Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The (Not Quite) Agony and the (Nowhere Near) Ecstasy

I haven't blogged here much the last month. I have been so miserable I haven't wanted to inflict it on anyone. I would never have believed that I could still be feeling this screwed up nearly three years after the Golfer's death, but I am. In fact, I feel worse now than I did at the beginning. But that is a good sign, at least I hope it is.

In the first couple of years, I was focussed on surviving, proving to myself and the world that I could manage on my own. There were lots of new things to learn, new challenges and also, let's be honest, the novelty of having no-one to answer to. I didn't have time to think about the reality of it all. Hell, I didn't let myself think about the reality of it all. Now I find I am beginning to thaw out, I'm raising my head for the first time in three years and I'm saying "Shit! How the hell did I get here? I don't like this. Can I go back now please?"

In this respect, I don't think my situation is much different from people who have been through divorce. It's the same feeling (I would think) of a life plan torn up and of the unpalatable choice of starting out all over again or of clinging to what is left of the old life. Neither is appealing.

For the first time since he died, I have been ill. That doesn't help the mood but, more importantly, it feels as if my body is telling me that it's had enough of all this bravery and stiff-upper-lippedness and that it wants to have a damn good tantrum.

All this seems to be heralding a new phase in my life. I am, for the first time, unbearably lonely. After two years of my house being my safe haven, now it feels like a prison, and a pretty sad one at that. I'm only really happy when I'm with other people. I even found myself crying when friends went away this weekend. (I have rarely cried since he died.) And I'm back with a counsellor - mainly because I'm scared that I'll cover up all this new pain as I am used to doing, and I don't think I should be doing that. But this is all good, I am certain. I think it marks the end of my grief process (or at least the beginning of the end) and the re-emergence of a Puddock, blinking as she steps back out into the sunlit lanes of society. I hope so!

I'm still not at all certain that I want to leave behind those thirty years that I spent with the Golfer. I'm not sure how you move ahead into another path, into new relationships without nullifying the past. It's going to be an interesting next few steps, that's for sure.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Taking the Plunge

Well, after nearly three years of widowhood, I have finally snapped. I seem to be a different person. I am fed up being lonely and cannot bear the thought of another thirty years of isolation and ever-increasing loopiness. I WANT TO BE NORMAL AGAIN!!

So I have taken the plunge and joined a dating agency. Who'd have thought it? I certainly wouldn't until last week.

I think (I hope) that it's a good and normal thing to want to do though. All I know is that I don't want to spend another day, never mind the rest of my life, alone. So what happened?

For the first two and a half years after the Golfer died, the grief was all about him. It was a mixture of sadness at the life he wouldn't have; and guilt that I would carry on living; it was partly a kind of loyalty to the Puddock/Golfer tribe - he might be gone but we'd keep things going; and there was an overwhelming feeling that I had had my go at love - I had had my throw of the dice at 18, fallen in love, filled a house, I had done the raising kids bit, it was just bad luck that our go had run out early but I just had to accept it and live with the consequences. I don't know where this thought came from but it was at the bottom of everything I did these last thirty-odd months. I behaved, I guess, as if he had gone away on a particularly long business trip, and I had done what I usually did when he went away - I had done my best to be brave and fill my time productively. Then - bam! - out of nowhere a voice in my head began yelling - "This is not enough! I'm drowning here. I'm invisible and I'm drowning."

It is as if my body has got fed up waiting for my brain to come to its senses and is giving me permission to risk being happy again. I'm feeling grotty and I know it's down to stress and loneliness and frustration. All my symptoms disappear when I'm with friends or busy. The house, which was a refuge for me in the early days, I never felt lonely here, now feels like a prison. Yet all the time my brain was plodding along with the plan. But the body has won out - it made me feel so ill and so depressed that I knew I had to do something. And first order of the day seemed to be to at least meet some men. Second order of the day is to move away from this unhappy place and third order is to find a new career but first things first...

So I've done it! I don't expect to meet the second love of my life but it will be lovely to have male company again, even if it's just coffee and a chat. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Two Paths in a Wood

I've been reviewing my situation, as Fagin said in the movie, and I've come to the conclusion that I have a choice to make. I've been dashing around in ever diminishing circles with one mad idea after another and, frankly, I'm dizzy.

As I've written about here before, when the Golfer died, it happened at practically the same time as my only child trundled off to University. Shortly after, I closed down my little business for various reasons but mainly because it chained me to the house answering the telephone, which isolated me even more than I already was. Consequently I became a widow, an empty-nester and unemployed pretty much all in one fell swoop. I was so busy being brave about it all that it's only now, nearly three years later, that the whole hideous truth is beginning to dawn on me - hence the dizziness.

As I've also written about here recently, I have suddenly begun to want to be in male company again. As I've thawed out, I've realised all the normality of everyday family life that I've lost, and I miss it terribly. I can scarcely bear to be in the house now because it reminds me how alone I am.

Obviously this cannot go on, so I've been trying to think of the best way forward. I've had a brilliant and dynamic new idea every day, and every day the previous one has looked ridiculous. I am now a very confused Puddock.

I realised today that part of the confusion stems from trying to achieve two totally different things - following both the paths in the wood, in fact. Part of me wants, more than anything, to share my daily life with someone again. But I also want to find a new purpose in my life. Living in the middle of nowhere, in a part of the country famed for its reserved people, makes it kinda difficult even to meet people, never mind find a twin soul. So plans to cope with this have included moving to a city - Edinburgh, say, going on a course that will get me meeting interesting people, or finding a job that will do the same.

But is that all I'm looking for in life - a bloke to make it all better?