The Aftershock of a Lesson

erupting lava during daytime
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Sometimes, I am an after-the-fact type of feeler. My emotions erupt in aftershocks after a volcano of circumstances starts to spew.  This could be the reason why I am in a sad, lonely, pissed-off mood this morning. Maybe the aftershock of Christmas is shaking me up, and all the emotions I hold. Or maybe, Grief is taunting me again, reminding me I have a long way to go before I learn to live with my widowhood, in my widowhood, and well, I don’t like it. I hate it in fact. How can I embrace something I never asked for, never wanted and was sprung on me so unexpectedly? How? Yet, here I am and here I must find my footing.

Every day, I am reminded of the solitude life I lead. Every night, I go to bed knowing isolation will sleep with me and awake with me in the morning. Most of my moments are spent with my own voice in my head, my own thoughts spoke aloud by me, my own choices being made, my own self staying with me. Oh, I have people in my life – good people, great people, best people. Yet, the longer I go on without Peter, the less they are here for me. This is natural. This is how it should be. This is how it has to be. People can’t carry me through forever. I’m too heavy of a load. My Grief is too heavy. And really, there has to be a dropping off point in order for me to walk on my own, in order for them to get on with their own lives. I get it. I fully understand it.  I actually want it.  And yet it hurts.

Phone calls, texts, private messages, on both sides, have become less and less as I’ve grown more and more. It’s the way it should be, right? We stand behind toddlers when they first begin to walk. As they grow more confident, stronger, and can move more easily, we step aside. We allow them to walk and explore on their own. Their first solo steps are necessary for their development. And like a toddler, I am growing and I am stronger and I am more confident and that is good news. Yet I am still lonely. I am still sad. I am still uncertain. These emotions have nothing to do with the people in my life and everything to do with the person missing from my life, Peter.

I suppose Grief is hitting me now – I mean really slapping me around – the days after Christmas because I have fallen from the exhaustion of pushing through the days. On this ground, in the aftershocks of Christmas Eve and Christmas, I have allowed myself to feel.  I have said, “Grief, you can come now”, and it has. It has come with reminders of how alone I am without Peter in my life. It has come and showed me how utterly unbelieve this all is now, living a life without him. It has stayed to remind me everything in my healing, in my acceptance, in my living in widowhood, comes down to me and only me. No one can hold my hand or walk behind me forever. And while, at times, it seems like comforting to have someone guiding me, most times I know it feels crowded and suffocating and stifling. I don’t want to be stifled. I want to grow. I want to walk again, otherwise, I go nowhere.

I don’t like living life without Peter. I don’t.  I didn’t want it. I didn’t ask for it. I didn’t choose it. And it happened without preparation. To paraphrase Willie Nelson, it’s not something I will ever get over, rather something I will get through. I have to get through. And I have to get through it on my own. Christmas Eve and Christmas showed me this. These were the holidays I had to face and had to face on my own, without anyone because these are days personal to everyone. Don’t get me wrong. I know and appreciate the people in my life there for support. Yet they can’t always hold onto me and I can’t hold onto them forever. To walk these steps of widowhood, of this life without Peter, I have to do it on my own. In the aftermath of Christmas Eve and Christmas,  this is the important lesson I learned, no matter how much it hurts. Now onto New Year’s Eve….