Some Friday morning observations from Discovery:
While I stay at Discovery, I am struggling with being alone. I am. It’s not something I have gotten used to yet. I was at a bar yesterday doing research. Hand-to-God it was research. While there, I felt my loneliest. I saw the young people doing what they do, what they should do, and I saw couples being couples. Sitting on a bar stool, I was reminded of my life right now. Everything I do now is contrary to what I did before Peter died. I wake up alone. I go to bed alone. I make food choices, alone, and eat those choices, alone. And while yes, I do go out with friends and I do see people, at the beginning of the day, and the end of the night, I am alone. People live like this every day, I know. One day maybe I will accept it, maybe even like. I don’t know.
A wonderful friend pointed out that I am dealing with something most married couples my age don’t think they have to deal with until thirty years down their roads. Yet here I am, dealing with Peter’s death that came on quickly, unexpectedly and so prematurely. My mind is still wrapping itself around this as I type. But for now, yesterday at the bar, I was reminded how much my life changed in two minutes and how fast I had to adjust. And, I am alone without Peter.
In my all my alone time at Discovery, I am getting to know so much more about me. I am learning about my writing. I am learning it’s okay, more than okay. to write for hours, because that’s what writers do and I am a writer. I am learning to embrace my definition of writer which I have done even more these past few months. I am learning I don’t have to feel guilty and push myself if all I want to do is stand still. I am learning who truly are the important people in my life. I am learning to slow down my efforts toward people who are not reciprocating. I am learning to give what I can, when I can, to whom I can so I don’t exhaust myself more. I am learning I cannot rely on anyone, other than me, to heal, to grow, to emerge into this new person. And I am learning it’s okay to be lonely. It is my heart’s way of saying, not only how much I loved Peter to miss him so strongly, but how much I want to be part of this world around me. And these are positives.
Discovery has been my great teacher. I always seem to find a center while I’m here. Sometimes, the center is painful and shows me things I need to see in order for me to move. I am shown my painful life without Peter and it frightens me. When I am in a familiar, when I’m in my home in the ‘burbs and surrounded by preciousness of its people, there is a comfort, almost the same type of comfort when Peter was alive. But, when I am at Discovery, trying new experiences, new friends, new possibilities, the anxiety of all this newness, scares me. Yet, the news are what lies ahead of me as the once-weres are forever gone. There are the other times, where sipping a glass of wine while sitting on my balcony watching boats go by, or the Ferris wheel of Navy Pier run in its circle, brings me such a sense of peace, a sense of this is okay for now. I will be okay. And through this pain, this fright and this peace, Discovery has been my great teacher.
I take time at Discovery to look back at the months behind me. I know I am at a better place. I know there is still so much more longing and loneliness and torment yet to come. I am not naive enough to think Grief has left me. Grief is still hanging around, ready to pounce on me and knock me to my knees. Even in the middle of a good day, Grief has slapped me, and will continue to ruin my moments. And I am still in the fog Widowhood has engulfed me in. Yet, I am moving easier than I did months ago. I am growing more accepting of Peter’s death. Sure, I still hold onto the why’s and the I-can’t-believe’s. They hold me back or paralyze me completely. However, I move with them and I move more than I stand still. And you know, you have to move more often for your joints to lubricate and move freer. I am moving freer. I have a long way to go, but damn it, I know I kicked ass with how much I’ve already moved.
So, as I start to pack and get ready for some time back at my home in the ‘burbs, I’m missing Discovery already. I miss the reflections, the lessons, the peace and all its pain Discovery gives me. For it is here where I grow and it’s here where I learn to move with the heaviness Life handed me. And that has to be a good sign on this Reluctant Road.