My husband died after a short battle with a very aggressive cancer. The three year anniversary is fast approaching.
My grief experience has been filled with waves of pain with occasional peace and clarity. With each of these moments of clarity, I feel as if I am awaking from a dream that I didn’t know I was in. It feels peaceful to wake up from these dreamlike states to realize once again I have made it through the intense pain I thought would certainly never end. Shortly following the relief of surviving I quickly spiral into worry and fear that I have somehow done this grief thing wrong. That I have spent three years doing my best to survive but somehow made all the wrong decisions.
In my version of survival mode all decisions are made by instinct. Does it feel right? Will it bring me some peace? Will it lessen the pain? If it feels right I do it without thought, pick the path and move forward.
I moved from Virginia to Florida. I sold the house that I had shared with my husband. I cut off friends and family. I sold or donated most of my husbands possessions. All of these decisions I made in the blink of an eye without analysis of how they would effect my life long term. These were things that had to be done for me to make it through the storm. I regret none of them.
I am now safe, happy and at peace. These feelings lead me to question and fear my ability to make decisions. As I write this the reality of my fear transitions to awe; that even in the worst years of my life, I still was able to care for myself. To instinctively seek out and create a life worth living.
Yet still I fear. I am still in survival mode. I am not yet capable of seeing past todays needs. The future seems so distant. My imagination won’t allow me to see any future that is different from the life that I lead today.
But what’s wrong with the life I’m leading? If I am safe and happy…then this is enough.
The reality is I need more time. Grief isn’t yet done with me.
My fear isn’t a about my ability to make decisions, it’s knowing that all of my decisions are about a life that doesn’t include my husband. They are for a life I never could have imagined for myself. One that is just for me. Filled with the things that I love. One that requires me to do what’s best for me without the input from a partner.
After fifteen years with a partner, creating a life alone is scary.
But I am worthy of peace and happiness.
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