One minute we were finishing dinner and enjoying a glass of wine and in the blink of an eye Larry had a massive stroke and died in my arms. Talk about the shock that comes with change, this was classic PTSD.
Suddenly things that mattered to me every damn day of the week were ripped to shreds and thrown into the wind. Grief changed my priorities and the things that mattered to me.
The world opened up and swallowed me whole. When it spit me back out, I did things because they were habit. I fed and watered the dogs, fed and watered the birds, I drank coffee and I lost 25 pounds. Eating wasn’t a priority. Cleaning the house wasn’t a priority.
I didn’t give a f*ck about much, certainly not what was going on around me.
I did read like a fiend though. I read everything I could get my hands on about how I was supposed to feel in grieving. Fortunately, I did not take to my bed and weep uncontrollably. No, I did all this research and doing it brought me value as to my new priorities and the things that truly matter to me.
I had set backs along the way. I have come to the conclusion that the most roller coaster set of emotions we will ever have to roll with are the ones that come when someone we love dies.
On top of all this emotional baggage comes those who say “you should” and “you need” and I call bullshit on any sentences that begin with either of those words. What I should have had happen and what I really needed to have happen was for Larry to walk back in the door, sit down and have another glass of wine with me. Anyone who even tries to put those words in front of me gets a look that freezes them to the core.
I made the decision to sell our house and move. You would have thought I had announced I was joining a commune in Tibet from the responses that were thrown at me.
I understand that rash decisions can be made in emotional times, my decision was not rash at all. The house was becoming a money pit. It was too big for me to care for and the yardwork was too much also. I put $10,000 into the house just to get it sold. It was paid off, the money was mine to use to purchase a home where I would have things taken care of for me, and it all turned out just fine.
I am not living where I dreamed, however I live where I am safe. I am living maintenance-free. I live with the freedom of not having to pay to have a new roof put on or pay to have the exterior of my home painted. I made it my castle, my domain.
Along the way ideas started to occur to me. Once my brain dialed back on the overwhelm it felt daily, I started to see possibilities for new priorities and new things that matter to me. I realized that I can travel, and in realizing that it came to me I could stay somewhere of my choosing for several months if I wanted to do that.
I am finally working on my book, Fractured. As I began to write it two more books that I want to write jumped out of my healing brain and have made it to sticky notes on a poster board that I keep hidden from my view to avoid distractions.
Then a relapse happened, and they will happen. Christmas brought a big one into my world. I wrote about it earlier this week. I am finally feeling like my new self again however the grief was exhausting. I was so exhausted I actually would go back to bed in the morning and sleep for several hours.
That was when I realized that I will not ever be alone during the holidays again. Strong words, I know, however I don’t have to be alone and I don’t want to be alone. It is easy to be alone, we all do it in our lives. In fact, it is sometimes really easy to be alone when the energy that we need to pretend to be alright is debilitating as mine was.
Over this past weekend I spent a lot of time researching places I can go next Christmas where I can be with people and raise a glass in kindness to mankind. I can do this because I know Larry will be right there with me smiling from ear to ear because he will be so proud of me.
I am not there yet but I am closer than I was a week ago and my priorities now are to make me happy. What matters to me is that I do what makes me feel good, not what other people tell me I should (there is that word again) do to make myself feel good.
2020 will bring new adventures, there will be relapses I am sure, I will wield my shield and deflect them as best I can, because I can answer that question I often ask on my #ThriveLive talks on Facebook Live. What matters to you(?) is the question. You see people don’t often ask me what matters to me. I usually write about it on social media, in this blog and in writing my book.
I matter to me, my happiness matters to me. Simple and direct answer, right? Tell me, what matters to you?