Since the time I last wrote here my life has changed. My husband of 50 years passed away, 20 years after having received a liver transplant. In that 20 years we dealt with other illnesses and drug-related complications, as well as many wonderful life experiences.
In the almost two years since Jim’s death, I have learned a lot – about grief, about friendship, about long term marriage and its gifts, and about how when your spouse dies, you feel like you are going to die.
I am coming out of that phase with some ideas and experiences that might be helpful. One is that you can’t rush or really “direct” the grieving process. It will be your process, not like anyone else’s. One thing that helped me a lot was a Grieving Through Art class I took from Kate at Heritage Hospice. I didn’t want to talk about how I felt, but those eight classes helped me express and get insight into my feelings. They also helped me understand that the feelings I had, both emotional and physical, were normal.
When I went to my dear family practice doctor last week complaining that I didn’t feel as fit as I used to, he reminded me about the book Younger Next Year, which Jim bought when it first came out 10 years ago. As I have read through the book, I have gotten back to regular exercise. I have also abandoned my holiday eating habits, fun though they were. As I told friends of mine last week, I exercise not because it will help me live longer, but because it makes me feel better that day. Unless I have overdone it, I feel fit, cheerier, and younger. Most of the time.
I’m already half way through Younger Next Year. It’s making me laugh and think about the benefits of exercise and eating well, as well as stoking my motivations. I recommend it for anyone who wants to get in an exercise routine.
I plan to write weekly. At this point, I think it will be about what makes life fulfilling, how we can creatively express and use our talents, and how we can make a contribution to our world. I hope you’ll join in the conversation.