I Have Been Hiding.
These past few weeks have been emotionally hard for me. People always say it is the holidays, I don’t really think so. Sometimes there is no reason why feelings appear. I don’t really think they need to be defined. Emotions just are. I am not so fond of the ones I have been feeling. I prefer to think I am progressing and creating a next phase of my life. Yet I admit to wallowing in the past couple of weeks. I have been missing companionship. I also am missing having Jim physically in my life. He always thought and felt I was a good person and I miss having someone support me in this manor. I know that in my growth I should be able to support myself, however, having someone love you and see you whole in their eyes is such a marvelous thing. I am missing that at this moment.
When Jim first died I was busy and I chose to continue to be busy most of this past year. Now I am not so busy and I feel that this is allowing my emotions to come forward. Sometimes it just takes time. At the same time I am doing OK. I am not curling up behind closed curtains. I am just laying low. I think that is OK.
I have been thinking a lot about what I need from strangers, my friends, my family and myself. Having gone through breast cancer (being the patient) and Jim’s cancer (being the caretaker) I have been asked what others can do for me. This is such a huge question.
What I really think I need and what I intend to do to help others when they are going through anything hard in their lives is to say “I am sorry you have to go through this. What can I do to help?”
Here is one of my lists of things I never need to hear again.
- Any story about anyone’s cancer, especially the stories that resulted in death.
- Having someone tell me my HMO is terrible. Both Jim and I have had wonderful doctors and really appreciate the loving kindness so many showed us within the system.
- Don’t tell me that if Jim had gone to another medical center he might still be alive. Really? (this one came from a woman who was in the midst of the treatment for metastatic cancer)
- I don’t need to hear how horrible the treatments are for cancer. The old wives tales can be horrible. No one responds the same to the individualized treatments for cancer.
- “He is in such a better place now.” “He is no longer suffering.” How does anyone know this? This does not help.
- “God called him home.” This another really? moment. Jim was an agnostic in this case how could God call him home.
- Don’t always ask how I am doing. From moment to moment it changes, just like everyone else.
- Don’t keep asking me to tell the story of my bout with cancer or Jim’s. It is painful at times and I want to move forward.
Now the list of things that have been helpful to both myself and Jim.
- Anyone who took us out of what we were going through. I have not told you about all of Jim’s running buddies (Barbara, Henry & Brian). These three people were so caring & beneficial for Jim and myself. They treated both of us normal when we all knew the situation was anything but normal. Keeping our normal routines alive helped so much.
- Ask me how my life is going, not how I am doing? Gossip is great. Let’s admit it, we all do it.
- In the midst of misery ask me to go do something normal, play a game of scrabble, go to a movie, take a walk and anything else that is normal.
- If anyone is feeling overwhelmed bring them a pot of soup, clean their house, and just love them.
- When I was in the hospital with Jim, friends would check in on the cat…that helped me not worry about her.
- The most important thing is to pay heed to how I am doing now in my life. Friendships will bring me out of my current sorry state.
Lastly, I wanted to tell you what I did over Thanksgiving. My friend, Nancy and I took my cute RT to Pinnacles National Park. First we went to Pismo Beach and had Thanksgiving Dinner at the SeaVenture Resort, right on the Ocean. It was beautiful and filling.
We spent three nights at Pinnacles National Park.I didn’t even know about this park. It is remote and striking in the middle of so much that is urban. It is close to King City & Monterey. We hiked into caves & around the peaks. there was no internet or cell phone reception and it was so great to have time out. I love beautiful country and being remote. I also love my RV when it is 30 degrees out. I am getting used to this kind of hiking.
In November, I posted on my facebook page 30 days of what I was thankful for. Sometimes it was hard. It makes me aware that I don’t always take the time to remember thankfulness and feeling grateful. I would like to think that I may be a little more aware now. Right now I feel a need to be vigilant with these feelings and wait for them to incorporate into my every day life so they become a part of it instead of the exception.
Right now, I am thankful, for this blog, for my friends, for my readers and my family. All of you give me strength and for that I am so Thankful.
Sometimes there is beauty in silence, Janet.
Janet, Thank you for putting into words so much of what I have been feeling. I too lost my husband and best friend of 43 years. You are so right, emotions just are. One time I can talk about my husband and be just fine and then the next I’m in tears. I too have a Roadtrek and love loading the dogs and taking off but not having someone is share it with is so hard. Embracing and accepting this new life is a one day at a time thing. I have so much to to thankful for, family and good friends but even with all that being said I know only I can get through this. And it will have to be at my own pace. Thank you for sharing your story. It has made me laugh and cry. And that is a good thing.
Sharon, where do you live? Maybe we could meet and go camping some time. I like that idea.
Janet I am thankful for you and grateful we met. Also for all you wrote without all the BS, but your candid honesty with.your feelings. I have not walked in your shoes nor had any of your experiences but I surely admire your courage to face each day and to continue on your path of growth. Just reading what you share helps me with my own thoughts and feelings. I also love your travel experiences. We are home during our winter months and when I do my best to catch up on things I enjoy, like my oil painting. Are you doing any watercolor? Wishing you a beautiful day and for you to know you are thought of, even here in NY.
Copying your list of do’s and don’ts. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone list them so eloquently. Thanks Janet 🙂
Janet, would love to meet you if you ever get to central PA! Or somewhere close. I have made several cross country trips over the years and kinda figure I want to see more of the east! That should keep me busy for awhile. So for now I’ll just enjoy your blog and read about your journeys. If you ever get back this way a camping trip sounds great. This is a lovely part of the country.
Well said. I’m 51 and never been married or in a relationship so wonderful as you have described. I’m happy you got to experience that. And as you are realizing, life is not over, just different. Keep on enjoying it.
“Live everyday of your life” – Jonathon Swift