The Constant Struggle

I was driving home tonight after a game of cards with my sister-in-law.  It was late and the roads were empty.  I had the radio on to keep me company and a commentary came on called “push and pull.”  Basically it was all about how life was either one motion or the other.  As situations and events occur in our lives we are either pushed into them or pulled into them.

It spoke about the willingness or reluctance of our individual participation.  The monologue was really about striving more to have it be the ‘pull’ than the ‘push’ that influences what we do.  The word ‘pull’ was interpreted more as an attraction or desire drawing us in, versus the ‘push’ which meant resistance, disengagement, lack of interest. The positive and the negative.

It really resonated with me, because over the last couple of years, for the most part, life has been a ‘push’ for me.  I consciously have to battle with myself to make the effort to participate.  With Kevin’s death, I found I had no desire to do much of anything, after all for 30+ years he had been my world.  After he died pretty much everything was a ‘push’ for me.  It’s only lately that I have begun to feel a ‘pull’ with respect to any activities to occupy my time.  I feel the urge to write again – and for me that’s a tremendous relief.

Such a simplistic representation of life, and it describes my challenges completely.  To be ‘pulled’ or to be ‘pushed.’  My gratification and satisfaction levels raise exponentially when it’s the ‘pull’ that is the source of my motivation, so I guess I need to focus more on finding things that I am ‘pulled’ toward.

It’s the little things

It will be 17 months on the 29th of this month.  I’ve had to deal with a lot of the big things that changed after  Kevin died.  Looking after the house on my own, paying the bills, facing everyday without him.  Unavoidable, unrelenting reality.  You can’t not face it and still be considered sane.

Thus, over the course of time, most everyday things go back to a state of routine.  Newly created out of necessity, but still a state of routine.  Sometimes there is a flash of sadness, anger or resentment about it, especially when something isn’t going right, but overall, it becomes just the way it is.

Always, though, there are those things that come out of nowhere.  Unprepared, they are like a sucker punch, you just didn’t see it coming.  It’s okay when you are alone or out of public sight, but when it happens at work, or someplace public, it is just darn awkward.

This week a coworker returned to the workplace after having been off due to the death of an aged parent.  Sorrow is still sorrow and I know that, but the selfish side of me is bitter, and I feel ripped off.  I don’t begrudge the sorrow of my coworker,  I just hate the unfairness of it all, why does one person live to a ripe old age and not another?  The force of my emotion surprised me.  I am embarrassed that I can’t express my sympathy and ashamed that I feel the way I do.

It’s these types of things that make me realize that, although on the outside I may appeared healed and on the path to closure, actually I’m still far, far away from the even keel I so want.  I want my composure back, securely fitted, so that it doesn’t slip off revealing anything raw or weak or ugly.   When things are going along smoothly, without any ripples, I almost believe I am there.  Then, it just takes one little thing, and that little thing can come from just about any direction.

Breaking bread not breaking down

Dinner out with the grief group ladies again last night.  Nice meal and no shortage of conversation.  It ended with us all reflecting on where we were in life through no choice we had individually made.  The reality is that we have started to come out the other side.  Friends and family around each of us has too.  But, and that word was accompanied by a heavy sigh, those around us, particularly those in our circle of friends, have yet to travel this path.

i was pretty much the first in my social group to have a spouse die.  Oh sure, we all have lost parents by now, but spouses – no.  Likewise for my lady friends.  We talked about that, and how arbitrary life is.  Then one in the group made the observation that once you can wrap your mind around the fact that you are really and truly alone, then there are occasions when you are okay with not having to consult, worry or limit your actions or activities because of other commitments.  But more bluntly – if I wanted to go to bingo every night there is no one to stop me.  This can be a good thing and a bad thing, no?  (And, for the record, I don’t go to bingo every night!)

Let’s face it, it is hard to find an upside when you have lost the love of your life, but you have to look for something.  For us, the four of us that met for dinner, we all appreciate the fact that we had good relationships that endured.  We had spouses that left us in a position to have a decent quality of life.  We have family and friends that stepped up to the plate and helped fill the void. Things that are important and that many others will never have.

We booked our next meal out for mid-September and I think we even identified a theme:  what difficulties we faced and how we coped, and can that information benefit others.  We could talk about that, or we may just talk about the Olympics.  It’s something to look forward to.

What are we

A week ago I had a visit with a medium, actually two mediums.  This was not a private meeting; but rather, it was an open invitation to attend a healing session, and all were welcome.  It wasn’t held in a darkened room, it was held in a bright, sunny parlour that could seat 20 to 30 people.  There were that many too, we were a full house.  We spanned all ages in that room, and every one of us was looking for something.  Some were obviously there hoping to connect with a person now gone, to get an answer or feel close to someone they miss.

We shared a meditation and a prayer before moving to the healing session.  This was my interest, the healing session, the putting on of hands and sharing of personal energy.  No chanting or incantations, just silence.  The healing was very powerful.  I felt a gentle, calm centering that seemed to lift the weight that sorrow has added to my soul.  It’s always there, the awareness of loss.  So I welcomed the silent support that the healing provided.

Overall, the session was marked by openness and acceptance of each other’s dreams, fears, desires and, most of all, need.  Everyone in the room wanted something and it translated to a thick blanket of energy.  The room was highly atmospheric.  Was that the heightened expectations of those in attendance making the room feel full and overflowing with energy, or was it more?

I think the thing that I want most, is to understand that final mystifying element of our life:  our death.  Like so many before me, and so many that will come after me, I wonder what truly happens. There are those who fear death, those who don’t, but regardless, there is no one who can describe death – some return after near death experiences, but not after death.  What happens to our spirit, the force that is us?

We are energy. We can’t see the energy that makes us breathe and move, think and feel, but without it we are dead.  So when we die, what happens to that energy, to the thing we call our soul, where does it go? Perhaps it just fades away to nothingness, to heat and then cold.  Or perhaps the energy in our brain, while it sustains life, is just the manifestation of something greater, something beyond the current grasp of scientific thought or scientific assessment.  The unanswerable question.  Science will try to answer it, and those with strong faith will answer it.  For people like me, there is no answer, and I will continue to wonder about it.