There are more good days than bad days now.
Initially it felt like my personal role in life from here on out was to honor Tim in every way. In the back of my mind with every decision was the question, “What would he have wanted?” For many questions, this was the right thing to ask myself. As time goes on though I realize that the sadness of death is in the lives of those still living. Tim is fine now. He doesn’t share the burdens I feel. I don’t have to paint the walls of my house blue because blue was his favorite color. I don’t have to plan my future based off of his expectations. For so many years it feels like I gave myself entirely to him. He will always be a part of everything I do, and a part of me will always will seek his approval but I’ve begun to build a life that’s my own.
It’s liberating. It’s terrifying.
I’m surprised by my complete lack of a desire to date. For a while, I did feel the need for that in my life. I needed to stick my toe (a stomped on, blue, battered toe) into the dating pool, and see if anyone would be interested in the flabby and quazi traumatized current edition of Lauren. Once I realized that yes, I actually do have a lot of desirable qualities that men would enjoy, I immediately backed out. Stopped caring all together. The secret, grieving part of me that I keep locked away will say that I don’t want to date because the only person I could ever imagine being with is gone forever. The outgoing, independent me says that I don’t date because I don’t give a shit. My life is not empty or dull. I enjoy being single and enjoy being on my own. For now, I’m simply not interested.
The erratic bipolar tendencies of grief have also slowed down. I have far fewer manic stretches, but am instead left with a sense that life is precious. I don’t want to be afraid to go after what I want. Day by day, I’m getting braver. I’m also getting a clearer picture of what it is that I do want. Those details are coming into focus.
While I continue to figure it out, I write. Of course I write here, and you read what I’ve written. The feedback I hear from people both in comments and offline keeps me writing posts like these. Not even grief can stop my constant seek for validation.
Off of the blog, I write deeper and longer. I used to refer to that writing as “Shit I feel compelled to write but don’t know what to do with.” Now I finally feel comfortable calling it by its much simpler name – my book.
In the evening when the house is quiet, I listen clothes tussle around my dryer. I work on the book on nights like these. Right now I’m taking a break from a chapter to quickly write this blog post for y’all. The screen door to my back porch is open. It’s been raining all day. I can hear frogs in my back yard. I’ve been writing about a time with Tim ten years ago when I was more content than I ever thought I might be. My eyes burn slightly. I’m sure they look red and glassy if someone were to walk in, but no one is going to walk in my living room this evening. Pascale is sleeping to the right of me, her tail curled around her haunches. Eliot is stretched out on the floor beneath us. I wipe away a tear from my cheek, but I’m not depressed. I’m not broken.
My life is deep and messy and complicated. I am far from figuring things out but I am also, at least a little bit, content.