Saturday, November 30, 2013

Afterword. New Resolution: Don’t Look Back

Mid-November was my wedding anniversary. Last year, so soon after Andrew's death, it wasn't an occasion for extra grief; it blended in with the rest, one long grieving process. This time, having finally arrived at quite a nice place after a year of grieving, suddenly I was hit with another round of crying which lasted the rest of the month. 

Looking back to the happy times, I cried because those times are past. Looking back to the traumatic times, I cried because I was unable to make life perfect for him. And then, watching a TV program about someone far gone with Alzheimer's, I cried with thankfulness that he (who had it only mildly) never got to be like that. 

Additionally, I've again experienced shaking and breathlessness, things I need to remember popping out of my mind almost as soon as they pop in, and the deadening effects of depression. 

'So I know the grief is liable to recur at all sorts of times, in all sorts of ways. I am not so stupid as to imagine I'll ever 'get over it'. But I don't want to court these recurrences. I've decided I must stop looking back. It will happen unbidden of course, so in practice that's likely to mean nipping it in the bud, switching my thoughts as soon as I catch them. 

It's not as if I've been suppressing my feelings for the last year. I don't think it's unhealthy if at this point I refuse to wallow. I might have many years of living left. I'd like to live them, not stay tied to the past.

So, OK, no looking back — but how do I look forward? The unknown future confronts me. I have no idea what direction it will take. Anything could happen. My only plan is to be present for it.