Thursday, October 18, 2012

From a Letter to My Brother

...in response to his hope that I'm 'doing OK and managing to stay on an even keel.'


I am doing OK, all things considered. I have moments of acute grief, but they are only moments. He went when it was absolutely time for him to go, and I can only be glad he didn't linger. We had a great 20 years, and the final years — while difficult in many ways — were particularly loving. I'm glad he is free of the physical restrictions and discomforts he suffered for so long, and in a way it has freed me too. His practical care, despite having some respite in place, was increasingly arduous and time-consuming. So much so that I am feeling a bit purposeless now by contrast, wondering what my life is for. In the past, I would always have told others that life is its own purpose and reward!

I am living it anyway, and glad to be doing so. My friends and neighbours are good at keeping in touch and making sure I am not too much alone, and that I know I can use them for unburdening whenever I feel like it. But I am a writer, so that is what I use for unburdening. Not much poetry happening since he died — just a little starting again — in contrast to the months of anguished poems earlier. (It really was a bugger of a year, when I look back ... though full of precious moments too.) But I am journalling and blogging. Meanwhile the cats keep me grounded. And I finally have leisure to catch up with many things that got put on hold the last coupla years, as well as the freedom to get out and about as I like. I have resumed Tai Chi lessons after a gap in which I didn't even find time to practise; and, having inherited Andrew's digital camera, am playing with photography. I am also sorting through his papers, which will be a long, unhurried task; and I am rearranging things in the house to suit me better.

It feels very strange not to share my activities with him, if only in conversation. But in truth there was much less of that in recent months, as he spent much time asleep, and when awake was sometimes confused and forgetful. I have in a way had a gradual preparation for being alone and self-sufficient.

Marriage is a great adventure, and ours was certainly fulfilled. No loose ends. I guess widowhood is my next adventure. Adventures aren't always nice, but they are interesting and they get you somewhere. 

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