This past year has been the hardest of my life. There was the long march of cancer that ultimately took us to Doug’s death. A journey that was both painful and incredibly sweet as we intimately navigated it together with our family and friends. It was also a year of difficulty for each one of our children. It as though we had each made a list of the most difficult challenges of our lifetime and then unbeknownst to us we had somehow signed up to tackle one of our greatest fears, all while losing our beloved husband and father ..a foundation to all of us.
I have watched myself as I flounder with who I am in this chapter of my life. All the usual qualities of who I think myself to be seem to be are less accessible. It is as though I was a strong independent character in a book and somehow I woke up in a different story. I find myself saying, “I don’t want this to be my life”… There is this feeling that somehow I was given a storyline that was not my own. In my story a healthy loving husband doesn’t die to some rare cancer and our children go through these life challenges. In my story I am strong and resilient and see light coming through the clouds.
But,, Here I am. In the weeks after Doug’s death I still had this confidence of knowing what to do. With cancer there was always a next thing to do…Learning about the cancer..planning the treatments.. making him comfortable.. planning a death. I was this strong woman that could make it happen..even remodeling and moving us to a new house in the midst.
But who is this woman now? I stepped into this new chapter with this attitude that I would create a new life.. I would learn to be happy without a partner.. I would be a thriving artist… loving grandmother.. I would meditate and inquire and find new depths of understanding and spiritual wisdom… Instead I find myself here. It can be hard to climb out of bed on these gray winter days and my artistic ambitions have been lost in the haze. I feel fragile and uncertain.. I get confused and wander about the house looking for something that I later realize is a sense of my old life.. the old me.
I have struggled with this person I am right now. The one that leans more heavily on her children and friends and cries so easily. I have found myself sometimes criticizing this new me.. Sort of a “get it together” judgement as though I can shame this fragile part away. I still have my list of doings.. remodeling my house and getting the old one ready to sell but they don’t have the same satisfaction and don’t support the same egoic structures. I realize that it isn’t for me to find another “doing” to get through this.
I think this moment is about having compassion for all the parts of myself and paying attention to all that is unfolding. I dreamed that I was walking on a path through the sky. Suddenly the trail ended and I stepped out into thin air. I was suspended..not falling.. just holding on to a small handrail. I am here without the foothold I have always known.
I am here just learning how to Be.