How do you know when it’s time to change something in your life? Change is never a simple, straight-forward thing in ordinary life, but when grief has become your “ordinary,” everything becomes more complex.
Everyone has their own story about making major life changes in their grief. Some make changes immediately. Others stay put. Some don’t have much choice in the matter.
In the months before he died, Matt and I had been planning a major move, not just to another state, but to a wholly different region of the country. When he died, there was no way I could continue with our plans.
I knew I would eventually need to leave – there were reasons for the move, after all – but it took a long time before I could tolerate even the thought of moving.
As someone told me early on, slow things happen slowly. Only you can know when the time is right to begin tenderly exploring a change.
Writing without the deeply personal is not the whole story of grief. To give the whole story, to give as many handholds as possible in the steep climb of grief, we need to hear personal stories. Each Friday, I’ll post something from my own experience of grief and love. It’s an inside look at love, at grief, at life.
This week, a post from January 2012. It outlines the very first stages of my own process – beginning to wonder about my life, and where I might live it, now that I could not have the life I wanted most.
My step-son just left.
Not unusual for him to show up after work – he works third shift, so if the phone rings at exactly 7 am, I know it’s him. It has been so nice to have him here. He moved out of state very soon after his dad died, and in true 18 year old fashion, didn’t keep in touch very well at all.
I missed him. I prepared myself to live this life without him too – but we made it. He came back here this past summer, showed up relatively unannounced, carrying all his belongings, and looking for a job. He was going to move in upstairs here, but the landlords have been dragging their feet on renovations.
He has a great job now, and just bought a new car.
Today, however, he came over to tell me he’s moving out of state again, back to Virginia. I think it’s alright. I’m going to miss him again. He’s my buddy. My friend, as well as my kid. We talk about his dad all the time. We share so much.
But this post isn’t about him.
One of the reasons I have not let myself think about leaving here is that I can’t leave with him living so close. It would be weird for me to move when he had finally moved in upstairs. It would be strange to have waited so long, only to leave once he comes back and gets established here again. But with this news,
With this news, maybe I have to
Maybe I have to start thinking of leaving this place too.
no no no no. This is where we lived. He is everywhere here. I do not WANT a life without him in it. We lived here. I do not WANT a “next chapter” in this life.
I am not ready to move.
There is also Boris to think about. Here, if I leave for a bit, my folks are near enough to take him for a few days. I’d have to find a whole new person I trust that much, somewhere else. Boris is getting older, too, and while he may be perfectly fine traveling or adjusting to a new place, I don’t know that I have it in me to take that adjustment on without Matt here.
I also have visions of Bo and I just off on adventure, new places, new trips. We’d be fine, he and I, if we took off on adventure. It’s just fear and sadness that hold me back, bracing myself against any calamity, and then the sadness that ‘bracing’ is now part of me.
I inch a little closer to imagining our new life. And then I start to think about packing our home, about where the hell would I go anyway?, about change and distance, about more loss, about everything.
It’s all too much, so much. It’s too much to even wonder what could be.
What I know, what is and has been so quietly circling, is that this world has shrunk too small for me. There is no interest calling me; there is nothingness.
But with this news from my step-son, and with my job winding down soon, I think it is time – maybe to just start wondering.
Very very gently just start wondering.
How about you? How have you come to your decisions to make any changes in your life? Is it still too nauseating to even consider considering? Let us know in the comments, or send me a message. As always, I love to hear from you.