Monday, December 29, 2014

Gone But Not Gone

By now I have pretty much adjusted to being on my own, doing things on my own, living my life on my own, making my decisions — large or small — without reference to another. 

The only one I have to consider is my cat, Levi. He doesn't care what I watch on telly, or whether I choose a new printer over a new pair of shoes. 

The interesting thing that I notice, though, is that I was only able to settle down into this self-sufficiency once I accepted the fact that Andrew's not really gone and isn't ever going to be gone.

You can think of it in terms of him still being around in spirit, in an unbreakable bond with me. Or you can think of it psychological terms, as my having an internalised Andrew in my head.

The way it manifests is the same, regardless of explanation. He's a constant presence in the background, not in an intrusive or spooky way but just there, kinda like he was when alive except it's not a physical presence any more, and interactions are a lot more one-sided.

I'm not doing a very good job of explaining.

See, for quite a while I thought I had to come to terms with the fact that he had gone. I believed I must accept this. I must live in reality, I told myself. Yes, he was around in spirit and I had occasional confirmation of that, but in everyday terms I was on my own. I felt I must be tough with myself, not hang on to illusions.

I don't know what shifted this thinking. Probably it was the fact that I went on a self-designed retreat for two weeks, with meditation and reflection, and as much withdrawal as possible from mundane concerns.

However it came about, I eventually noticed that I was no longer resisting Andrew's ongoing presence in my consciousness, and that this was doing me no harm and in fact seemed to be a good thing. E.g. I  can still talk things over with him after all, being familiar with his reactions and opinions.

Now I understand more fully what is meant by the remark that the dead live on in our memories. It goes beyond remembering the many particular incidents and moments — though I do plenty of that too. It is another kind or aspect of memory, I suppose. It does seem as if there is a living Andrew with me, just not in the flesh.

I think this is a psychological phenomenon. I also think it can be a way of accessing his actual spiritual attention and communication, if and when that is needed.

Anyway, that sense that he's still here makes it easier to get on with things.

Paradoxically, it makes it easier for me to function alone. Knowing that I can get his slant on things, I no longer feel I have to.