When the kids were little, I rarely had time for myself. Most parents of young children know this one. I’d fall asleep every night with one in each arm during books before bed. But as they got older, my children began to have lives of their own outside our little threesome and this meant spurts of alone time for me. It was something I was supposed to cherish. But I didn’t really have a chance to.
I didn’t like to be alone after my husband died. With two high-school aged children, no close friends in the area and no family nearby, I began to become deeply lonely. I seemed to have spurned friends when my husband was dying, though I have little memory of anything during that time. I just knew that anyone who wasn’t right there in it with me–the hospital, the home care, hospice—faded from my periphery. When I “came to” after he was gone, many others were gone as well.
I retreated into my own thoughts, isolated on a dirt road in Vermont. Our half-mile driveway led to the echoing house where my husband died. And though I loved my work, it was solitary, done from home. Sometimes it seemed that the forest around my house was closing in on me and the river below might rage wild, climb my steep and winding driveway to swallow me whole. Such were the thoughts of grief.
I kept the hearth flame burning for my children’s sense of stability. But now I can go. Now is a different time. Now I am making a transition out of the world where I raised my girls and where I cared for my husband and where I experienced crushing loneliness and numbing heartbreak. I can continue my work in a warmer place.
What will my life become?
It’s been many years since my children and I snuggled up in bed to read picture books, many years since we went to the baby park and had picnics. I’m so glad we had that time.
But now I have this time. And I’m kind of excited.