Friday, June 14

Tears, or How I'm doing Now

I have been crying every day, which is super weird.  Most years as an adult, I could count the number of times I cried each year on my hands.  And when I did cry, it was usually over something startling and frustrating but not overly meaningful.  What goes on "under the surface" is that sadness and stress pile up over days until a stupid trigger sets off the weeping.  For example, last November when we heard that Ben's tumors had grown, I didn't cry.  But later that week when the brining turkey overflowed and got raw turkey juice all over the inside of the fridge I had a fit.  Poor Ben thought at first that I was only upset about the turkey, not the tumors.

But I've been crying for real things lately.  I've been crying with joy and with fear.  I've been crying as memories take on new meaning and when I want to talk to Ben again.  I cry in sorrow over the suffering Ben went through, and then more as I praise God for his healed body.  I cry as I think the years ahead without him.

I've even been crying with empathy, which is also super weird too because deep empathy isn't a strength for me.  I teared up as I heard my grandpa talk about his father dying when he was 15 years old, and sobbed as I wrote an email to a friend whose mother is dying.  Even seeing a character I didn't care about die on TV had me bawling.

Sometimes people feel bad when they see me cry.  I guess because they feel slightly responsible?  Or maybe just because it's uncomfortable.  But please don't.  I'm actually feeling okay as a whole, I'm just randomly emotional.
There's a saying: "Women cry as men sweat".  Not entirely accurate even as a generalization, but perhaps in this season the tears do come as easily and naturally as sweat.

Really, in a lot of ways I have it so good right now.  For that I am thankful.  Even in the "death of a spouse" category things could be worse.  I could be a homemaker with no source of income.  Or no source of emotional support without my husband.  But I'm not - I have wonderful family, friends, and a good job.

The things that are difficult are that my centering motivation and daily purpose - being a good caregiver - is gone.  I feel fairly empty, useless and directionless.  Kind of like "empty nest" syndrome, I guess.  

It's obviously difficult to lose my closest companion for almost the last decade.  Not as long as many marriages, but still, it was a big percentage of my life.  I keep wanting to just talk with Ben or give him a hug.  This may be the feeling that will last the longest. It makes me understand why the Victorians got into Spiritualism.  

And I'm also upset about the lost potential in Ben, both because he had so much desire to do more here in this life and because I was heavily invested in his potential.  Aside from my marriage vows and love for him, that was what kept me going as a caregiver: I believed in him.  In fact, I thought that helping Ben was a major way I could make a positive difference in the world.  I'm still along for that ride by working on the Memorial Service, this Blog & Ben's book.

We'll see what plays out in the years ahead.  Who knows... I could die tomorrow.  Which I now know would incur a lot of paperwork for my family.  


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