Friday, December 11, 2009

Physical Being

originally uploaded by BjørnS.

Tonight as I headed out of work, and onto the road to pick up my son, a familiar feeling began sweeping over me.

I realized that the end of each work week is very difficult for me. I find myself in tears as I get onto the road to start my weekend. It may be due to being tired from the emotional work that I do, or it may be from a cumulative lack of sleep throughout the week. Or it could be a combination of both.

There is also the fact that we have entered the winter season, which is cold, wet, and very dark, very early. It used to be that my long week at work was rewarded with having a cozy time at home with Michael and the kids. By this time of the evening I would have been curled up on the couch with Michael at my side. These days my work week is rewarded with the reminder that I am alone. I know that I am not completely alone, the kids are still around, but I am alone in the sense that my soul mate is not at home waiting for me when I return.

I can't help but wonder when my body will start getting use to the lack of Michael's sensual comfort . My mind knows that Michael is gone, it's day 89. My heart still lacks understanding, and together my heart and mind are trying to make sense of it all. I know I need to start taking better care of this quickly aging body of mine. I'm not feeding it as well as I used to. I'm not giving my body nearly enough sleep to properly function. And I rarely take this body out for a walk around the neighborhood, or get it into the gym. In general, my poor body is being mistreated compared to the special care it once received.

Somehow I need to strike a balance between healing my mind and heart, with helping my body feel nurtured and cared for. I'm realizing that this is part of grief's cruel reality. We widows and widowers can go for long periods of time without physical touch or intimate discussion. Again, I do have my children, who give me great hugs, yet we all know the difference.

Tonight's thoughts are not spoken with tears, or with a whiny tone. If that is how you interpreted my words, go back to the beginning and re-read this post with a bit more emotional distance. It was actually a moment of clarity when this all came together for me on the drive home. Understanding what triggers my longing for Michael, and the hurt and pain that accompanies it, must be part of the road I travel.

While I am mourning Michael I must also start rebuilding my life. I must learn new ways to take care of myself, because he's not here to physically comfort me or make me feel good. I need to find new ways of rewarding myself for all that I take on. If I don't find this I fear that I will just begin to feel detached from my body. I will just learn to go without pleasure, or end all of my weeks with a sense of emptiness and pain.

It is such a challenge to keep learning more about what I have lost, but learn I must. Each day feels like a new lesson. I can choose to turn away from these lessons, or I can choose to face them head on. I know which way I am choosing, and it's going to be a painful process.


  1. Dan, have you considered going for a regular weekly massage ... many widow/ers I've spoken to say it helps a lot ... just thought I'd mention it x

  2. my Dragon was immensely physical. he touched me all the time. little touches like a caress of my face or hand, and then the holding hands when we were out as well as the intimacy we shared. i've hesitated to write of how much i miss that aspect beyond the brief reference here and there. i am relieved to read your effort here. i miss my Dragon on all the levels and layers that don't cross the minds of others who have not lost a spouse.

    maybe one day i'll be brave and write of my own feelings on this topic. for now, you have done it profoundly. thank you.

  3. This is something I have thought a lot about. I know that we must all feel the loss of physical touch, but somehow it is a "touchy" subject.

    I did go for a couple of massages just before returning to work. Since then I just haven't made the time, or maybe I didn't want to feel better. Anyway, I think I will try that as a beginning to reconnect to my body, and allow myself to feel nurtured.

  4. You raised a good point about the winter season being upon us. I have just noticed a substantial dip in my overall mood. Plus the holiday season is here so both deliver a double whammy. I never disliked winter until my husband died.

    Despite the losses I am grappling with, I too have been telling myself that I need to take better care of myself - to at least start exercising a bit. This grief isn't going to just go away - so it is up to me to do the best I can to physically nurture and care for myself. My getting ill isn't going to make the grief disappear.

    For those of us with kids still at home, it is easy for others to assume they will fill our life. And they do in some but not all ways. I started to resent all the people who told me how lucky I was having the kids to take care of. However, I don't think these people stop to consider how easier it is to parent when we're involved in a loving relationship... Nor do they consider that we still have to parent while grieving and then react to their own grief.

  5. Your'e so right. I have had to apologize to my kids for not being as present to their needs as I used to, or as they would like. Initially I couldn't respond to their needs at all, and friends stepped in to help. I am getting better at parenting with the loss of Michael, and with the addition of grief. They know that I miss Michael's presence so much, and understand why it's difficult to fall asleep alone.