Life begins…again

The change has been breath-taking. Little more than three months ago I lost the love of my life. Ila’s passing left an enormous hole in my heart and my life. Merely calling it “grieving” is an insult to the nearly sixty years that we loved and held each other, living life, rearing a family and knowing what each other was thinking without saying.

Nearly eight years ago, Ila fell ill with what may well be the worst malady of our times. Losing ones  mind and appetite for life is a tragedy that leaves those watching and caring with a feeling of helplessness and a progressive loss of hope.

Good friends, loving children, religious support and bereavement groups do much to soften the sense of loss and emptiness that fills the hours. The silence of the home is heavy and slow. Time seems to stand still. Music of any genre is a welcome respite from the quiet that envelops me. Phone calls from strangers who would otherwise be unwelcome break the monotony that depresses. I say always say “yes” to “would you like to…?”

And then, gradually, life returns and starts to normalize. People begin to look at me without the sympathy that formerly preceded a chance encounter. I try to fill my hours with an appetite that recognizes that the way out of sadness is paved with a renewal of old activities and an adoption of new ones that were never considered in a past life. Rough edges give way to periods of happiness. Accompanied by a feeling of guilt that says “is it too soon to be happy?”

Funny how things happen. Out of the blue and without warning.  A lovely woman, caring about my loss, suggests that a yoga class might help to work through the darkness. And maybe a hike would be a way to fill the time. And lunch would be a good idea to help replace the pounds that were lost due to an absence of the pleasures of eating. And slowly a relationship develops with her that both recognizes my loss and offers a new sense of being alive.

Suddenly Jackie is an indispensable part of my life. Hours are spent marveling about my luck.  I continue to attend the bereavement group and I incessantly ask if it’s ok to feel alive again. “Maybe you’ve spent enough time in purgatory” becomes a mantra. “How much time do you want to spend before embracing what has been delivered to you by fate, God or happenstance?”

So life has returned with a vengeance that leads me in directions never contemplated. Jackie has shown me the way and I grasp it and her with an urgency that recognizes the indisputable passage of time. I devour it and I’m happy.

 

2 Responses to “Life begins…again”


  1. 1 Sally December 1, 2017 at 6:47 am

    Thank you, Fred. For showing us you can be happy even when that seemed unthinkable. I’m so glad you’ve realized the fallacy of “it’s too soon to be happy.” I miss my cousin, but feel that Ila would definitely applaud your rediscovered happiness. Love you!

    Like

  2. 2 Victoria Berrey December 7, 2017 at 11:14 am

    Hello Fred. I looked you up to see how you are faring with the fire nearby. Hope your home is safe.

    I was so saddened to learn about Ila. I remember you and Ila fondly at all the FRA parties this time of year. I always loved that you called her ‘my sweetie’.

    I am still living in Valencia with my husband and two sons (now 21 and 18). Life changed! I now work at CSUN managing grant programs for families who have children with disabilities.

    My best to you, Nancy and Kevin. Happy Hanukah!
    Vicki (Bown) Berrey

    Like


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