Grief and Guilt, Joy, Being Alone and Enjoying Oneself

So, are you saying you are glad to be by yourself…glad to be alone, glad to not have to always be considering the person you are married to, in a relationship with, glad to be able to do what YOU want, when you want, how you want?

I just want to make sure I am hearing your words correctly. It is sometimes difficult to pick up the tone from written words. I just want to know that I am understanding clearly what it is you are saying.

I loved Emilee, but I do not think either of us was truly happy in our relationship before she got sick. I probably should not go into this until I am sure I heard you correctly, or you may think of me as a monster, as no other words seem to come to mind at the moment.

We had some issues. She had a complicated history. In some ways I am, …. Make that in quite a few ways, I am freer to be myself now. I am a creative, expressive person and I had become very shut down emotionally and expressively. I am free to explore who I am and who I want to be for the time I have left on this plane of existence. I feel more free, and this is for the first time in many years. It would not have happened if Emilee were here.

That evokes feelings of guilt, as well as disgust, as well as joy and a sense of breathing for the first time in a long, long time. Quite a mix. Joy must win out, but I had to express the dark feelings and the self disgust as well. Once I was able to speak of it out loud, it was a much smaller dark cloud.

I still feel the grief stuff, I still cry, but some of the tears come from being opened up by the grief, and my emotions seem much more accessible now. And, my relationships are evolving.

Example, my son gave me a hug yesterday, no, it was this morning. I had stayed over at their house on Long Island, and was up early, and he was getting ready to go to work, and he gave me a hug, and whoooosh the emotions overtook me and I started to cry. I think I just felt his love, and I feel that more now…I feel closer to him now…much closer, another difference since Em has passed.

Maybe that was a piece of the emotions. I am changing. I was more distant with my sons before. I feel much closer now. I was also reading something a few moments before that made me teary. But it doesn’t matter. I am comfortable crying in front of them, even with my two year old granddaughter.  I showed her the picture of her and her (at the time one month old) brother with Mimi (Em) a few days before she died.

We talked about Mimi, and that Mimi is in heaven, Mimi died, and she repeated much of what I said with shorter words…she said Mimi died. I told her that we carry her in our hearts, and I touched my heart and said that is where Mimi is now, in my heart and her heart and all our hearts.

Yep, that got me crying again. My granddaughter didn’t seem to mind (she is two, but I think her soul has been around awhile longer than that). I like talking to her about Mimi.

Well, I love being with them. I feel so comfortable, at home, with them, and with my daughter-in-law’s parents too. The barbecue was at her parent’s house yesterday. I am glad I went. I had a really enjoyable time there. And I helped in the kitchen, and wherever. I even cut the rack of ribs. Me, the non-meat eater, somehow managed to cut the ribs nicely. Must be the anatomy background. I enjoy the people and myself when I am there.

I am home now, back in Connecticut.

So….. now that I said all this, let us see if I completely misread what you said to me… or not.

And, exactly what is the breakthrough that you are referring to?

And stop editing yourself so obsessively……….just (ooops…almost cursed here…lol) type it all out…..let it spill on the page, change it, fix it, alter it, amend it, or not, as it comes out on the page,….. say…. Let me rephrase that or no….that isn’t quite what I want to say….what I think I am trying to say is ……..   you know?  Just let it out, let me feel some of your thought process…… take me along with you on a little of the inner journey in your head and your heart…… don’t worry if it isn’t exactly right or perfect or clear ….

See if you can share some of the in between stuff with me, rather than be concerned about presenting your succinct conclusions…. Sometimes in the sharing of the many times you are falling down and getting up in the development of learning how to walk, we may both learn something. Sometimes, as your canoe tips and takes on some water as you negotiate some turbulence, some rapids, some swirling confusion, you share some of the struggle, and I can relate to struggle, most people can. Life is a struggle, but there is also joy in the struggle, at least there can be. And we share a lot of similar struggles.

I have a stuffed animal, a boyd bear named Winnie. She was Emilee’s. She likes to entertain, waving to children, blowing kisses, offering high fives. I took her on the trip to Long Island. There is more story to her, but for now, she sometimes helps me bring joy to kids, some adults. I walked around on the ferry engaging a lot of the children, and it was fun. Most of them thought it funny and cute. Some of the adults got a kick out of it, some weren’t sure how long I had been out of the funny house.

Improvisation 101, or how to engage with 100 strangers. I had fun. Sometimes I like to perform, and make people smile.

Okay. I will take my medication BEFORE the ferry next time.  LOL, I don’t take those kinds of meds.

Good night.

Neal Klein
Life After Emilee, on the loss of my wife to pancreatic cancer. I’m not accepting comments right now but please feel free to get in touch via my Contact page.