Good Grief?

I was told by a doctor in the days following Col’s death that I would  never get over the loss of him from my life. I didn’t understand that what that kind doctor meant was that my grief will always be with me but it would not always be as sore and raw as it was in those first hours and days. I wanted to fix myself and my life and sticky plaster it all back together so it could be what it once was. I didn’t want to hear that life would always have this pain of grief in it. The doctor was right and I was wrong. Life after loss is like waking up in an altered reality. Everything looks the same but you feel the whole world differently. People sound different. And you feel indifferent to much of what is said and happening around you because much of it is now trivial to you. For me the large shard of perspective that lodged itself in my head that fateful day that Col was ripped out of my life has made me focus on enjoying what I have and not spending life worrying over what I haven’t. It has also made me understand the pain of others’ grief.  Quite honestly before death darkened my door I didn’t get it. On hearing that a friend had lost a loved one I would have said “oh that’s sad, awful, terrible’ and I would ponder the unfairness of it briefly and then I would have moved on with my normal life. Not now and I wish I could give this new perspective to everyone. I want to give people a glimpse of how the world looks once you have lost love without them having to go through the pain of losing love. Perhaps then they would come close to understanding the pain of those of us wandering around this earth with those big gaping, unfixable holes in our lives and they may even forgive us for the little things, and big things, we haven’t managed to do or say rather hang on to trivial issues.  Instead of worrying that we are making decisions that we wouldn’t have made before, they might applaud us grievers when we use our pain and grief to propel us forward rather than stay static treading the deep waters of loss.
A fellow widow posted this feature Grief Intelligence: A Primer by Ashley Davis Bush from the Huffington Post on Facebook yesterday and it nails a lot of what I have tried to say in the first paragraph of this post. Fellow grievers read it and weep with the knowledge that finally someone has put ‘it’ into words and non grievers please read and try to understand us all a little bit better.

Decisions, decisions, decisions

I have been finding it more difficult to write this blog recently. Deep breath. It’s not because I have been wallowing in my grief at all. Yes there have been moments. There always are and always will be but…I am in a much happier place.  I know though, from the experience of fellow widow blogger Helen Bailey of Planet Grief, that many readers of my meanderings will not want to hear this at all…I have met someone new who has given me a glimpse of a future I never thought I could or would have post February 25th, 2012. It was a big decision to think about opening myself up to that possibility because I still love Colin, I always will, but I knew early on that I was not a widow that could stay alone for the rest of my life and I really don’t think Col would have wanted that either. Knowing that is one thing but the reality of ‘dating after death’, well that’s another completely.
I met Col when I was 25. I had no responsibilities. Neither had he. We had alot of fun and could make decisions on a whim. Fancy a holiday? Let’s book it. A night out? Of course. Food and drinks? Just us or with friends? We had no mortgages, we had good salaries and we had all the time in the world to enjoy each other. Or so we thought. This time around it has not been like that at all. And I am not the only one obviously who knows. Everyone has an opinion on my future it seems. I know it’s love and concern for me and my girls.  I know people are just looking out for me but I would like to point out that I am a fully fledged grown up and since Col’s death I have made some of the biggest, most important decisions of my life. So far most seem to be working out so I have started to trust myself more and hope that everyone who knows and loves me can do the same.
I am not all that bad at making decisions. I chose Col afterall. I knew he was the one for me so it wasn’t hard, of course. Becoming part of Nic ‘n’ Col ™ was the best decision of my life.  Now, however, that brand is broken. One half gone. And since it broke I have eeked out a new life for me and my girls day by day, making little decisions and big ones as I go. Weeping and wallowing along the way. Laughing and persevering too. I made a decision in the months after Col died that part of my future would one day have to lie in finding someone new because I just work better as part of a team. But that has meant the Nic ‘n’ Col ™ really is now in tatters. Or so it seems to the rest of the world. I know differently though. Col is here and keeps me ticking everyday.
Seeing me with someone else is hard for others. ‘What’s this? Why? Did she not love him enough to wallow for her whole life working the ‘poor me’ thing forever?’. No one will ever know how much I miss and love my love, but hey that’s my business. ‘Does she know what she is doing?’ Er not really but I have learnt life is a little too short to always play it safe. ‘Is she aware that there are lots of sharks out there all set to prey upon the the vulnerable, weeping widow and her many thousands in the bank?’. Hmmmm I may have shown a vulnerable side over the last 18 months but really most who know me know that I am no fool, so trust me and my instincts because I do. I don’t need everyone to give me the nod of approval on finding someone else but I do feel the need to tell those who care that I still the same Nicola who always made up her own mind on life and I will be OK. I know it because I am testament to that fact everyday. I am still here. And although Col is not, he is. He is here in my girls. I still make decisions based on the things I know he believed in or preferred. Everyday that I live and breath he is alongside me. And I know that he would be good with this because he loved seeing me laugh and being happy and made me giggle just when I wanted to scream and shout at the world. He wouldn’t have liked to have seen the depths of despair I have wept my way through over the last year and a half. He would, I am sure, be pleased to see me smiling again.
Happy I am but I cannot say that meeting someone new has not been without tears. It hurts me to see another lovely man with our girls sometimes. Of course it does. It should be Col throwing them up and getting their squeals of delight blasting through his eardrums. The new ‘C’ (I am not sure I want to blast his name all over my blog) understands that. He’s sat through the weepages. He’s sat silently knowing that he can never really understand how this feels. But he wants to. What else can he do? He reassures me. He tells me it’s an honour to be part of our lives because he has put himself in Col’s shoes. So I think so far moving on like this is a good decision. You can agree or disagree. I don’t really mind. What I do mind is that if somehow Colin were able to see us that he thought ‘good on you nic, you’re doing the right thing’ because no matter what, when it comes to decisions his opinion still counts, imagined or not. Love you forever Col. XX