Saturday, 11 February 2012

Finding my feet

Today is exactly  two and a half years since John's death and on a freezing, still only minus 4 degrees at 11,00 am, morning, it set me wondering what differences there may be on this Saturday from those that went before.

For one thing, the day being so cold would have elicited one and only one response from John, had I had the temerity to suggest we might actually go out and do something.

"Whatever for" he would have growled, "it's freezing, why go out if you don't have to?"

He was happy to sit at his computer, read, or watch TV (am or pm made no difference) and could and did go for hours without making a sound.

This was possibly the biggest difference in our natures.  His, taciturn and reactive, mine, volatile and pro-active.  Sometimes the cause of conflict but always an illustration of our uniqueness.

When we had somewhere to go, the boot was on the other foot,  John was all feverish activity, busy organisation and impatient "get a move on woman, we'll be late".  While I would simply quietly get ready and wait for the dust to settle, unmoved by the storm being created around me.

My mother used to say that we, (he and I), were chalk and cheese - never did find out which was which - and used to wonder, sometimes aloud, how we made our marriage work.

Well, the answer to that was in the question, we did 'make' it work.  This inevitably called for considerable compromise on both parts, and often left one or the other, sometimes both of us on the wrong foot.

John was I am now sure, often shaken out of his peaceful unadventurous lifestyle choices, and I was often left feeling bored and flat and disgruntled by his failure to respond to my wilder flights of fancy, but on the best of days, we could both laugh at our very individual and separate attitudes and happily settle for a middle course.

Since his death my whole existence has suffered a 'sea-change', and slowly little by little, the old Ray has begun to emerge from the fog of bereavement, loneliness and change.

Late, very late, in the day, distant aims and ambitions are beginning to re-emerge, old interests slowly climbing out of their boxes and a very different person from that of the past 40 years is starting to show signs of life.

That is not to say that the past 4 decades have been wasted, simply that what I have learned in that time can now be added to my pre-marriage experiences and the combined collection of trial and error, successes and failures, happiness and misery turned to good use (I hope).

When John died I believed that was the end for me too.  I didn't think there was any possibility of any kind of satisfactory life left for me.

It was quite a surprise to discover that religion, which I had thought to be closed to me for ever, was a new and wonderful path to investigate, and that music which I had also thought beyond all hope of resurrection in any active sense, was also still available.

Of course there are far more things of which I have no experience  than the few I have mastered, but that too is a challenge and is full of possibilities for exploration.

The blog has been, and is still, something I really enjoy and which I regard as a form of therapy, though my IT skills are still in their infancy (and of course, I have yet to even begin to use my Ipad), but it has opened up a whole new world and one I would not want to lose.

So in summary things have changed dramatically from my perspective, though the world at large would probably see little or no difference, but I am beginning to find my feet.


  1. Glad you are having some good positive thoughts Ray, I look forward to hearing more of the things you discover and rediscover. Blogging has certainly been a sort of therapy for me too x.

  2. You do sound more positive - and, for all the cold weather, spring is just around the corner. It is so hard to cope when a spouse dies, and you are right, you don't just lose them but also your own identity as part of a couple. Glad things sound much better, it is always a long road.

  3. You sound as if you are doing very well and allowing yourself to develop and emerge from a very sad time. This can be so difficult and painful, but you've allowed yourself to grieve and to gather strength at the same time and that is a wonderful thing. Positive thinking breeds more positive thinking and that can only be a good thing. God bless...

  4. A very thoughtful and important post, Ray, not least in showing you how far you've come since John died. So glad that this old yet new Ray is starting to rediscover her old interests and talents and find new ones. Personally speaking, I'm glad one of the new ones is blogging. :-)

    PS We're another chalk and cheese couple in many ways and yes, it does work very well.

  5. isn't it wonderful to "find your feet" Ray...since Don died I've been traveling a similar path to yours. And have discovered similar truths...I can be me and in no way diminish the we that Don and I were. For me it has been rediscovering my art...!!!

  6. Hi Jane.
    Thanks for the comment. Yes, I think blogging as therapy may well have a place in future counselling courses.

  7. I'm glad to sound a little more upbeat, it's been a long time coming.
    You're right about the loss of joint identity. Somehow it feels almost wrong to be seeking to be an individual again.
    Onward and upward!

  8. Thanks for the support Perpetua. It's always good to hear that one's meagre efforts please at least a few people.
    Glad you understand at first hand how the chalk and cheese thing can work.

  9. Yes, and well worth discovering if I may say so Theanne.
    It is time well spent I think.

  10. Thanks Broad. Not too sure about the amount of strength gathered, but it is a slow process so can hope to see some improvement.

  11. I can't help but think of how Spring has followed the Winter of your heart - a Winter brought on, no doubt, by such a large & terrible loss. I cannot imagine how I would look at things were my Terry (hubby of 46 years) to bow out now.

    Looks to me like you've found a whole lot more than your feet.

  12. I hope you're right Kathleen.

    At least there is daylight in my life now, if not yet quite sunlight.

  13. A wonderful post, Ray! One of my favorite passages from Isaiah says, "See - I am doing a new thing! Now it springs forth - do you not perceive it?"
    That new thing is you.

  14. Thanks Penny, for the comment and the quotation (one with which I am actually familiar for once).
    Sometimes it takes the perspectives of others for us to see where we are.