Since Kevin’s death I wonder if I have been living less. Is it possible to live less? My heart still beats, I breathe and eat and sleep – and I still love; but I feel somehow that I am doing it less. Maybe I am just not doing it as well. I don’t greet each day with anticipation. My new normal is waking up to emptiness, filling the void during the daylight hours through work or chores, and then ending the day with emptiness. I talk to myself quite often, especially when I wake up. I give myself a little pep talk and then start my day. Likewise at night, I talk, but not to myself. At night I talk to Kevin, just like before. I work through the things that are bothering me or that I am unsure of and I ask him for help. You see, I didn’t choose this situation, it chose me. It will take a very long time for me to accept it and to adapt to it.
I’ve never lived on my own, not that it is a good thing or a bad thing, it’s just that it wasn’t part of the grand plan. Friends that live on their own tell me that once I get used to it I will guard my privacy and freedom fiercely. Now here I am on my own and trying to figure it out. I’m not afraid of living alone, fact is, I couldn’t care less. It’s the extreme shift in my home environment that is crippling me. I miss the energy and interest and diversity that Kevin brought to my life. If he were alive right now we’d be planning his next art exhibit submission; we’d be planning his summer; he’d be scheming about something because it gave him a thrill to think he’d pulled a fast one; and, I’d be frazzled because he wore me out. So is it hard to live alone? For me it’s brutal.
When we moved into our house over 20 years ago we had a neighbour who was a widow. In the summer we’d see her tirelessly working in her flower gardens day in and day out. Old Lady Hunchback the kids called her. She stayed in her house until the day she died. Her gardens were gentle, understated and peaceful; they welcomed you not overwhelmed you. I suspect they were the product of love and loss; resignation but not unhappiness. I think about her and the circle of life and, as I tend to my own gardens, how primal our response is to it.