Well, now I’m really feeling, what shall I do with the rest of my life. I’m thinking and considering, what shall I do? It’s now 2013. My partner passed on, left the planet, six and a half months ago; I’ve been on my own for six and a half months and his absence and the permanence of it is only just beginning to register with me. Memories and tears come, seemingly from nowhere, disabling me. This is a nowhere place I am in; unfamiliar, unknown, strange. And challenging.
I have discovered that death is the great taboo: people don’t want to talk about it. Friends with elderly husbands avoid the subject. The husbands themselves don’t look at me – my partner was thirty years younger and in apparently considerably better health than they are. The wives look at me and see their future and the husbands look at me and see the absence of themselves and their own death. It’s scary.
Yesterday morning I thought I would do some exercise on the rebounder and I put on some Leonard Cohen – not exactly jolly, Leonard Cohen doesn’t do jolly – but it’s got a good beat and it’s six minutes long, so good for bouncing. Then, wham, he’s there in the room with me, (my partner, not Leonard Cohen) or is it a memory of him in the room? But it’s overwhelming, the presence. His actual presence would not have been. We might have looked out of the window and noted that the apple tree needs pruning or the beauty of the leeks that we have allowed to go to seed. But because I feel him there when he is not physically present it knocks me sideways and I have to stop bouncing, turn off the music and sit for a while.
Maybe movement triggers the emotions, as in walking is good for stress relief.
So, I’m looking at possibilities and making notes, talking to people and getting information. I could do some volunteer work, helping families in difficult circumstances. I could train to be a soul midwife. I feel I would like to study the beginning and ending of life, the bookends, as Elizabeth Lesser, author of “Broken Open”, calls them. A soul midwife helps the dying to cross the threshold between this world and whatever is next.
I’ve ordered some wool to knit a cardigan. I’m joining a knitting bee, meeting on a Tuesday evening with other knitters to chat and share our lives and our knitting problems. As I’ve done very little knitting for the last twenty years or so I will have problems and it will be really good that all I have to do is look across the table to someone to help me.
I’ve been sitting for the last hour in a favourite tearoom in Chichester and, having commented on the pleasure of the tearoom, the log fires and the peaceful environment, met an interesting and helpful person. So that was pleasurable too.