Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Borg, alone

It's two and a half years since my husband died and I've done a lot of growing in that time. I hope in this blog both to describe my experience of the process of getting through the grief process and also the baffling (and sometimes hilarious) experience of being single in middle-age. Hmm - awkward balance, that. But then so is life. I'm hoping that loads of people in similar positions will comment and add their experience to the blog. It's always good to know that you aren't alone when you discover that you have forgotten where the stop cock is (surely you used to know. It can't be in that many places. Where the hell is it?, you yell, as water gushes from that burst pipe), or that you have absolutely no idea how to get a date, never mind how to behave on one, you've been out of practice for so many years.

So I thought today I'd kick off with a simple thing. As I was packing up my bottles and paper to take to the recycling depot this morning, I remembered that doing this chore was an event worthy of a diary entry and a big gold star in the first months after the Golfer (my late husband) died. Seems daft now, and the job is (almost) routine now, but I wondered why I could possibly have found it challenging in the early days.

I think I've figured it out. When he was still alive, whenever I did a job like that - filling up the car with petrol, doing the recycling, going on a long journey - simple, routine things, I always knew that if anything went wrong - if I got to the garage and I had forgotten my purse, if I leaned too far and fell into the recycling bin, if a got a flat tyre - then he, the wonderful man, would be there to get me out of my pickle (or my recycling bin.) That is why the smallest, most trivial task becomes a worry and a trial once you are widowed (or divorced, I guess) - there is no longer anyone there to pick you up if you fall on your face.

And that is one of the biggest and most fundamental tasks of the grief process - learning to survive being separated from the entity that was you-and-your-husband. I felt like Seven of Nine (though without the skintight suit) separated from the Borg. It is hard

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