The Second Year Slump: The Struggle To Find A New Life
Ever since I marked the anniversary of Peter’s death, I have been in a funk. It didn’t help that a chair had the audacity to run into me and break my toe. Ok, truth be told, I ran into a chair rushing to answer a phone. I know, I know, I shouldn’t run for a phone, or as Mel Brooks says “don’t run for a bus, there’ll always be another…” The pain in my foot jolted me into the reality of the fact that I was truly alone and now had to find a way to heal myself physically and emotionally.
In the first year of my grief, I was pretty much running on numb. I trudged along, going through significant holidays and marker dates, while trying to keep my head afloat without falling into a heap. Year one was all about me. I dub the first year La Bohème, in honor of the character Mimi from the opera La Bohème. My biggest concerns were about me. Would I get through the year? Could I take over the finances? Could I handle the loneliness? Would I have any friends left after all my crying and blogging? It seems indeed I do. My friends have been loyal and steadfast and kind and are still my go-to posse when I need comfort. The first year seemed like some sort of test and then after I passed the test, Peter would come back and we would resume our life. The joke’s over, you can come back now is not real. This is not an exercise or a test. This is the real thing and I still yearn for him and my life that was. Year one was a struggle for survival. Year two is about the struggle to begin to live again.
But, the second year brings up a powerful melancholy with the distinct realization that it is time to face Peter’s loss head on, and more importantly, I must tackle the loss of the life we shared together. This is where the second year slump comes in. The numbness has worn off and I am distinctly aware that I can no longer share my life with my love. The pain has definitely eased but I still succumb to grief bursts, particularly on the weekends on my sad Saturdays and even sadder Sundays. Those are the days when Peter and I enjoyed so many relaxing fun times, and those are the days which pain me the most. Year two is also the pits because the world has moved on and I haven’t. Life moves on as friends courageously battle diseases, new life comes into the world, my grandkids continue to grow like weeds and almost tower over me at 13 and 9, and Trump is still a narcissist. All of this continues while I am barely trying to put one foot in front of the other.
These past few weeks I have fallen into deep holes where it takes all my strength to forge forward. I get that this second year will be a tough haul. My latest funk was triggered in a doctor’s office when I was filling out paperwork. I got to the status bar line that stated: “single, married,” yea, you guessed it, and “widowed.” Tears streamed down my face and I couldn’t stop sobbing. I didn’t berate myself for crying, I just let it out until a release came and I could continue to take care of myself.
Hope is my aspiration. I have to find a way to anticipate good things in my life and have possibilities for a sunnier future. I can’t be dependent on my son and his family. I must sign my own declaration of independence. Right now, looking ahead is too scary, but I have to find a way to see hope without fear. I know I will fall, but I also am keenly aware that I have the power to fight my way out of the abyss slowly and steadily one step at a time. I am not Rocky Balboa but I am a fighter, who doesn’t want to be mired down in grief. I will take comfort in my determination to find courage and a new life for myself. It is a small victory, but it is a victory, steeped in the promise of hope.