Yesterday I was driving home along the river road when I suddenly realized I was feeling joy. The kind of joy I haven't felt in months. It caught me by surprise. Peggy told me this would happen, that I would gradually realize I was feeling happy some of the time. And I only cried twice yesterday. A vast improvement. I didn't want to write about it, afraid it might have been some kind of fluke. And, indeed, I woke up this morning feeling really sad. Cleaning out the chicken coop put that behind me. Hard work has a way of doing that. Then again this afternoon, running a ton of errands, I realized I felt "normal". Not necessarily joyful or even happy, but normal...as if some part of myself was back.
I have been cleaning up the house and I gave a great many of David's clothes to Goodwill today. Some that I could not part with, I put in the downstairs closet. And the favorites that he wore all the time have gone to a niece to be made into a quilt. It has taken me a week or so to do this, but it feels okay. The house is slowly changing from being so completely him to being something we shared and built but is now moving on to something new, something that is me alone. And that doesn't feel as impossible as it used to.
I miss him, I'm overwhelmed often, and I still don't seem to make it through a day without crying, but I am no longer immobilized. At least not today. If I have learned anything I have learned to not be surprised by any change of events or emotions. This process is a spiral that is definitely moving upward, but still can plunge me to the depths.
For awhile yesterday I felt guilty for feeling happy. But when I am quiet within myself I know that David would be unhappy if I was to live the rest of my life as a shrine to him. I suspect he would believe that the greatest measure of the love we had would be for me to move forward with that gift, fully, into the world again. So I continue to take one step at a time, hesitant for sure, but trying to stay open and willing. I try one new thing and see how it feels. How do I feel when his clothes are not in the closet? If it doesn't feel right I put them back for a while. I do this dance...what about this? how does this feel? Is it time for this? not yet? I took off my wedding ring yesterday and it felt wrong. For now, that ring is still a part of who I am and so I put it back on. I cannot get rid of anything in the shop. I suspect that will take a very long time. But I gave one of David's most beautiful boxes to friends. In gratitude for all they did for me, and David, during the last couple of months. And it felt like the exact right thing to do.
Thursday was the one month anniversary of his death. I sat quietly from 6:00 to 6:15, just being present. And I felt peaceful, sad, but peaceful. Deep deep breaths, it's all I can do. This is not a journey I ever wanted to take. My hope is that something in me will be better for it. I know I am better for having loved David.