Friday, February 19, 2010

Baby Steps.

I read the other day on a widow's board about a woman's concern that a year and half "out" she was no longer a neat freak, had little care for her appearance, was eating junk food and all she could do was get food on the table for her kids. She was wondering if her current state was something to worry about. What followed were seven to ten posts by women all experiencing the same thing. Any of them could easily have been mine. Recently, along with the usual grief which does not fade, I've been consumed with similar thoughts. (Alan interjection: Neat freak? OK, fine. Not that part. And I'm not eating junk food. But I really just care about what goes into Lily's body.) And although it is not a new problem with me, I now struggle with the push and pull of that horrible feeling of apathy coupled with the desire to reclaim bits of my former life that I miss. Much of me, on an intellectual level, is beginning to yearn for elements of earlier, happier times - whether it's seeing live music, going to a show, visiting a museum or just socializing. But the second I contemplate those, until now, nascent feelings, I slip back into the darkness and am immediately overwhelmed by those thoughts. Much of me is afraid I can't handle it. I have been to restaurants, surrounded by the living, and wanted to weep. I hear music over a speaker and it is overpowering - the thought of live music is absolutely frightening. I'm not sure I can bear it. I'm not sure I can let something so evocative into my soul in a public setting. It is a force to reckon with. As much as I loath my current appearance, there is little motivation to change it. I am inspired in spurts but find myself quickly weighed down with melancholy. Being apathetic over almost everything is staggering for someone who once felt so charged with life.

It is much easier to look at the world through Lily's eyes than mine.

Through her I see all that is good. We look at birds and dogs and trash and dirt and to her, it is all an exploration, a wonder. She is all smiles and she begins every day with an open mind and excitement. She is fearless, or rather, she is unaware of consequence. She nose dives off of the bed or couch, she climbs up things and falls down regularly, often crashing into things first with impressive impact. And usually she's up before I can even check for injury. I love her carefree abandon, adventurous spirit and busy nature. She is a study in motion. She makes saying yes to life look easy, and her enthusiasm is infectious. Unbeknownst to her, she is luring me back into the world. It is odd to feel, as the parent, that I'm the one that needs training wheels - but that is where I am right now. Unsteady on my feet, afraid of more sadness and I still feel in my heart like an animal that is desperately looking for it's lost mate. I know much of Alan is alive and well in our soon to be one-year-old creation and at times I feel as though bits of my soul mate are waddling back and forth in front of me; bag of goldfish in one hand, keys in the other. Just last week when Lily awoke, the first thing she reached for from her crib was a picture of Alan that rests above it. She took the photo in her hands, then placed it in the crib, adjusted it a few times against the rungs and then decided she'd bring it with her while she had her morning drink. Moments like that reassure me that he remains very much a part of our lives. How little she knows how reassuring she is. My pint sized dose of life affirmation coaxing me into the present, drawing me into the future.

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