Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Visiting Familiar Territory.
I just arrived back from a visit with my parents. I decided to take the afternoon off from work, and make the two hour trip to have dinner with them. It was a very nice visit, but one that seemed to be pushing my emotional buttons now and then.
Being in my new home, and in my new city of San Diego, has buffered me from always having to face ghosts of my time with Michael. I needed to deal with my grief internally, and lessen the blow of the constant reminders of where we used to be. Visiting my parents, on the other hand, is filled with reminders of where we would sleep, sit, or dine, during our visits. It's also very odd to be sitting there, watching my parents go through some of the situations that I did with Michael during his illness. My mother is quite ill, and due to her pain medication, doesn't always have clear control of her thoughts. At one point she was sitting where Michael always sat in their living room, then struggled to get up to her walker, with my father right behind her. She suddenly had the presence of mind to make a joke about the indignity of being ill, and some of the unfortunate changes that go along with it. I found myself laugh, then tear up, as it was as if Michael was right there doing the same. Then as they walked down the hall toward their bedroom I thought to myself that this is not how life is supposed to be. I'm not supposed to be watching my elderly folks going through a stage that I have already passed through.
I was glad to have the living room to myself for a short time, as it allowed me to feel what I was feeling, then to regroup. When they did return, I felt comfortable to share some of this with them. It's a conversation that my father and I often have, as we have both been in the role of caretaker for our spouses for quite some time. It's also always nice that he ends these types of conversations reminding me of how much they loved Michael, and how much they think of him each day as well.
As I drove closer and closer to San Diego, I began to feel a bit of optimism. It was an odd sense of optimism in that I was missing Michael's presence in my life, yet also feeling so much appreciation for having him for the time that I did. It was also a reminder of how far I have come in my grief. I now have a new environment, where I can find solitude if I choose, and also a strong social group that keeps me busy with invitations to lunch or weekend dinners. I'm in a good place, and I appreciate that.