So here I am. Nearly 21 months later. Have I changed? Am I stronger? A different person? Maybe. Going through pain doesn’t make you stronger, it’s what you do about it.
In one of my smarter moves, I’ve taken on a room-mate. Not only do I get some money, but she feels like family. I no longer feel alone. And that takes the sting out of the tail.
That makes me feel guilty. On one hand, the pain hurts. And I want it over. On the other hand, if I no longer feel the pain as intensely, does that mean my love for Paul is fading? It’s like torture. Yay I feel better but boo because that makes me a heartless shit bitch. I’m a coward.
21 months on and I still have no idea what I want to do with the rest of my life — beyond travelling all I can. I’m being drawn to adventure/volunteer holidays. Can I do good and scuba dive? Hmmmm…
And there it goes again. Loathing. He will never get to see the sun again. No fish or ocean. Yet YOU are looking forward to it! Fuck you, if you are looking forward to something, you are a selfish bitch who is betraying her dead husband. He didn’t get to live – why should I? Because, shit happens.
I didn’t get cancer. I didn’t come from a family that is as cancer-prone as his. I didn’t drink the cheap wine he drank. He smoked longer than I did. And no, what his father said was untrue: I didn’t cause Paul’s cancer by pushing him to work too hard.
I get all that. I get that I deserve to live. No more than him or anyone one else, but not less than anyone else either. I am faced with two choices and I’m choosing to live. But that I am going to get to do things that he never did feels like I’m taunting him somehow. Like I’m showing off. I’m picturing a 6th Sense thing where he is all in green light watching me live like a starved man watching other people eat. If I were starving – I’d be far less jealous if I saw someone eating a hot dog than if I saw someone hoeing into a juicy steak. So when I have fun, I feel some sense that I’m hurting him.
Again, I can intellectually know this is all crap. If Paul were in the afterlife, he’d be cheering me on. Sometimes I imagine his voice in my ear saying – GO GIRRRL! I try to focus on those imaginings whenever green ghost Paul enters the stage of my imagination.
Wouldn’t it be ironic if Paul were a ghost trying to contact me? Considering what a dyed in the wool Atheist he was, that spiritual, afterlife stuff is really biting him in the arse because he pushed me further from Agnostic to Atheist. Maybe I should find a hippie chick to meditate me into some so-called spirit realms to find him and ask. I can see him doing that double take nod and eye roll as he said “Would you believe it?” and we’d both laugh. That would be great. But, as Spock would say, “highly unlikely”. So, back to the issue of living life to its fullest without guilt.
How to do that? Start, I suppose, by bringing up cheerleader Paul and banishing green ghost Paul. Maybe talk to them? Tell green ghost Paul he’s a lie? Asking cheerleader Paul to roust green ghost Paul?
I think mantras are typically suggested in these situations. What mantra? Paul wants you to be happy? Not sure. Wouldn’t that reinforce the idea that I need Paul’s permission to be happy when, in fact, he granted that to me as he was dying, our last truly private chat time together. Maybe “Remember, he wants you to be happy. ” It’s still so surreal sometimes. I swear if I opened my eyes and we were back in our home office and he was there shaking my arm saying “Sweetie, you fell asleep and had a nightmare!” – I would totally accept it.
So – back to my mantra. I’ll do it. Build new neural pathways and all that. Can never tell what harm a little sub-program like “If Kerry is happy – she’s a selfish bitch and should be punished” might do in the bigger brain — so I’d better get in there and re-route pathways.