Permission Granted

Monday, April 30, 2012

It’s really pretty simple: I miss Dave’s company. The bottom line to how I feel is that I miss his company. After so many years we came to the place of resembling each other and finishing each others’ thought.

There is a quotation in my file I’ve left unused for a long time. (I maintain a computer file of interesting quotes I find for possible use as inspiration on my Navigating Grief Facebook page. The only criterion is that it may resonate with me in some way about life, grief, love, loss…)

“The more familiar two people become, the more the language they speak together departs from that of the ordinary, dictionary-defined discourse. Familiarity creates a new language, an in-house language of intimacy that carries reference to the story the two lovers are weaving together and that cannot be readily understood by others.”

~Alain de Botton, On Love

“Familiarity creates a new language…” perhaps more of an ongoing dialogue. For us, it was a conversation that lasted 30+  years. Anytime I plopped into Dave’s chair in his home office it was like picking up the conversation where it left off. I never had to back fill the story. We understood our individual perspectives, and in fact, relied upon such to give meaning to the conversation. When we sat at the dining table, the language of years together – thousands of meals together – was the foundation of tradition, comfort and companionship. Each evening, when we said goodnight, the simple I love you, and our never-go-to-bed-angry pact was enforced by our words and gestures, deepened by the years of familiarity. We shared both the intellectual and the partner’s words as friends and lovers.

I miss talking with him about my day, his day and what transpires in between. I miss the give and take of sharing what he added to me and I added to him. I miss caring for him, too. I’ve lost the roles of wife and caregiver when he died.

For this week, I am still trying to find my pace. The rollercoaster is winding down, but far from over. (Is this a ride that stops and then goes backwards when you least expect it?) The dips from high to low are not so extreme as even a month ago.

I made a conscious effort at giving myself permission to rest more, resist less. I work hard during the short burst I have available to me each day. Then I let go or give in. I’ve shifted to being a stronger and gentler caregiver to myself. That was helpful. It frees me to be the best I know for a shorter time. I am actually getting more quality results in what I am doing.

I’ve always thought how great it would be to live a cat’s life: sleeping, eating, chasing a few mice then hanging out in a sunbeam. Hmm, not so much now. The SCDS has forced me into a more “leisure” lifestyle and it is rather boring. Depending on my activity level, weather and barometric changes, amount of time on the phone or computer, and just plain emotion, I might spend most of the day at rest. The worst part is that my mind is very active in wanting to create and accomplish but just doesn’t have the sustained focus; my body doesn’t have the verve to act on completing my thoughts; and simply thinking I can (do something, including not having SCDS) doesn’t overrule my physical reality.

Some symptoms, especially the double vision (it worsens as I tire) and the never ending tinnitus, are getting very annoying. (I wonder in hindsight and amazement how Dave managed to live with his neuropathy so long) As the sun warmed the air last week, I opened the windows only to find that even chirping birds get a bit noisy through autophony. That makes me sad. I usually love to hear the birds singing. I had to shut the window.

But this too shall pass, and soon. I am counting down to just a few days before meeting the surgeon again and finalizing the scheduled drill, fill and fix. I’d be lying to say I wasn’t afraid. Afraid of surgery, pain and what it will be to recover on my own (not necessarily alone). Mostly I try to anticipate relief. I have hope. I am optimistic. I am so ready to move forward emotionally, physically and spiritually speaking.

4 replies
  1. Connie Fenner
    Connie Fenner says:

    As I read your posts I see that writing down your thoughts and feelings is a way to heal and understand. I’m learning from you and appreciate, again, your willingness to share with any of us who are interested in your journey. I was surprised and pleased to read your quote from Alain de Botton’s book On Love. I have discovered his books just this year and am devouring them. Currently, Religion for Atheists is on my table and it is helping me understand some of the good aspects of religion. I recommend all of them that I have read so far (How Proust Can Change Your Life, The Architecture of Happiness, and Status Anxiety) as well as this current one.
    I don’t know many people (mostly my family) who are interested in these subjects, so I’m thrilled to know there are people out there who are. I wondered why I was drawn to your story and now I see it’s not only the story of your grief process but also the conversation about life. Thank you.

    Hang in there, Joan!


    • joan
      joan says:

      Hi Connie. Writing is my lifesaver! I just followed the quote to Alain de Botton website and books when I posted. I am very intrigued by the titles and excerpts presented there and anticipate a download to Kindle soon! There is sooo much to explore!

  2. Ellane Chandler
    Ellane Chandler says:

    I’m glad that you have cats. Pets and scritches and brushes and purring and watching them enjoy the sunshine takes some of the sting out. I don’t know what I’d do without mine.


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