It seems as if it’s been a lifetime since I wrote an article for this blog, and perhaps it has been. I thought my move away from the house I lived for the past two decades with my life mate would be the start of a life change — a real journey. I expected to be different at the end of my trip to my new location than I was at the beginning, but in truth, the change had already begun.
During these past months, I’ve had so much thrown at me that I was overwhelmed. First my mate’s death, then arranging his cremation, packing and shipping the stuff I’m going to keep, doing a yard sale, cleaning out his things, disposing of all the detritus one accumulates during a shared life time, preparing for my journey. All this I did alone while dealing with overwhelming grief. During each agonizing step of the way, I’d cry and wail and scream, “I can’t do this!” So much pain. So much loss. So much change in such a short time. And I had no idea how to cope.
My last morning at the house, I got up early, cleaned out the few remaining items I’d been using, packed my car, and took one more look around the house. I walked through the rooms, remembering with what hope we had moved there, remembering the good times, remembering the more frequent bad times. Remembering his last hug, his last kiss. His death.
As I was shutting the door, I thought of all that lay ahead of me, and I cried, “I can’t do this.”
Then, it dawned on me: Yes. I can. Because I did.
I got out my camera, and went through the house one last time, taking photos of the empty rooms to prove to myself that all those things I thought I couldn’t do, I did. I know there will still be much for me to have to deal with — learning how to live without him, learning who I am now that I am not part of a couple, finding a way and a reason to live – and through it all, I might continue to wail, “I can’t do this,” but this truth is, I can. And that was the real journey, the real discovery. The trip turned out to be just a trip.