Then we'll both be happy.
How am I? I live in PA where I feel like Chicken Little and the sky is falling with Mastriano as the GOP Primary winner for governor. Sitting here trying to decide which Democratic campaign to volunteer for; there are so many good ones. I just turned 67 and I definitely think of my mortality, although I try my best to push those thoughts away. I looked at my husband sitting across from me as I read your post, wondering who will go first. We’ve been married for 39 years and I have loved him for most of those years. Most of my family gone and a couple of my friends. Grief is hard but necessary. I carry the people I have loved and lost like angels on my shoulders. Some days they weigh me down. Other days they lift me up. May you feel lifted by the love of your husband.
There are, of course, no words that can even begin to cover this. Grief is a harsh master. This September it will have been 22 years since my dad died, way too young because of those god damn cancer sticks he couldn’t quit even after he had his terminal diagnosis. So, yeah, grief mixed with some anger can be real fun. I wish I could tell you that it goes away. It does eventually become livable; you can start thinking about it like a computer program running in the background. And then my uncle, who was like my second dad, passed a few months ago. He would have been 90 in August. And I live 2,500 miles away from my mom, wwho is 84 and not terminal but who is slowly losing her mental faculties. She’s still doing pretty well, and I want to get out to Seattle to see her while my mom is still there. Crap, I’m sorry, I feel like I took this over with my own stuff. All I wanted to say is grief is hard, and to be gentle with yourself. And keep writing.
Glad to hear you're doing as well as this seems to suggest. Sympathies of course-- but also admiration, for getting into something we like to tell people about being a little selfish. A little me-centered. It sounds bad on the face of it. But many these days are too self-sacrificing, willing to mortgage their own happiness and satisfaction in favor of others in a secret contract that the other party is ignorant of. So, you enjoy that solitude and freedom from responsibility and you be guilt-free about it. It has no bearing on your loss, or the measure of your love for the departed. It's simply a pale consolation. Pale or not, it's there to be enjoyed, so do it.
I cried - once more - as I read your article. Thank you for sharing your thoughts which so beautifully express mine. It's been 15 months - life is good, I am super fortunate, and there are pleasures in life. Yet, Dan, my husband of 60 years, isn't here. I have moved on and I also haven't gotten past missing him every single day.
Your transparency is refreshing and it’s a gift to read your thoughts. How am I? Well, recently laid off for the first time in my life but secretly loving every minute of this stressful season of my life. Good to see you pop up in my inbox!
Your willingness to share the nuances of grief is generous and much appreciated. My former common-law partner recently died in a sudden accident, and I have been shaken to my core. Writing about my silly entertainment obsessions doesn’t seem important right now, so I am taking a break. Like you, I have been focusing on the beauty of nature around me (including the geese and goslings!), and that has been healing. I might start another Substack newsletter that centers on the spiritual/existential, but for now, I rest. Thinking of you, Ramona. Your writing does inspire, whatever the topic may be.
This description of your grief is real and honest and just oof. I can't imagine losing my husband after that many years together, and yet I keep hoping and praying that we will see that many years together. I lost my job under awful circumstances 18 months ago. It was crushing in so many ways and I was convinced I would never heal from the hurt and the betrayal. But I'm getting there. I thought I would leave teaching forever and I'm back in the classroom. My writing has become less frantic and more intentional and I finally feel like I have a direction. Much of my survival has been dependent on my own husband, my best friend and marriage partner of over 20 years. The 25th anniversary of our first date is in just over a month. Thank you for sharing both your grief and the celebration of your life together with your audience. I wish we gave people more space to feel all the feelings all at once. We aren't supposed to feel grief and relief and hurt and peace all at the same time. And yet we can, and do.
Thank you for writing about your grief, Ramona. It's true and needed for so many people right now. I've never thought much about grief before. I weathered the death of my grandparents and older family members but that was to be expected, right? Then my mom died in September 2020 followed in October by my beloved dog (not the same but definitely a 1-2 punch). Then my brother-in-law died of cancer this January at the age of 54. Now I'm watching my sister's unrelenting grief (they've been together since they were 17) as well as her two kids and, of course, my own. He'd been in my life since I was 15 and they've lived down the street for over 20 years. We were close.
If that wasn't enough, I'm dealing with more and more grieving issues in my practice: Covid widows, people sad and afraid about the state of Texas (they're right to be), the death of parents, and grief about the declining state of their health (for those with chronic illnesses), and of course the sadness surrounding the change in life circumstances during the pandemic. Suddenly, I feel like I'm surrounded by the grief of others while trying to figure out where my own grief is as well. Grief now permeates my dreams.
I'm trying to view grief differently, that it's a gift. It means you cared. You loved. You were given something precious and got a lot in return. Ramona, I'm sorry things are so hard right now but I'm glad you had each other and lived a life worth sharing. Don't be afraid to cry for that. I'm sure it was worth every tear.
Sure, I’ll pretend with you…😘❤️
I read your post and I want to say how strong I think you are. Of course you’re going to break down, cry, and be unhappy after losing your husband of so many years. We don’t heal overnight. In fact, healing is one of the most unfair things in life, whether emotional or physical. Some healing never happens. As you said, transitioning to being alone has pros and cons. There’s no universal cure. I can suggest books, movies, walks or whatever, but ultimately you are the only one who can find that place of serenity. The good news is, along with many others I see who have responded to you, I’ll be here to listen. I can’t promise any answers, but I am sympathetic and caring. Is it warm enough to sit by the lake yet? It looks like the perfect place for a glass of wine. May each day get easier for you—-when it’s not, that’s what we’re here for. Much love, Annie