It is too soon to draw any conclusions about the healing process after Mary Ann’s Death. I am where I am, and I am not altogether sure where that is. There was a funeral two days ago. Pearl was a force to be reckoned with. She lived to be 88 years old and pretty much lived life on her terms. When we went to the cemetery afterward, the site was close to the site of Mary Ann’s grave. I went over to spend some time at that spot after the Committal Service. Pearl’s casket was the first I have seen using the Funeral Pall dedicated in memory of Mary Ann. I was pensive but not in pain.
I have been active since returning from New Zealand and Australia. There have been bills to be paid (an expensive trip, but worth it). My hair and beard have been trimmed back to pre-trip lengths. Groceries have been purchased. Clothes have been washed and put away (still camping equipment spread around the house).
I have come and gone to and from a variety of activities. As I have gone out and come back, there has been a hint of a feeling of normality – albeit a new normal and just a hint, but maybe it is a sign of healing. I have no clear expectation of what it might be like to experience healing. I am not so foolish as to think I will be free of grief at the loss of Mary Ann. In fact, I don’t ever want to lose access to that grief. Mother’s Day, Mary Ann’s birthday and the anniversary of her death will provide plenty of evidence that the grief remains and will never leave.
What seems to be happening is the grief is finding a place to reside in the new life that is emerging. It is a place that seems to be allowing the possibility of peace and joy – not fully there, but seeing signs of the healing.
Yesterday was spent driving a few hours west to an area called the Cheyenne Bottoms, a place for checking out birds of all sorts, at this time of the year especially shore birds passing through. Pr. Jim, Jeff and I studied the water and greenery for as many different species as we could spot. There were not a lot, but some that at least Jeff and I had never seen before. Pr. Jim (alias Bob) is a true birder, who actually knows stuff. I think we all enjoyed the day, although by the end of it, after leaving town at about 5:30am and searching for birds for many hours, we were very tired.
After returning home and changing clothes, I headed out for the First Friday Art Walk. That event is as much a time for socializing as it is for looking at the Art. There are also great snacks, often with wine to accompany them. It was good to see the variety of folks encountered in the six or eight different stops.
This morning was another very pleasant trip to the Farmer’s Market that has come to be a major community activity each week in this Midwestern City of about 130,000 people. There was local honey to be purchased, farm fresh eggs, Honey Oatmeal Bread, homemade granola. Then came the trip to Meier’s Market for a huge bag of freshly cut local Asparagus. I can practically live on that stuff when it is in season.
In the past few days, there have been some folks who told me that they have been reading the posts I wrote while traveling. One even suggested that I write a book. I suspect that my writing style is more fitted to blogging, free to all who care to read it, than a book with certain expectations for the quality of that writing.
I find it very affirming to encounter someone who has taken the time to read these attempts at describing in a reflective way the journey of the past two and a half years. While I don’t ever expect to lose completely the loneliness that comes with living by myself after having shared life with someone else intimately for 44.5 years, knowing that there is a connection to others as I sit and write does make a difference.