There’s a strange phenomenon taking place in my house. It’s not a huge place. We always thought it was the perfect size, for two, and possibly a third. But I just realized, as I went upstairs to my office, that I hadn’t been up there in days. Maybe even weeks. It almost felt like I was walking into a stranger’s office…a half empty mug of coffee, dried up and hardened on the table, papers here and there, a poster had started curling off the wall. It looked abandoned. Un-lived in. Un-loved. It would seem that I’m only living in half of the house.
And then there’s the matter of the old calendar, stuck and spooling in the month of December. I can’t bring myself to take it down. While I know I should be kind and patient with myself, I can’t help but wonder about me, and my life, circling around in the twilight zone of last year. In this house, where rooms are half empty, half clean, a mess of his stuff and mine, some things have been moved, to accommodate some semblance of future as a single dweller, and some things, like the little bowl with two pills (one of the last things my husband touched) are practically cemented in place. Relics of another time.
It’s just one of the many ways of grief. You feel schitzo, splitzo. Stuck in a very uncomfortable pose, stretched between past and future, using all your strength not to go into a complete free-fall. Up against the go-get ’em slogans of our times: Change your life! Seize the day! Do you know what they tell you when you are grieving? Don’t make any big changes, lower your expectations, and don’t be surprised when friendships change. Really? I just lost my husband, now my friends, too?
Of course it’s not as simple as that, everyone experiences grief differently, but needless to say, it’s a confusing place to reside.
I really don’t know what I am going to do, with the house. Our house. My house. I struggle to get back into a routine of yoga, healing for my body, and I don’t know what I am going to do with my mental walls, either. The neglected rooms, the half decorated ones, the unfinished projects. Our unfinished life. I am trying to get it back into some sort of order. I dust off his desk, I put air in the tires of his truck, I have taken over “bird-feeder duty”, and was just rewarded by the visit of a gorgeous red cardinal and his mate. And, to be fair, to be optimistic, right next to last year’s calendar sits this year’s calendar, themed Yoga Dogs, though still unwrapped.
They just might have to live together for a while longer, the past, the future, in this precarious place, this shelter and prison, this half-occupied house, of love and loss.