More than one person asked me how I'm faring. I expected that. It wasn't a case of nosiness. There was no judgement intended. I don't think so, anyway. I answered, talking about a weekend away in early June, plans to attend a family baby shower later this month. And, I learned about vacations, adventures with grandchildren, book recommendations. Plus, the food was outstanding! I'm so glad I went.
Since then, the oft-repeated question has come back to mind, though. How am I faring?
I'm OK. This bereavement isn't for the faint of heart, that's for certain. I'm realizing that the sadness I am feeling is always going to be with me. Life with Tal was finer than either of us realized, and I miss the way things used to be.
In some ways the sadness is stronger than it was right after Tal's death. What has changed is the acute nature of the pain. It no longer has that exquisite, piercing, breath-taking quality it did early on. Now, it's a steady presence, heavier at times than others.
I am also realizing that I have choices -- of all sorts. What, and when, to eat, whether to keep the house, if to push for gainful employment, where I might like to travel, how to observe the next round of holidays. It makes my head spin.
Other choices are more subtle. And, likely more important. I can pick up the camera. I can get up early -- write, walk, weed. I can schedule outings. I can be the initiator of conversations with friends rather than waiting to be called.
I can choose whether to let the sadness dictate how I feel and what I do. In fact, that might be my most important conclusion so far. With a deliberate and deep breath I can choose to lay it aside, if for only an hour or just a few minutes, whatever I can manage. The sadness doesn't have to be all there is.
So, now what?
Who am I going to be? How am I going to act? What am I doing to do?
I get to choose.