Full Circle

It appears that I am remarkably consistent in my thinking.  All through this journey I am on I have written, sporadically, but still capturing my thoughts on paper.  When I feel melancholy I seem to have a nasty habit of trying to make myself feel worse by revisiting some of my previous writing.  Not all of it was angst believe it or not.  I used these little recipe cards that I kept by my bed, in my purse, everywhere.  When the mood hit me, I captured my thoughts.

Some of my writings contained ideas about how to make life better for people who end up in the same circumstances as me – facing the death of their partner and not knowing what’s expected of one, what it means and what to do – financially, emotionally, and so on.  Kevin died and in that first year I literally had so many stupid problems to deal with – bees in the walls, broken appliances, a flood in the basement, stupidity with the banks, it just kept coming.  And I wrote and I wrote.

But I also wrote, and I found this card last week, about loneliness and what to do about it.  My loneliness is and was pretty much self inflicted and I recognize that.  It takes effort to reconnect with people, physical and emotional effort, and, so far, I haven’t put much into it.  But people, friends and family, are hugely important.  We can be surrounded by people and yet somehow manage to be completely alone.  So on this card I found, I had written about setting up a club for people like me – alone, partnerless, widowed, divorced, unattached, didn’t matter how you got there, just that you were. I had mulled over the name – either the Solitaire Club (Shine on you crazy diamond), or One (one is the loneliest number). I had wanted my club to meet once a month, for drinks and conversation.  I’d written this card just about two years ago.

For the last month I’ve been saying to my daughter I need to do something, to get involved again, find some interests.  And then I find the card.  Go figure.  I guess it is something that I need to do. Put a little effort into life , and pick up the pieces and make a new puzzle.

Can you ever have what you had before?

This is a question I have had float in my brain on many occasions.  When something is so good, so special, and the feeling so amazing, and in that moment you feel confident, strong and sure and intensely aware of the fact that you are in a very good place.  It happens throughout life, sometimes associated with the ‘firsts’ that we experience, other times when the stars seem to align in all the right ways.

I’ll answer my own question because I have thought about it many times before.  Life keeps moving forward so, no, you can’t ever have what you had before.  You can, and will, have new moments to savour, enjoy and cherish while living in the present.  Right now, at this very moment, you can work to sustain what you have or you can set out to create something new.   There is no going back.

I guess those few words are key: ‘living in the present’.  It’s a choice that has to be made after a loss, whether the loss is of a job, a relationship, or the death of someone dear.  To stop or to start.  To stop living, experiencing and feeling.  It’s easy, believe me, to stop looking forward, to want to stay in the past where things were known and established.  In this state, the pain of loss becomes familiar and there is no room for anything else.  To start living again opens up the potential of new experiences, feelings and, of course, hurt.  It means one has to reconcile what the past meant and continues to mean with what the expectations of the present and the future are.

For me, no, I can’t ever have what I once had, and that’s my great loss.  But I am coping with it; better as time goes on.  Sadly though, having gone through what I have, I realize that a great many people in this world don’t appreciate or cherish what they do have.  It’s a matter of slowing down now, to enjoy the moment, before life harshly forces one to stop.  When that happens, it seems the universal response is to look back at what once was, hopefully without regrets.