Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Balancing Act

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cupcake, lane collins?

I'm feeling like I have turned a corner of sorts. I am definitely able to draw comparisons to a time when my grief felt extremely raw, and was out of my control. For some time now I have felt more in control, and with some perspective.

It was a regular therapy Tuesday, and I spent most of my session talking about the positive changes that I am becoming aware of. The pain of losing Michael is something that I now feel more comfortable with. It doesn't seem to take me by surprise very much. I can sense when I going to have a evening of tears, and often times of late, I can give myself over to these feelings, knowing that they will be less intense if I only allow them to be present for a while.

I'm also feeling a better sense of balance in my life. Not that everything is sorted out, but I keep striving to come to some peaceful resolutions to things that are not in my control. I cannot stop loving Michael, it is now part of who and what I am. I cannot change the circumstances of time, meaning that he is gone, and there is nothing I can do that will change that. What I can do is try to be at peace with both. For too long I think I was trying to keep these two things separate. I wanted so much for the reality to not be true. For so long I wanted to stay with my anger, and cast some kind of blame on God, or the universe at large.

For some time I have expressed to my therapist that I felt like life was out to get me. That I was not meant to have happiness, or that as soon as I find happiness, life, or God, would take it away. I really don't want to continue in this line of thinking. I know that happiness is meant for me, because I had it with Michael. I enjoyed our relationship in so many ways. I enjoyed the challenge, the affection, the companionship, the intellectual stimulation, the physical stimulation, I loved it all. Rather than see what I had with Michael as something that was taken away, I want to focus more on it being something that was a gift. I'm feeling like we were meant to be together, and maybe we were meant to be together for this short time.

When I was out there looking for someone to love, I didn't put any disclaimers out that said only the immortal need apply. If Michael's life was meant to be a short one on this earth, then I am pleased that we were brought together. He gave me so much love, and really enhanced my life. I feel like I did the same for him. Am I saying that I am suddenly fine with the fact that he was taken from me so soon into our relationship? Definitely not. But I want to focus less on the time that we didn't have, and more on the time that we did. In time I want to focus less on the pain of losing him, and more on the joy of having him.

In a way, this line of thinking leads me to see all of this in a sort of Yin Yang philosophy. One needs to balance with the other. Having Michael in my life will always be experienced with losing him from my life. There really is no way to separate the two. I think that if I can continue to see all of these things as now connected, I can get more comfortable with what seems like opposing forces within me.

I love Michael with all of my heart. I miss Michael with all of my soul. The two are inseparable.

The extreme joy of our wedding day is the polar opposite of the extreme sorrow of his memorial service. They are both significant markers in my life.

Choosing to create a life together is now intrinsically connected to our choosing to prepare for his death.

In creating a balance, life sometimes seems to weigh heavier on one side for awhile, then shifts, and weighs heavier on the other. If I know this, and trust this, then I know that in time the potential for balance will always be there. This is not a simple process of course, but it is one that I can continue to strive for. What seems to work for me, is to keep trying to accept what is. Acknowledge what it is I want, or wanted, but not spend too much time getting stuck in a pattern of fighting what has already occurred. That will get me nowhere.

So this is my frame of mind right now. I hope it will have some staying power, because I know it is what will help me to keep moving forward, while holding close to my heart, that which is precious to me.


  1. Rather than see what I had with Michael as something that was taken away, I want to focus more on it being something that was a gift.

    There is truth to this perspective. Really, it seems that the two of you were a gift to each other. I don't think we can focus on the "why did this happen to us/me?" aspect of our losses. There's just no percentage in it as we'll never find an answer. There just isn't one. Recently, I've been thinking of how it was that I almost died during a medical emergency in 2005. At the ER, I told Don that I loved him and not to have any regrets. Things eventually turned out okay, but sometimes when I look back on it all, I think it would have been easier if I had not survived. But then I think of how terrible it would have been for Don to have to deal with his illness alone. Just that thought is enough to make me realize that I am here for a reason, even if it is difficult for me to go on alone. Somehow, it all balances out in the end. Now the trick is just learning how best to carry on. That is our challenge.

  2. there is such symmetry in the blogs of those who grieve. yesterday i read a widow's blog i follow who is 2 months shy of her 3 year anniversary. she wrote that she feels like she is in the middle of a seesaw trying to balance her sadness with the sometime happiness she feels. she wrote that her friends and family were telling her she was "milking this" because she still feels waves of intense sadness over her husband's death, yet she refuses to lie to them. she tries to tell them that there is a balancing act of being happy for the time they had together with the sorrow she feels over having to live her life without him.

    i liked what she said at the end. "i allow myself to feel each feeling as it comes to me. a wonderful man died and left behind a woman who loved him. he deserves no less than my attention to my grief and i know i can run but i can't hide from experiencing this part of our marriage. putting it off only means i'll have to face it later. might as well do it while i'm already sad."

    i wish you good days, positive days, and light during your darker days. i wish you peace.

  3. I like that right now you are able to focus on the blessings that Michael and your relationship brought to your life. For me, it is necessary to come up for air once in a while from the depths of grief so I can function in my life (with children, at work etc.). And one of the ways I do this is to focus on all the blessings that Austin brought to my life and all the joy we experienced together. Often it is very easy to feel overwhelmingly sad, and sometimes that is very necessary. But during the times when I focus on the blessings, I always feel grateful for knowing the great love we had. And that positive energy spills over into other areas of my life, which is never a bad thing.

    I'm happy for you that you're able to count the blessings right now. I hope it lasts for a while and washes you and your children with positive energy.

    Interesting comment "maybe we were meant to be together for this short time". I've been struggling with this idea lately, because it makes me so sad to think that we were only meant to be together as long as we were. We thought that we would grow very old together. But maybe that was never "the plan". And while this idea makes me cry as I type this, I hope that good things will still be in my future, and my sons' futures. I'm gradually learning to have hope in the future again. Scary!

  4. bev, Michael and I occasionally talked about my role in his life. He often worried that if I had been the one to have cancer, would he have had the strength, or ability, to do what I was doing. I often thought that conversations like that were not important. Rather than get caught up in what if's, we needed to focus on what is. I don't always think he realized how much he gave to me.

    wNs, as I was telling my therapist, I have been creating opportunities to talk to friends about how I feel. I am becoming more comfortable bringing up my feelings, and worrying less about others feeling overwhelmed by them. I find myself trying to catch my breath at times during the day. This often happens when thoughts of Michael take me by surprise. I coming to appreciate those moments, as they remind me too of what a central place he occupied in my daily life.

    Deb, maybe it's easier for me to sit eith the line of thinking that perhaps we were maybe meant to be together for a short time. Remember, Michael was diagnosed with his tumor after we had only been a couple for a year and a half. Most of our time together was when he was sick. And before I know it, the years will pass, and it will be longer than the time I had with him. Because of these factors, I am coming to accept that there was a plan here, and try to see the beauty in that.

    All of you, you had such wonderful husbands, and such loving relationships. How joyous to always have that.