The five things right now: #5 – grieving

For the past few weeks, I’ve been posting about how live has been since my wife, Vickie, passed away in April. I’ve touched on the things I’ve been trying to do and learn: spending time with friends and family, get back into my tabletop roleplaying game hobby, take care of our – now my – house on my own, make sure I’m feeding and exercising myself right.

But there’s one thing I’m doing that I have no control over, that I can only try to get out of my own way so that it happens naturally; one thing that has no schedule, time frame or action plan; one thing that I can’t not do.

Grieve for Vickie and the us that I used to be part of.

A lot of folks have been telling me that they’re amazed / inspired by how well I’m doing. Part of me wonders whether I’m actually doing as well as I seem; whether I’m not sitting on some big well of grief that I’m only drawing from every now and again.

It’s a catch-22 at times. we’re told so often that grieving shouldn’t be public, and despite folks’ reassurances to the contrary, I’m simply not comfortable with letting the tears out around others.

And yet, I want someone there to hold me together during those moments that I fall apart for a bit; a pair of arms to wrap around me and a voice saying, “It’s okay. Cry all you want. Bawl and scream. Let it all out.”

All kinds of weird things come to mind. I mentioned in post #3 in this series, the moment when the new certificate of ownership came though, moving the house out of Vickie’s name and into mine. There have been moments since when I’ve felt almost a trespasser in my own home. It was Vickie’s for years before we moved back in from Sydney. Her son Karl rented it for a year or so while his Mum was in Sydney with me. I wonder whether he spent any time here when he was younger.

Even when I remind myself about how I was involved in the renovations we made after we moved back, how I helped get the carpet up and put vinyl tile down, paint the walls, move things around, Vickie was still the ultimate director of those projects. Maybe due to disinterest, feeling out of my depth or simply letting my people-pleasing streak hand Vickie the the reins at every opportunity, I still feel like there’s not much “me” here.

Maybe I need to start putting more of my own stamp on the place. Print some of my own photos, pay my mate Corinne who’s big into geek graphic designs on woodwork to do some nice art that I can hang on the walls.

Then there are the other little things. I can’t call Vickie at lunchtime and chat about our days so far. I can’t share the more of the good things we both enjoyed – the new series of the TV shows Harrow and Lucifer, I’ve watched pretty much on my own (though I have to thank my friend Leigh for going in on the idea of a viewing party when Lucifer Season 4 premiered on Netflix).

Much as I’m doing my best to get back into life, I’m realising there are some things – particularly relating to my sex life (Vickie’s illnesses had rendered ours essentially non-existent for the past few years) – that I’m not quite ready for, that there’s Work I am still Yet To Do.

And let’s face it – Vickie may not have been perfect, but she was still very much someone who should be missed. I miss her, and as much as I am curious to see what the rest of life from here on in holds (and, maybe, with whom I might wind up sharing it), I still want Vickie back. I think I always will.

The photo of Vickie at her wake in April.
Portrait photo by Catherine Coombs; photo taken at the wake by Celia Berrell.

I think that’s the biggest thing – realising how much of my life was about and around Vickie. I find myself wondering every now and again: What is life about now? What is its point? I didn’t realise how much Vickie was the answer to those questions, how sharing our lives was enough capital-P Purpose for me, until she couldn’t be the answer any more.

And there’s a question: If the next Potential Mrs. Right comes along, how do we make sure that we have purpose as well as each other, that we have richness in our lives to share?

It’s a struggle sometimes, especially as there are no easy answers. I try to remember that, no matter what, these things will take time. Thankfully, with our finances in a good enough state that our – well, my – expenses, like loans and utilities – are covered, with enough to go in the bank and some fun money, I have the time; there’s no rush to make any major decisions about where and how I’m living.

And I also try to remember that while it sucks she’s gone, she made me happy – and I made HER happy – while we were together. That’s worth any sadness now that we can’t be.

I know I’m not done saying it yet, but: Goodbye, darling-heart. I love you. I miss you.