(an excerpt from my journal after my husband’s passing.)
It’s been six weeks since Tom died and friends and family ask me, “How are you?”
I think I’m doing okay. I’m never quite sure what to say to people when they ask me that. Tears still come every day. I miss him like crazy, but I can actually talk about it now without breaking down. My teaching job and my little ones are keeping me busy. I have the most wonderful class. Perhaps my principal was being extra nice to me when she set up the class list, but, however it happened, I really did luck out with this bunch of great little kids. They are adoring, affectionate and easy, extremely responsive, caring children. And their parents are equally as great. I don’t think I have ever felt so loved and supported as I have this year. The kids wrote me beautiful letters at Christmas and parents, too, sent in kind and compassionate cards and letters.
I bought something new for myself after Tom died. It’s a two foot long, black, wooden carving of the word “Dream.” It bought it for my bedroom, not only for the obvious take on night-time dreams but also to remind me that I am alive and have opportunities to “dream” about new possibilities for the future. I know it should have been obvious but it was only a few days ago that I realized that this is the first time in my entire life that I am living alone with no one else to be responsible for but myself. I feel I have a lot of soul-searching to do in discovering who I really am and what I really want for the rest of my life. Tom and I were so happy and so looking forward to a future of retired life together, but if I am to be denied that, then I need to look for new opportunities for self-growth and discovery. The world is a big, beautiful place and I am alive and have an opportunity to decide what I want to do with my life.
Right now I am reading a great book, Broken Open – How Difficult Times can Help us Grow, by Elizabeth Lesser. There’s a quote in it from Joseph Campbell:
“People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life.
I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what
we’re seeking is an experience of being alive. . . so that we actually
feel the rapture of being alive.”
Lesser goes on to interpret that in her own way.
“Rapture is not a selfish emotion. It is pure gratitude, flowing freely
through the body, heart and soul. Gratitude for what? For breath,
for colours, for music, for friendship, humour, weather, sleep, awareness.
It is a willing engagement with the whole messy miracle of life.
The world suffers more from unhappy, stifled people trying to do
good than it does from those who are simply content within themselves.”
I couldn’t agree more!
What I hope to do and be is a person of gratitude and contentment. Content in my own skin. If I can be that person, then my love for myself and my place in the world will be transferred to the rest of the world, to others. It can’t help but be reflected outwards like the radiating ripples from a stone being tossed into a quiet, still pond.