Becoming Changed

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I haven’t written a blog post in a while. That’s most likely a good sign, a great one. It might mean I’ve grown stronger, less emotional about Peter’s death, less reliant on getting my feelings out there to share, maybe even less in need of comfort or reassurance. It may mean I am seeing beyond me and my pain to the two dogs now living with me, to my daughter who moved back home for awhile, to my obnoxious feeling toward Christmas which I feel again, to my fiction writing, and/or to the my new home I am designing. Maybe the lack of posts means I am healing.

I will never get over Peter’s death. How can I? His death emptied a part of my soul which will never to be filled up by anyone or anything. I will never move on without him. I will move with the loss of him in my life, with the unoccupied space his death left in me. I do feel more alive now though than I did when it all happened, almost sixteen months ago. I feel less in the motion of life and more a part of it.

I have changed since Peter died. Not all of me has changed. To the core of me I am still Betsy who talks before she thinks sometimes, is passionate in her beliefs, finds humor in everything even the serious, and thinks about everything all…the…time. At the same time, since being sprung into widowhood like a tired old greyhound in one of her last races, I have changed. I needed to change. I needed to adjust to the unwanted world slapped on me. I could no longer continue to live in a constant state of sadness, worry, longing or grief because to the core of me, the Betsy core, that’s not who I ever was. I fought for much in my life and Peter’s death was my biggest boxing match. I was not going to go down for the count even with the few painful jabs that landed on me, and some to-the-mat punches, but I never allowed myself to be KO’d.

I don’t like the reason for my change. I abhor it more than anything I hated in my life, and I don’t hate too much because I always believed hate is a word to be used sparingly. Yet, I don’t mind how I have changed. I don’t mind not being apologetic for the parts inherently me. I don’t mind the power I gain when I bowled through cleaning of a house full of twenty-five years of memories. I don’t mind how I knowledge I gained to figure out my car’s mechanics and fixed malfunctions, put together equipment, and understand basic electricity. I don’t mind the reliance I had on experts or family and friends. I don’t mind at all how I did so much while mourning the deaths of the two most impactful people in my life – my husband and my mother -two people who left me seven months from each other right before COVID. I don’t mind these changes that bombarded me out of necessity and my stubbornness that doesn’t allow me to give up.

I have grown this self-reliant human being – that’d be me – into an independent one. Not because I wanted to or grew tired of her, or even disliked her, but because I had to. I had no choice. Betsy to the core of her knew she had no choice. The true essence of a person is shown when everything else is stripped away. And so I stood there, still stand there, naked, sometimes afraid, and see the beauty in all my victories and even in my defeats. It is in those defeats I gain more strength, more courage, more determination to purge ahead and become victorious. I know I will be okay, if not good.

In the beginning, I had my kids and some sister friends holding me up. I would have fallen without them. That I have no doubt. And now, as I heal more, they have released me, and I support myself. Oh, they’re still there when I stumble back. If reach back for them mid-fall, I know they will be there. But for the most part, I am standing by myself. What an odd and scary, yet wonderful feeling.

So, I have changed. I have found out what I am made of and what I can do with this newness I was handed, one I never wanted, one I never asked for but, one forced on me. I still have moments, mornings, afternoons, nights and entire days, when a deep longing, scathing loneliness, and unwanted grief intrude. I still get triggered by a memory, a song, a scent, a sight, a comment, and I tumble down into the depth of the hell I was pushed in by the killing of Peter. But I rise, dust myself off, and smile. I smile because I know better days come more often now. I smile because for the changes in me. I smile because I see two dogs living in my home, my daughter who moved back home for awhile, my obnoxious feelings about Christmas, and the home I am designing. I smile because my kids tell me how they admire my strength. I smile because I know I am kicking ass. And I smile because I can hear in my mind’s ear Peter whispering, or maybe it’s my own, “you are the woman I knew you could be”.