That is how long it has been in moon phase months. Actually nine months was last week. I always noticed the moon, partially because it was his last name, and when he died it was a particularly beautiful group of evenings and the night sky was quite brilliant and clear. So here I am watching the moon build back again and it is nine months later.
It was last week when I felt his absence so profoundly: when I could no longer really kid myself in any way and I felt completely alone. It coincided with Valentine’s Day which was ironic in many ways. I was glad I had made some plans to fill in the spaces of my life. I had spent time with friends on Friday evening, hosted a gathering of friends on Saturday, and was privileged to have the twins for an overnight on Sunday, Valentine’s. Being busy and social did not alter my acute awareness of his absence on this day of heightened romance, but it did distract and that was good.
As the hours ticked away I became quite agitated and I could sense a kind of regression in myself. I was more irritable, more needy, more sensitive and touchy. I was not sleeping through the night again for a change. My appetite was doing cartwheels.
I found myself crying a lot and thinking very painfully about realities of his absence, especially the loss of my intimate partner with whom I could converse day in and day out.
I associated myself to Tom Hanks in Cast Away: I am feeling so isolated, so impersonal and too often I rely on my computer for closeness and connection with others.
Then the feelings subsided and I noticed something new: an increased awareness of my singularity, my oneness, my individual identity. I said to myself, I have no choice, I must move on. Period. No looking back all the time. I must go forward.
The pain subsided, at least in its immensity. I could feel some vigor and energy returning and I noticed myself using the first person more easily than before.
I cleaned the fishtank at the office. Now that was a messy job and I ended up having to wash my sweater to get all the green grunge off of its sleaves. I cleaned my car, twice, due to the snow and salt, and I organized what I could.
I bought a new (used) couch for my office to replace one that is getting worn and shabby.
Right in the midst of all this my computer crashed. Actually it sort of stumbled to a full crash. I kept resuscitating it with all the methods my son and experience has taught me. Daily defrags, cleanings, virus searches. I went through and erased some unnecessary programs that take up a lot of space (like the itune versions of NPR desk concerts) and many old and outdated photographs that I’ll never need or use.
Sensing that it was on the brink, I had stopped in at Best Buy and scouted the laptops, selected one, and stored it in my trunk. I hoped I would have the opportunity to take it back, but my intuition, as my son called it, was right. On Saturday morning, it would not even power up and I called me son, asking for “Help!”
Lucky for me, he had time to help me and we met at my office. He checked out my purchased laptop, gave it the geek seal of approval and we began our work. He was able to copy the old disk drive onto the new laptop, the one I am writing this from, yesterday afternoon. We then backed up the entire system and installed and upgraded some of my office software. By nightfall, I was up and running again. My appreciation of his ability is profound: all of this took many hours of patient work.
Today I saw friends at church. I no longer sat at a table and waited for folks to come my way. I got up and moved around some, reached out to strangers and encouraged folks to spend time with me.
I set up an appointment to get my hair fixed, went for a drive and took a few photographs. I returned home and took a shower, with my newly installed showerhead, installed by my housemate this morning.
Dear Reader, can you sense in all this something new and significant? I am finally on the mend. Not just trying to keep on emotional life jackets and survive, but I am beginning to feel some new energy and interest in the world around me.
I hope this lasts.