Monday, November 26, 2007

Thoughts from a bus

Coming up on six months and also a holiday. I realized a couple things this weekend. I mean, I had realized them before, but Thanksgiving brought them to heart. It was that long bus ride to my sisters I guess.

One is that we are not a true family unit anymore. With no kids, but Jim and I were our own little family. So, now what? It’s me. I guess that should be “I’m” not a family unit. Do I become the widowed daughter/sister at family gatherings? This realization sort of takes away the accomplishment of being the family. It's like, I may not have some fabulous career, or a lot of money, or a big house, but we had a family. Jim and I. Now that's been taken away.

My sister invited me to Thanksgiving dinner and several days ‘vacation’. I had a really good time and didn’t feel any ‘hanger-onism there’ but there was something inside that said I shouldn’t be there alone. I will admit I did feel a lot less as an extra there than anytime in the last few months at family social events.

How can I word it, it’s almost like my home is not "home". It's a place to go to at the end of the day. It's shelter and privacy and for that I'm grateful...but no family lives there. I am trying to build it back up to that feeling. With the dogs and cat depending on me. And with them helping me by crowding around me in the evenings. A dog on both sides and a cat behind me on the couch. I am trying to make a house that was Jim’s family home – where he grew up, a place for me. It’s tough because my history is not there and I look around and hear his voice telling me the family stories. I know with time, I'm supposed to start enjoying my "independence". Learn to grow into my own companionship. There are times when it's okay not having anyone to answer to...just bumming around on weekends, deciding when to do certain chores or what to eat. But in the end, not having anyone around who cares...and to care just sad.

See, after seventeen years of having someone who cared about me, and losing them, well it makes a difference now. The relationship we had was filled with little compromises and bigger ways to make the other one happy and thus make ourselves happy in their happiness. It will take some time to readjust. Seventeen years will take some time.

I can take after myself fine; it is just that I'm not used to being alone. I miss some things that I had come to expect or understand. I used to come home and furniture in the house would be moved without me knowing – but because Jim wanted to do it or a light replaced or a rug switched, now everything stays the same unless I move it, and the old way used to be a nice surprise. Oh, I do find myself moving things. Yet other hand (maybe this is my healing process) there are things I do now, just because I can do them without worrying about what Jim would want. The color of the bed sheets, the style of food, what is watched on TV. It’s my choices and anything is okay.
I have wonderful friends and family and I am so lucky to have them as they have been a lot of support. They know I hurt and they know I am lonely so they try to help in the best way they can. I miss his companionship and his silly jokes. There are so many things that are just not the same. I have only been to one movie since Jim died. My friends have been great at helping me to get to the stores and some social parties. This outside connection has helped my healing. My family has been good to come and help me get to family gatherings.

I guess, I just always thought no matter what happened, it was me and Jim against the world. And it was. We had each other... and considered us, Merc, Tigger and Fig our family. I mean, Jim and I would call each other several times a day at work just to say I love you and hey and man work sucks and I will be home soon. So it’s just that not only did I lose the love of my life but my best friend. Jim and I were such a great team together and I don't even know where to begin on my own. But even after all this babbling, I hope that there is evidence that I am trying.


MrsGrumpy said...

There is evidence, or else you would have given up by now. I cannot imagine feeling as you do but I will give you a great big hug of sympathy. And I will click on this entry whenever the children are trying my patience, or my teenager screams horrendous accusations in my face... Nobody should have to go through this and I am so sorry that you are. I'm thinking of you.

Laurie said...

Hi Betsy,

I have been reading for a while now and I see evidence all over the place that you are getting through a day at a time. Your Thanksgiving weekend seemed to be good for you and I am sure your sister enjoyed your company. I am sorry that the house is so empty without Jim there. I cannot imagine but I know the pets feel the same way too. I admire you Betsy and your words make me think to be grateful always.

Laurie in Ca.