Old Me, New Me
I found past pictures of me on my phone. Strange that I have taken a selfie around the same time every year. Old me from 2020 before the world flipped upside down. 2021 old me that was faking happiness because I thought that was what people wanted. Now I have 2022 me and that me is fighting to find daylight in the darkness.
Looking at 2020 the new me wants to tell her so much. Tell her to make him go to the doctor. Hold him tight and don’t let go. Fight for your love because losing it sucks. Hang on because the road is going to get rough.
2020 me still knew how to find her way out of the darkness. She was so happy. I miss that now. I miss knowing who I am. When I was lost I had him to find me and pull me safely through. Old me had everything until it all fell apart.
I remember the lost feeling back then, but I don’t think it was this bad. Maybe because I still had my grandma to help me find the light.
2021 me struggled so much to be better and for a while, I thought I was. My motto was fake it to you make it and that is what I did. Life got bearable but I still found the everyday grind hard to do. Old me and new me crashing into each other fighting for who I will become.
Then I bought the farm and life seemed like there was light again. But then more hits came and the 2022 version of me showed up.
And for the most part, I have been okay. I am not old me and there is no going back to that. New me is struggling with all the things going on in my life and not having my support person. I would do anything for a hug and a kiss on the forehead.
I wish I could have closure when I finally get the nerve to try and talk to his mom about his ashes and she told me about her plans for them before I got my chance. For months I have wanted to ask for some to plant in a tree urn but there was never a good time. One of my regrets was not keeping them.
I have taken a slow slide backward. Spinning out of the daylight into the darkness that consumed me the most of 2021. My best friend asked what she could do today. But there is nothing anyone can do I need to find my light. I need the new me to figure out how to let go of the pain and sadness.
I hope that next year when I look back at the previous versions of me there is hope for the future. That I still miss Matt but figure out how to live with his absence better. Not bawling my eyes out for hours in the night.
I am going to look for a therapist that specializes in grief therapy because I am not able to pull out of the darkness alone. Time has taught me when to seek help and that time is now. Pretending I am happy is not something I can do anymore. Pretending to be happy and okay drains my energy and leaves me exhausted and unable to sleep. In the past, I gave up on therapy but I think I am finally ready to give it a shot.
Dear Laurel, I have been reading your blog about the different grieving stages you are working through and just wanted to light a metaphorical lamp for to follow as you progress through the “empty alley” widows and widowers must continue to walk until they reach their thoroughfare where they get close to the end but not actually reaching it. Lost my husband in 2016 after he entered Hospice care. His poor body had been through the gambit of pain the past year as his body shutdown from the affects of agent orange in Vietnam. The end was coming and he was ready to go “home” to the light. We are Catholics and Tom had seen our parish priest plus my nephew Father Matthew came to see Tom at Hospice. Tom was very peaceful and was unresponsive the last two days. Our family surrounded him on the last day. I had trouble sleeping, eating and stayed in my bed for long periods of time. My Tom, my husband, my sweetheart and the father of my only child was gone. It was an emptiness that I wished no one had to experience. The first year I only wanted to join him but that was the depression talking to my body and soul. My family doctor gave names of grief therapists and so after that first year I made to a therapist. Our son handled well so he told me. Things set me off like so called “triggers”. Going through his closet was a bad experience and it took me days to move myself along. Didn’t attend my 50th class reunion because I didn’t want to be out amongst people at all let alone former classmates. Because my husband was in the US Army I had many letters from him when he was in Vietnam and when he was gone to an overseas assignment in Korea. The second, third, fourth years were not much better. The fourth year I lost my only sister, two of Tom and mine two best friends, Sandy, Dick and Roma. I felt like nothing was gone to get better. Covid hit and I was even more isolated and “our” cat “Spirit” died. It was like the last connection between Tom and I were severed completely on a spiritual level. We had rescued “Spirit” 17 years before and the 3 of us was always together in peaceful harmony. All of my grounding relationships were leaving alone on my own. My son was in Columbus and my brother worked a lot of hours. I waited six months and got an adult cat named Mister Boots. I begin to pray and read the Bible on a daily basis and started attending Church again; after all God was with me and will never leave me. I started healing best I could and got into my own routine renewing friendships with women I worked with. I tried to date but I unfairly compared them to my Tom. So it will be 6 years on August 23 since I lost Tom quickly followed by 4 special people and one loving companion, Spirit. I am as recovered, healed and on my path as much as I possibly can. Everyone has their path to follow after losing a loved one. We must bounce back and love those around us. I have not dated because it doesn’t feel like that is something I want. I still get “triggers” throughout my days and sometimes I give in and cry but Tom will always be in my heart and mind. That’s not going away. I wish you happiness and faith. Take your time and don’t try to ignore your feelings each day. Love, Connie