Thursday, July 19, 2007

Riding alone on the Roller Coaster

When I have been talking to people that have either lost a loved one or are single now, I notice the difference in thought process. And wonder a bit about it.

A single friend of mine asked me how long it had been since I had lived alone. I would have to say at least 22 years, maybe more. My friend has lived alone more than she has lived with someone, so she is used to handling things differently.

I have spoken to some other widows, and they agree, it is difficult at times to get back into the 'single' saddle. One woman who lost her husband after just a few years of marriage and one who had 37 years with her husband both said the same thing - "the decisions that you shared are gone."

Now I think what that means to me is that feeling that there was someone that I had to discuss things, to talk them out, to think the logistics of something, to defend and support a decision if necessary, well, I stand alone now. It is a new feeling to grow back into. I have talked about this before - having someone at your back. But the feeling that they aren't there anymore is unnerving.

One of my friends said she could understand how hard that is, but she knows that I made choices and decisions at work and felt that I would be able to do this at home. Being a manager with 4 to 6 employees, handling their schedules and customers and stock. I have to say, it is a little different than being at home and sharing a choice of what color to paint the room or even what movie to go to or if the dog needs to go to the vet. At least for me.

The qualifier for me is that at work, I CHOSE to be in a position of management and worked hard for it. At home, I didn't choose to lose Jim. In fact, I chose to join with him and work with him and share my life with him.

I also know married couples that work very well with each other but not by sharing thoughts and decisions. I can't say I feel they are very married, but it's their choice. And what works for them wouldn't work for me. I know some single women that would rather be single then give up their freedom of choice and have to maybe compromise with someone else.

I found that marriage was a compromise of choices. We compromised on shows we watched, food we ate, what to do on our days off or even who feeds the dogs. I don't mean 'give in to Jim' when I say compromise, because there were things that I know he 'gave in to me' on. It was a give and take.

Our marriage was a union of two people that even though we had lots in common, we still had differences and accepted those differences and learned to live with them in a way that was good for both of us. Mutual pleasure and satisfaction. Not always 100% perfect all the time, it was a work in progress. We learned thru the years that what was important to me, he would help me enjoy and the same for him. Jim collected comics, and I let him -without the nag of 'aren't you too old for them?' because it was something he got a pleasure from and life...god, can I say is too short to not enjoy it. So we learned to find a happy medium.

In talking to a friend who lost her husband quickly/suddenly also, she said she would say "what would Max do?". I have found myself doing that "what would Jim do?". It works. I might be making the same decision we would have made together, or a completely different one, but I am learning how to think about how it will effect me. As a single person in the household.

I have also said before that marriage is like a roller coaster. Ups that are thrilling and downs that make you want to bail on the person you are riding with, but love helps you hang on and ride it out. Jim got thrown out when we were at a high, and now I am at that down part, but if I hang on, it will go up again. It will wobble because the balance is off.

I have already started to be a single person, making choices that reflect me and my needs, but it isn't what I wanted. I have lived alone before. I know I can now, I just have to get the mind wrapped around that idea. It's just that it wasn't a choice for me.

1 comment:

Johnlocke108 said...

“We never understand how little we need in this world until we know the loss of it.”

I want you to know that my thoughts are still with you Betts. Thanks for informing me about the blog.