Over the last few years, I cannot tell you how many people have said to me, “Wow, you could write a book!”…I suppose I could, if I had the time, the energy, the organizational skills…I could write about my experiences. Thoughts and feelings. Lessons learned. Perspective and outlook gained. But, really, I am not sure how many people would want to read the jumbled up thoughts and roller-coaster emotions. I already know that there is a limited set of people who would completely relate to or identify with my story. Then again, maybe there are more than a few people out there who share a similar experience and would like to know they aren’t completely insane. So, maybe I should write for them. And for myself, of course.
People always usher in a new year with a certain amount of excitement for what it is to come. I, on the other hand, find myself slightly excited at the possibilities, but also apprehensive and nervous, like I am waiting for “the other shoe to drop” or the sky to fall out of the relatively-happy-new-do-over life I am living now…I always find myself looking backward in time as I look forward to the future, and it makes my head swim.
If I was to write that book, it would, of course, be a story of love and loss and tragedy and triumph. That’s a given…
I would write about being a 25 year old college student, who felt like she didn’t belong anywhere. There she sat, in her college hoodie in her Psychology class, listening to the cute little sorority girls say things like “OMG, last weekend Jason got soooo wasted, it was ridiculous! I laughed so much!” And fighting back the urge to answer their questions about what she did last weekend with responses like, “Well, I looked over the police report from my dead husband’s car accident and filled out more forms for the VA, and wanted to die, myself. That’s a typical Saturday night at my house, you ditz!”…
Or maybe I would write about how the biggest difference between losing any other member of your family and losing your spouse is the constant judgement you feel from everyone around you. Lose your Grandma, and no one really minds if you go out to dinner and have a few laughs a month later. Do the same, when you are widowed, and everybody has something to say about it. There are those who think you are “moving on too soon” and are somehow being disrespectful in your early show of happiness. And then there are those who say you should of been out to dinner way sooner. Either way, there is always SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE who disapproves of your every move, every decision, and questions your motives, loyalty and love every step of the way. This of course, happens at a time when you are in so much pain, it takes everything you have just to BREATHE on your own; you are not strong enough to bear other people’s opinions of you. It will ruin you if you let it, that constant feeling of judgement and accusation, or at the very least, that sensation of total uncertainty. But, you can’t let it ruin you. If you do, you would ruin the best part of the story…And that’s the last thing I would write about—finally being able to live a happy life again. Not because I have “forgotten” anything, but because I want my “memories” to create something positive. And not because I am an entirely different person, but because what I have been through has made me absolutely certain about what really matters in life, and what really matters at the end of my life…And not because the opinions of family, friends and loved ones don’t matter, but because I realize that they don’t understand the whole story. I am the person who has to live my life the only way I know how, and I have no time for or tolerance of anybody’s judgmental attitude. …..And also maybe mostly because I got lucky enough to meet someone who showed me that it is NOT disrespectful to be happy again, nor does it mean that I have “moved on and forgotten everything” just because I want to keep moving, keep living life to the fullest, and fill my time with smiles and laughter rather than bitterness, anger, and sadness.
Maybe, like me, you will meet a person who makes you realize that your past experiences are not the “end” of you, they are just a part of you. Maybe this new person will restore your belief in happiness and love and faith again, make you feel like it’s possible to have a second chance at a happy life. Maybe, instead of judging your every thought, word, and action, you will meet a person who just looks at you and says, “After all this, you deserve to be happy. Nobody deserves to be happy more than you, and you should do WHATEVER makes you happy.”
And then you’ll look back on all your memories and past experiences, thankful to have had them, thankful for the strength and perspective, and also so very thankful for the chance at new memories, and a new life…lived in the most heart felt way.
The kind of life that makes the past bearable, the future bright, and the story worth writing 🙂