.  Today, for instance, I'm overwhelmed with memories of Rudy. It's been exactly four months since he died (May 7th at 9:15 am).  I'm going to stick around the house and give in to the grief.   I really miss him. And no, I don't want to be rescued.  I've had offers to go out today.  I just want need to stay home and be free to feel sad.

This is the May 7th heading in the Simple Abundance journal by Sarah Ban Breathnach. The title is amazing, but so is the quote.  The last day or two before Rudy died, he kept trying to get up, saying "THEY told me I could go home."  I thought he was confused.  He wasn't.  I didn't ask the right question.  I didn't ask who THEY were.  I'll always regret that.