MY JOURNEY – Grand Marais, April 2017
Stuck in a rewind
Another Minnesota winter has come and gone. The weather was pretty good, not too cold. March came in like lamb and went out like a lamb, as the saying goes. Getting into a spring state of mind is a bit hard this year. I am at the North Shore as I write this, looking at the wonderful sunshine bouncing off Lake Superior. But I don’t quite feel the happiness that I usually do as spring begins bursting out all around. I think it’s because I am stuck rewinding Barry’s last years and death in my head.
As I backed-up my phone the other day, I was startled to see some very late pictures of Barry that I took when he was so sick and horribly thin as he waited out his last few days on Earth. I am trying to work on the second draft of my memoir and reliving our entire story yet again for a third time. I never knew this would be so hard.
I keep having thoughts about how I could I have done things differently. Why did I go home on Barry’s final night and sleep in my own bed while he laid alone, perhaps scared, at the care center? Why didn’t I try to keep him at home longer and try harder to take care of him. Should I have paid for physical therapy to slow the atrophy that would eventually take over his limbs? I know it is useless to think about these things over and over, but I can’t help it. Most of all, I think about how unfair it is that Barry can’t see this beautiful spring day. I know this is normal thinking for a person who is just five months into the loss of a spouse. When people ask me how I am doing, I always tell them, “Fine, because I lost Barry a long time ago.” That’s true, but why is it so hard now?
I also worry about my future. Will I sell the memoir? Should I write a picture book instead? Or should I just get in my car and keep driving until I find a new life? Can’t do the latter, because I would miss my family too much. I have to keep reminding myself that planning a new future is not the right thing to do during the first year after losing someone. But I am impatient by nature. I want to know what I will be doing over the next few years.
On this spring day, I’ve decided to take a page from my very own playbook. I am going to stop working on the memoir for the afternoon, tie up my boots, get out and do what has helped me from the very beginning of this journey. I am going for a hike. I must continue putting one foot in front of the other. Instead of second guessing myself and wishing I could escape this loneliness and uncertainty, today I am going outside to look for signs of spring — because in that there is always hope!