This is not really to be a dark post, I hope.
Over the past months, since Gom died, I have had much time to dwell on the subject. It seems my mind got trapped in a timewarp, and I was unable to stop re-running our lives together in the past.
The reality of his having gone, and never coming back, was too much for me to accept, somehow. My whole life seemed to be meaningless, and platitudes such as those given by well meaning friends and professionals, held no comfort. In fact they only seemed to rub salt into wounds I could not bear.
To try to make this lighter, I have interspersed it with some meaningless~or maybe not so meaningless~ pics.
So, if you dont feel like reading, just look at the pics. They represent life, and fresh hope.
I am a great lover of herbs, and most of my meals contain some of one type or another.
On with the thoughts of Death.
When my mother died, fifteen years ago now, I felt I could never recover from my loss. Of course, you never do 'recover', you just learn to live with the loss and the grief. Your mind adjusts to the fact that the person is no longer here. Her memory lives on inside me, and I hear her voice daily, and often see her face.
Before her death, I was lucky enough to be able to stay with her and take care of her at her home. She had had a dread of a 'Home' or Hospital, and so we enjoyed much time together, talking of old days and reminiscing about family and our life events.
When she got closer to dying, (though I did not realise at the time how little time she had left,) she began to have a series of dreams. I will not retell those dreams here, but I know they brought her great comfort ~and indeed, wonder, about death. Like me, she had been an Atheist all her life, but somehow the dreams would appear to contradict her beliefs. I know there is an explanation, but I won't discuss that here.
She began to retell the story of her life, she told me, and wondered if she was keeping me awake at night, with her voice. She said she retold her school days, and her life with her brothers when they were children. She told stories of her beloved father and mother, and I do believe she moved on as the timeline of her life had moved on.
I did hear her talking, but had not realised it was the story of her life, she was telling, or I would have gone to listen. Much of her life had been very sad, and her joyous patches mostly revolved around her family, children, and later, her grandchildren. Many of her heartaches involved family too, as they do in everyone's lives.
This is some delicious Smoked Salmon Bruschetta, prepared at home by my son. I made the balsamic reduction, for the dressing, and it was delicious. Perhaps not a 'delicious' looking dish, but it tastes divine. We use some basil and a little mint to add some zing.
Now, I come to Gom's passing. I thought I could never come to any sort of peace about his death. In the days before he died, he began to reminisce about 'the old days' and of our time together throughout the 45 years of our marriage. Occasionally I would become a little impatient, but then I began to be fearful, as I remembered my mother re-telling her life.
We had thought we had more time left together, but I wonder if some deep part of Gom knew that he was going, sooner, rather than later.
I still have patches of denial, I still have patches of almost unbearable grieving, and I know I always will. I have been lucky to have had a wonderful counsellor, who seemed to just lift a lot of my deep dark thoughts from me. I am not sure how, but we even had some deep laughs, in the course of our couselling sessions.
My son also convinced me to begin swimming, or Hydratherapy, really. I have found it astonishingly good for both my knee, and my spirit. At first I could not bear to talk to anyone.
I was asked if I would like to join the Arthritis Foundation. I recieved a very startled look when I said, emphatically, "No Thanks".
I am a non-joiner, and have lived long enough to know that that is OK. I have been that way for all my life, and am happy not to change now.
I don't want to stand waving my arms about above my head, like some gangly leafless tree! I dont want to do chicken clucking motions with hands in my armpits.
I am very happy, and well, doing my regular exercises for my knee, which have been so beneficial, I wish some bl**dy doctor had suggested it right from the start, after the operation.
I find I can now bear to talk to other swimmers, doing their exercises, and have even been told by a 'trainer,' or physiotherapist, that I give myself a good workout, and am doing well.
A gentle sunset, which preceded one of the most lovely days of summer we have had. It was a nice weekend, with rare sunshine, and lovely warm temperatures, without the horrible humidity.
I know I will always grieve over Gom.
I do wonder at the human spirit which somehow craves to live, even when all seems impossible.
I do wonder at the strength which seems to come from nowhere, to help us perhaps, begin to live on.
I have even done a little cooking, and now... hope to sew again!
Rufus Wainwright, Across the Universe.