A few weeks have made a big difference in the way I've been feeling. My blood pressure is down, and it's been over two weeks since I've had a migraine. Best of all, I no longer feel hopelessly depressed. It doesn't mean that the problems aren't there, that I don't worry about them or experience some sadness, but I'm not overwhelmed by them. I'm not constantly plagued by self-critical thoughts, painful memories and questions of what might have been, and I'm not crying every day. A thought about my husband will come into my head, and I won't be flooded with loss. There are times I even feel lucky to have had our good years together. Anti-depressants are such a wonderful gift.
My actions haven't caught up with my feelings, but it hit me today that I didn't feel old for the first time in ages. One of the hardest things that happened after my husband died was that most of my friends just disappeared. My closest friends moved away, and phone and email are not the same as hanging out together and being gently hectored to not go hermit. What hurt was that my local friends disappeared as well. The only people in this town who have maintained more than saying hi in the grocery store contact have been my mother-in-law, her sister, and a neighbor who's over 80. No one else, and I mean no one, in the town where I've lived for 13 years now, has even called me on the phone since the funeral. I work primarily with women in their 20s and when I see someone away from work, they're most often from my parent's generation. Seeing people around my own age is a rare treat, and sometimes I forget that there can be more than just monitoring how I'm hanging on to existence.
It's time for me to quit being such an old lady, and I think I know the first two steps. Remember who I am and imagine who I really want to be. This storm of loss and sadness is beginning to clear, and what I can see now is that I am funny, sweet, sensitive, smart and enduring. Who do I want to be? I want to be more social. I want to be more creative. I want to be in greater command of my body. I want to smile and laugh more and enjoy those lines around my mouth and eyes. I want to take a yoga class without feeling self-conscious and paint my walls strong, vibrant, happy colors. I want to spend time gazing into a fire, and I want to get back to a beach. I want to get a decent haircut that makes me feel cute, sassy and maybe even a little sophisticated. I want to live in a decent sized city.
It's a rough sketch, but isn't that where masterpieces begin?