Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Rose Colored Glasses?

Photo by Shot of Whimsy Photography, Austin Texas

What do you see when you look at this picture? I see love, fun, teamwork, happiness. A couple of years ago this picture, as happy as it is, would have made me sad. I would have seen sadness, loss, something missing. Unexpectedly, I am finally able to see what is there instead of always focusing on what or who is not. It's huge. It also happened without me noticing the subtle difference.

I didn't want it to happen, or at least parts of me didn't. Big parts of me were resistant. I didn't want to anticipate the future. I knew one thing for certain about the future - Daniel wasn't going to be there. What else did I need to know but that? If that was the lure of the future...I could resist for a very long time. I wasn't resistant to the present though, G is here...that's a big draw. I was fine with the present, I could take it one day at a time. The future on the other hand...the future was a black endless place with no certainty and no promise of happily ever after. Talk about having your illusions killed...when you watch your husband die at 35, life takes on a different color. The light is gone and blackness takes it place.

Until it doesn't. I think Janine wrote about life being shades of gray as she came out of the inky blackness of grief. I think the gray was my envelope for a few years until the colors started to seep back in. A few hues each month until suddenly a faded palette was there. Not vibrant, but softly colorful nonetheless. I noticed. It was good.

I think with my move back to Austin in 2009 the last pieces really started to fall into place. I was home. I felt it in my bones and it felt right. For the first time in a few years, I felt really good - healthy in mind and body. I'd like to say I felt like the old me, but the old me doesn't exist anymore. I felt in touch with the new me in a way I'd never felt before. Life was colorful again and the future looked maybe not bright, but at least possible.

It's been about a year and a half since then, and the trend has continued. Maybe it isn't so much the 5 years since Daniel died, maybe it's also the 40 year mark. I know who I am and I know what I want in a way I never have before. I've heard people say that you finally understand yourself in your 40s. Maybe it's true. Whatever the reason, 5 years or 40, I like it. It feels really good.


  1. I'm working my way to this state of mind everyday...and yes it does feel good!

  2. Forty feels good and fifty brings a wisdom that seemed to flip into overdrive for me at 51 when my only sister died.

  3. Michelle, I understand how the pictures in the beginning were painful- I could not look at them either- it just reminded me how much I lost- in the last three weeks I have looked again at them and now can smile at the happy moments- I realize now that GOD has blessed me with the ability to have not only 1 great life, but now a second- I am going to make the most of this second one, if its single or married- but know I will have a good one, because the colors in my life are bright!

  4. This is a post filled with hope. It's so important to hear from people who are successfully moving forward, gives us readers an incentive. My challenge has been sticking to a routine (which was blown away when my husband passed). Having no children in the home (grown up) takes away the reason to cook decent meals, take care of oneself properly, etc. If anyone has any tips on motivation, I'm listening.

  5. Hi - I am in the same position. My children are grown and I retired early (at 50) so I find that the days just come and go since my husband died. I decided a month ago I had to stop staying up until one, two, three a.m. and to try to establish a regular life of some sort. Now I make myself go to bed by 11:30 and even if I don't sleep (the norm) right away . . . I read or write but I still get in bed. I get up at six thirty a.m. and I work out. At least in that way the day starts and ends with some routine. I was always an enthusiastic cook but now I find I rarely make a meal for myself. So, I make sure there are healthy things available that are quick - yogurt, fruit, fresh orange juice, tuna and salmon and every week I buy a small bouquet of fresh flowers. . . I have started accepting my friends offers for lunch and dinner as both a way to stay connected and take care of myself. A friend who was a counsellor years ago told me in AA they said " never get too tired, too hungry or too lonely" she said the same thing can be applied to the grieving. . . We are at risk for health and emotional problems like depression if we dont take care of ourselves.
    I am trying everyday (despite the deep grief and the crying) to stop and breathe, even if it is just to pause and look out the window and take in the scenery. I joined yoga and have found the weekly class to be calming and the first night I had a class I slept the first 8 hours in a year and a half.
    Small steps - this blog has helped so much . .. to know others are out there struggling where we were and like a light in the dark, lighting the path. Thanks to everyone.

  6. Thank you so much, anonymous for your tips! It sounds like you have really gotten a grip on it. I will follow your lead and really appreciate your response! Meals have been a challenge, I cooked for my family every night for years, and did OK for a little while after, because I did not want to become the way I have become! And get really mad at myself when I eat fast food, had not done that in years. You have given me inspiration. Thanks for reaching out to me.

  7. Nice, happy, inspiring post. We need all kinds of glasses at different stages cause vision changes. Feeling good is good.