It first hit me in the grocery store.
After Susan’s many months of illness, I was consumed with the day-to-day of the situation. Then she passed.
A few weeks after the dust settled, I’m pushing the shopping cart in the supermarket, and it finally struck me that I’m shopping for me and me alone. That’s what I’ve started calling the “alone moment” when you realize it’s just you now.
The “alone moment” can occur often, and I’ve come to expect those moments as part of the grieving process. They are constant little jabs to remind you that the life you had is over.
What we’re all left with is fighting through the “alone moments” and confronting the new life we now lead. I see in this forum that many are uncomfortable with the feeling of loneliness. Here are some things I’m doing to push back on this emotion.
Your Family and Friends Are Rooting For You
You may not realize it, but everybody that loves you is outwardly or secretly rooting for you to find happiness and fulfillment. The people that love you are watching you. Not in a judgmental way, but they are hoping to see you come through it all at some point. People who genuinely care about you also know that this will take time.
I’ve learned that you can’t underestimate this kind of love and support.
Put Something On The Calendar
My late wife was a travel agent. One of the many things she always said was, “Let’s always have a trip on our calendar.” It’s SO true! Once you’ve planned some kind of trip or scheduled an event, it lifts you. Half the fun of planning a vacation is in the planning.
Looking At All Your Options
Being alone is not the option we wanted. But it’s now the option that we have.
In Fred Colby’s book “Widower To Widower” he writes, “My belief is that, for us to move forward, we need to know that we do not have to leave anyone behind.” That’s excellent advice. I’m always going to carry my wife’s love and memory with me as I go forward doing things that I want to do.
Having said that, what I’m about to share sounds counter-intuitive. One of the things I enjoyed doing when I met Susan was aviation. I had picked up my pilot’s license a couple of years before I met her. But I gave it up for love. She was genuinely concerned about me flying and one day looked at me with those big green eyes and asked me to give it up for her.
Without going into all the details, there are several things now that I would like to do and experience. Breaking 90 on the golf course is one. You probably have deep down inside a few things you want to try.
Once you find yourself considering all of your options in this new life, then I promise you will feel less lonely and more like seeing the real you again.
Look for Larry’s column every other Thursday. You can write Larry at firstname.lastname@example.org.