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Eight months have passed since my husband died, of septic encephalopathy. We were married for 53 years. His body had been failing for 3 years, and together we spent many hours and nights in emergency wards and hospital rooms. He was 75, paraplegic from polio when he was 6. In his last 3 years he had developed loss of function in multiple systems: heart blockages, myasthenia gravis, diabetes, lymphedema, osteomyelitis. He survived these impacts because he had such strong care giving from myself and our two adult children. He was an artist--metalsmith, jeweler, craftsman, sculptor, painter. I suppose that many (not all) creative people can concentrate on their art by being self-absorbed. By being manipulative, selfish, "using" other people, flirting and charming admirers, never feeling the need to apologize or admit errors. I married him because I believed we were alike; I painted, wrote poetry and essays, loved all the arts. As our relationship developed, I became not only his caregiver and financial support, but a dedicated enabler of his narcissism. In the turmoil and sorrow of his final suffering (trauma from his confused speeding in a power wheelchair over a curb, being propelled out of his chair, multiple injuries) I persisted on a path of self-awareness, trying to forgive him and myself for what we did to each other. At 77 and physically deteriorating, I knew I could not possibly give him what he wanted: to come home and be nursed by us. My adult children had lives and families and work to attend to. He was massively overweight; I could not put him on bedpans or move him onto wheelchairs. He told people I did not love him; he did not want to die in a nursing home. I mentioned all this in some previous topics. Since then, I have allowed myself to release some emotions. All those years of denying how I felt. Immersing myself in my children, my job, our financial needs. In the needs of my aging parents. It is scary to feel. It's scary to realize how stupid I was. It's scary to be angry, and sad. I think I have finally reached a point where I can start to forgive him. He survived great physical difficulties by manipulating. I can understand that. And I am beginning to understand how my early development in an emotionally distraught family led me to think I had to take control of circumstances around me to stop the chaos. Now I am alone. And I have to find myself. Make my own decisions. Make a life. Finally to see aloneness and age as positive factors. Able to create my own art. Able to let go my guilt about my middle-aged children's problems because I did my best as a parent and they are their own people. Able to write poetry. To put paint on a canvas, which I haven't done since 1970. I thought I would travel, but the virus stopped that. I never thought how much energy this would require. Sometimes I feel everything at once--rage, extreme sadness, ashamed. And I need to walk away, take a long nap, or immerse myself in an audio book, just to shut out the noise in my heart. It makes me very very tired.
Sometimes I feel good and then all of a sudden I feel so far away. I thought death was just about missing someone. But it is so much more. It is the loss of yourself and your identity. I poured myself into Chloe and then she was just gone. I don't know how to interpret my world or my life. I take on my responsibilities, but inside I feel like a nomad, a wandering soul. I am reminded that what I feel today, I likely won't feel tomorrow. No feeling is final. I breathe, I love and accept myself through each moment. http://cindyweaver2015.blogspot.com/