|Waldo Point Harbor, Sausalito|
This is Day 59 of my #6MonthsOfGrief Project. To learn more about this practice, feel free to visit Day One, where I explain this project in more detail.
Yesterday I spent the afternoon on the waterfront, visiting with my friend who currently has cancer. I also used to live in this same harbor, and grew up running up and down the docks. It's amazing to me how powerful the smell of the salty air and the murky bay can bring up so many memories for me. It's all so visceral. I'm at a real turning point in my life and in many ways I feel so utterly alone. I miss the wild freedom of my childhood. I miss the joys that used to envelop me. I don't feel joy very often anymore. I feel drained and emptied. I used to be excited about the future. I used to have dazzling plans and goals for my life. Now I literally wake up and the first question I ask is, "how will I survive this day?"
Being back on the waterfront buoyed me up and helped me forget my sorrows, even while sitting with my friend and his gruesome zipper neck of stitches - a parting gift from a recent surgery. He is so positive and so upbeat, for all he has been through and I am in awe of him. It makes me feel guilty for feeling sad about my own life. I am healthy. I am strong. I don't have cancer. I just have grief. So much grief.
Our lives never turn out the way we wanted them to when we were little, do they? I was convinced I was going to be a world traveler, a writer and a professor who swam with dolphins in the ocean and dated dashing young anthropologists. Instead, I am a widow at 43-years-old. I did experience great love and I am lucky for having had that experience. But now he is gone and I am alone again and there is no one by my side. Is it better to have never experienced that kind of love? To have always been independent and unattached? Or is it better that I did experience that kind of love, even if it was taken away from me so soon?
I am very aware that this project can bring up a lot around yours or other's grief and loss, I will always follow every post with some online grief support resources that have helped me. Please feel free to let me know of online support that you have found healing in your grief, as well:
Art with Grief:
- Photographer [Sarah Treanor] Takes Moving Self-Portraits to Cope with Her Fiance's Death by Jillian Wong
- When the Fall Comes, a film about Grief by Adriana Marchione
- Self-Portraits: Expressing Emotion Through Art on What's Your Grief?
- The Hard Romance of Grief by Mark Liebenow
- The poetry of John O’Donohue
Living with Grief Resources:
- Teresa “TL” Bruce's What to Say When Someone Dies
- They Brought Cookies: For A New Widow, Empathy Eases Death's Pain by Ann Finkbeiner on NPR
- A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit
- The Geography of Sorrow: Francis Weller on Navigating Our Loses, interviewed by Tim McKee in Sun Magazine
- 12 Things to Know About the First Year of Grieving Someone You Can’t Live Without by Laurie Costanza in Elephant Magazine
Thank you, and see you tomorrow.