January 1, 2022
It’s been a long time since I picked up my digital pen to write a post for this grief blog. It certainly isn’t because life is now all kittens and yarn (for any of us!) but mostly because I had lost my thread. Of yarn? More like some prickly, slightly abrasive twine! Now retired, I feel compelled to pick it up again to share thoughts on this complicated and sometimes puzzling journey.
As we kick 2021 out the door and try desperately to bar the windows, many of us look at this freshly minted New Year as another opportunity, another chance to do (or feel) better. I am also cautiously hopeful.
And although the rough barbs of grief have blessedly dulled over the past five years, the nubs still catch occasionally on my pantlegs.
Moving to Virginia more than two years ago was my way of trying to jumpstart a fresh life. It has helped in many ways. I am not surrounded by the tangible memories that my husband and I had built together, and now live closer to my siblings. But I’m self-aware enough to know you can’t shut out feelings like some sort of religious zealot knocking on the door with handfuls of gospel tracts.
A very wise and helpful friend of mine once shared a mantra she espouses to help get through her days, and I have tried my best to adopt it.
“Before you go to bed, think of three things that happened during the day that you are grateful for. They do not have to be big things. Then, when you wake up, say to God or to the universe, “Help me, help me, help me.”
So, I attempt to do this when I am mindful. Last night as I headed to bed well before the finale of New Year’s Eve, I lay in bed and thought, “I have a nice home. I took a walk today with family and friends in the sunshine. My thumbs (in the early stages of arthritis) are not bothering me.”
I woke quite early today to rain pelting the window nearest my bed. I had left it cracked open since it’s been so unseasonably warm in Virginia this December. I listened to the water hitting the panes for a long time and soon joined along with my own slow-moving waterworks, keenly missing my husband’s warm presence still. But then I wiped the tears away and mentally hoisted up my big girl pants to complete the other half of the mantra. Given the day, they could also be construed as resolutions, but what is there to lose?
“Help me to be a better person. Help me to embrace life, instead of approaching it as something to be endured. Help me get through this new year feeling more grateful for what I have instead of dwelling on what I have lost.”
5 thoughts on “Resolutionary Road”
Martha, glad to see your back on the blog, yes grief does suck. What has helped me over the past 4 years is the memories, family, friends, new and old! There is no time limit on grief but over time it gets better. I know you and Jim were not married that long but you do have the memories. Jerry and I were together for 60 years, there will never be another for me. Some days are harder then others but I know he is watching over me and wants me to be happy! Hoping 2022 will be a good year for you🥰
Thank you Elaine. I appreciate your comments too, and am still so sorry for your loss.
I am glad you have family nearby to help you, but realize it will never be the same!
I am so glad that in retirement, you’ve decided to come back to the blog. I feel reconnected with you through the blog and I like to know what’s on your mind and how you are doing. I like the theme here of gratefulness. I love your friend’s advice on thinking of 3 things you are grateful for that day before you go to sleep. And I am glad to hear you are cautiously optimistic about this year. Me too. You’ve made a lot of changes in your life and I think you are embracing them all. But I also know you didn’t picture your retirement without James there with you. So I understand the tears still flow and I’m sorry for that. Sending hugs to you from CT.
Being mindful and grateful should come naturally to us all but, we need to make the effort. You constantly put in the work, Mar. Which is one of the reasons I’m so in awe of you. The three things and morning mantra are wonderful. Love you.