The weeks following Peter’s death, all my thoughts, all my words, all my feelings were about him. I couldn’t hold a conversation with a person without spewing monologues of everything Peter – my emotions, my love for him, my shock, my memories, my accolades, my over-growing lawn, my finances, everything. Every waking moment was about Peter, in some form or another. I suppose that’s a normal stage, but to be honest, I kind of bored myself.
Yesterday night, I went to my block’s bookclub with ladies who are wonderful human beings. The “book” part is a very loose term as it seems we never really discuss the book. We spend more time catching up, talking about our kids, our lives, our ambitions, jobs, husbands, ourselves than the actual book. We are a close-knit bunch – a bunch who came running when Peter died providing me with food, comfort and even a bonfire in his name. And last night, I felt like I let go of a little part of Peter if only the tip of his pinky.
I’ve been working up to this. I find myself asking questions to my friends about themselves more often. I know I’m laughing a bit more. My thoughts about Peter are still there, at every corner, but I have my own normal thoughts joining them. And my words? Well, I still vomit up Peter stories, or stories connecting him, yet not as often. Maybe too often for others, yet I know it’s less and less, and I don’t know how I feel about it.
When I put the utilities into my name, it was difficult. It was the first big real action taken toward my independence. And I don’t mean that Peter held me down, I just mean my independence without him….if that makes sense. The car, his car, will be taken away on Saturday. Another huge event. The car, his car, sat in our driveway, my driveway, for years when he was home. It was a sign Peter was in the house, as they say. It’s going to be hard not see it there. I mean, I know he’s dead and will never be home, yet there was comfort in seeing it. It’s like knowing your nightmare isn’t real, yet a blanket to snuggle into helps. Plus, to be honest, it’s another thing erased from our marriage, our time together. All the tangibles are slowly fading and what is left are all my words and memories. And now, those are slowly being stored in my brain and less in my interactions with people.
Yesterday night, I struggled to decide whether or not to go to “book”club. I read the book, before Peter’s death, and I remembered bits and pieces. Widow fog erased most of it. As much as I love these women, and I do, very much, I didn’t want to spend the night perhaps answering questions about Peter, perhaps talking about him. I had a day full of Peter and I wanted, needed, to escape into a reality show. I didn’t want to go, and then I did.
It actually was fine. It reached the ‘okay’ mark. Yes, I did answer questions about Peter, and I did talk about him, a lot, like a way lot and I’m so glad these women love me enough to let me do just that. And I cried, not hard, but cried. Yet, honestly, it was less than my norm two weeks ago. The women who were there may not have thought so, but hand to God, it was less. And there were actual stories going on. Stories I engaged in, asked questions about…before I drifted off to thoughts of Peter.
Toward the end of my evening, one of the ladies talked about a new computer job that sounded so cool, and I thought, “oh, I have to tell Peter” since computers were his profession. Then I realized, there was no Peter. Not anymore. An emptiness spread in me and through me, a sad, grieving emptiness, and it didn’t leave. It’s always those small things that fill you so large. Eventually, I did…leave…jack rabbiting it out of there at the first opening. When I got home, I went to bed, like I do often to avoid feeling anything more. And now, in the morning, I am okay. I am okay and I am okay with the progress made by going out and not making it EVERYTHING about Peter…a lot about him, but not EVERYTHING.
So what does this all mean? These changing of names on bills, taking away his car and my cutting back on making it all about Peter? I guess it’s part of the progression of grief. It scares me though because when I was back “there” in grief, I was still holding onto Peter. When I’m “here”, my grip is loosening. When I get “up there”, I wonder how much will I let go of him.
I know Peter will always be a part of my life and a part of me. I know I won’t, nor can, ever forget him or stop loving him. I know this because he was my husband for almost twenty-eight years, and partner, friend, and lover for over thirty. I know this because Peter was such a brightness in this world, in my world, he, nor his memories, can ever dim. And I know this because wonderful people cannot be forgotten. No, I know I will never forget Peter.
I also know in order for me to move forward in life – no one should ever stand still – I will start to loose my tight hold on him. I need to let go eventually, to grasp onto something else. I know this because Life can be taken away with a snap of a finger. It is a special gift you need to open every day and use it. I know this because I cannot become my own person without moving toward my new definition. I know this because Peter, of all people, would never want me to continue to make my life about him. And I know this because I can’t make my life about him anymore. He’s gone.
To move on, even with baby steps, is hard. It’s scary as hell. It almost feels like a betrayal. And, it’s what I know I have to do. So, I start small with name changes, car donations, and “book”club.