Sunday, February 23, 2014

And Now for Something Completely Different

Dear John,
 
No nightmares last night - thank you for your prayers. I only slept an hour at a time, but at least it wasn't unpleasant. Sometimes I still have trouble sleeping without you.
 
I find this to be quite encouraging.
This is big news: I seem to have turned some kind of corner. Yesterday I finally faced the fact that going to church has still been terribly difficult for me - you were so much a part it, and it's been so hard to not see you there. And I admitted it publicly. To my great surprise, people understood and sympathized. I didn't expect it to make sense to other people. Nobody criticized me.
 
Doing that seems to have changed something. This morning I got up and had no hesitation about going to church. I got there before the start of Orthros. Brian didn't have another chanter, so I sang Orthros with him and had a lovely time. We had our annual parish meeting after the Liturgy and coffee hour, and I gladly stayed for it.
 
Being there was different today. For the first time since your death, I was able to experience church on its own terms. It's all been centered on you for the last two years. Everything has - I don't think I've lived any minute on its own terms since you went into the hospital the last time. Today it was just me, my church, my life, not dominated by the awareness of your absence. That doesn't sound like a good thing, but it feels that way. I have to begin to see myself as I am now - as just me, not as your wife - and to deal with my life as it is instead of as it was or as I wish it could be. None of that means that I love or miss you any less; it just means that I'm dealing with reality. And reality has a way of following you around and not going away.
 
I don't know if this will last. I may have turned that corner, or I may have just gotten a glimpse of it. We know that nothing about widowhood is linear. Either way, I know that there really is a corner and that there is life on the other side of it. It's encouraging. And it feels healthy. Thank you for helping me get this far. There's a lot further to go, but this feels like an immense milestone. And it is good.
 
Love you, adore you, worship the ground you walk on,
Joan.

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