Thursday, 18 October 2012

glimpses of normality

I've been so used to feeling like shit lately that it came as a surprise to me today that I found my reactions to things were more or less normal.

I feel that there are two parts to my mind, the logical part and the emotional part. In my daily life I have to decide which part to listen to. I can not totally succumb to either for I believe that would be an imbalance and I somehow feel that there needs to be a harmony or a balance in life.

Certainly there are times when such imbalance is created by the rocks which get thrown upon me from above - like the death of my lovely wife Anita.

Despite my mood and the daily reminders of her absence I have sometimes found myself behaving normally, as I did before Anita's passing. Reactions to things as well as reactions to what I hear going on around me. This is somehow encouraging (but I'm not yet convinced) that I will be able to recover something of a life after her death.

I find it impossible to stop the logical side of my brain from posing questions to me:
  • what will life be like after this?
  • will I just remain alone?
  • what do I want to do?
  • can I ever love another?
Some of these questions are simply too difficult (read painful) to contemplate.

I also know that I can not really predict the future with any more certainty than I could have predicted meeting Anita in South Korea so many years ago. But what I can be more certain of is that as my age advances the type of relationships and the capacity for me to do certain things becomes different.This is likely to have a strong influence on many things.

For instance, you don't meet many late 50 year olds engaging in a cross country ski trip towing sleds, and no I'm not 50 yet.

But it remains unclear if I will be blessed with such good health as I had just as recently as 2006 when this shot was taken (before going out on exactly that sort of trip).

Grief is a complex thing. I don't believe that its only about the loss of the person (although that is certainly #1 on the scale), but also about the loss of so many thing in your life. I mean after all, I built my life around Anita, so when I lost her I also lost so much else in my life. That Anita is not with me in my daily life hurts. That she is not there to share the things that I can still do reminds me that she is not here and it goes back to hurting again.

So the nature of the loss that one grieves about is related to the depth of life changes caused by the death of your loved one. This all takes time to sink in and so for me forms an 'maturation' of the grief.

So yes, it sort of gets worse before it gets better (hoping here that it gets better).

This goes back to what I wrote earlier (on another post) that relationships with your parents can not be the same as the relationships you have with your partner because you live different lives with your parents than you do with your partner (well I hope you do).

I think it was around the time of her Funeral when I was thinking of things we did together that I realised that it would seem impossible I could ever do those things again with another person. Not just because I am worried about doing the same things with another, but because I probably can't do those things again as I age. Unlike break-ups which were part of my relationships before marriage, the death of my wife not only devastates my life short term, but essentially creates a clear severance with my life with Anita and what happens after.

While my life may go on, parts of my life are simply memories now. Memories which I alone carry. Memories which noone else shares. Memories which I can not talk with to anyone who will understand in the same way as those who were there (like my wife was).

I have no idea what I will become, but I know that I can not "start again" I can only "continue" and see what happens.

I will forever miss Anita like no other person who has ever entered my life

No matter how close one is to someone there are always parts of yourself which are independent from the relationship you have. Perhaps it is how absorbed you are in that relationship which governs how long it take for the parts which are removed by their death to be gradually replaced with new things.

But now that some months have passed and I have forced myself to go back to doing something other than sitting and crying I find myself doing things which of course didn't really have Anita in them. Simple things, like helping my in-laws to sort berries or fixing my motor bike.

But her absence leaves a vacuum in my life, empty spaces which when ever I turn to them out of habit or out of desire all I find is that she is not there. While I am doing those things which normally don't involve her and normally have very little influence of her in my thoughts or activities (and they are few) I am gradually able to feel glimpses of normality. Like life was before the pain.

I believe that it is important for those grieving to realise that the pain they feel is actually as real as the pain from anything physical. Studies have identified (ref) that the same parts of the brain which process and let you know about physical injury are involved in emotional injury. I also like this authors grasp of the problem at this link.

As one who has recovered from injury and (quite major) surgery (which is a type of controlled injury) a number of times I know logically that I will heal. Equally I know that I will always bear scars and aches and pains and reminders of the injuries I have had.

Life goes on no matter what happens to me, so its up to me to make the most of it.

So now I'll get up for the rest of the day and start trying to live as I can for today. I'll let you know about tomorrow later.

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