It has been a much better Easter than I thought it would be. In your first year of widowhood you go through so many "firsts". First time you have had a birthday since he died, first Christmas alone,then all the kids and grandkids birthdays when you send a card signed just "Mum" or "Granma". Then the first wedding anniversary, or is that unanniversary, or post-anniversary, maybe there isn't a name for that am-I-still married or ??? anniversary, that sacred rememberance of the day you both said: "I do". Then there is the first time you go on holiday without him, meet up with friends without him etc. Or worse the guilt of the first time you go to a place you had planned to go together but never did.
Some of these events apply to me, some don't. For instance as Ray was in a nursing home for twelve months prior to his death I had already done some of the first here-I-am-alone events. I had had to go to weddings, christenings, funerals etc alone. I had sent cards signed "love from Ray and Sue" when really they were only from me. I had wept at home alone on my birthday, our anniversary and early Christmas and New Year's mornings. BUT I knew I would see Ray later in the day - I could tell him my news even if I knew he would maybe not understand it and certainly would not respond to it. I was alone but I was still married and had been for 44 years.
I was not looking forward to Easter. There it loomed a four day break, only the church services planned and at holiday times even those are not part of the normal routine but special events with little or no congregation in the usual sense. A lot of people who don't usually go to church do make an effort for Easter so the composition of the congregation is differnt and sometimes even the way the services are done. It has never worried me before but this year I wanted the familiarity to fall back on. I didn't want things to be different.I had to keep telling myself that change was inevitable and I just had to stay on the road to acceptance and all would be well.
Last week my refrigerator started to make funny noises. I had thought it was getting louder,rattling more, staying on longer but now it would not switch itself off and screamed after being on for an hour. So I was operating it manually, one hour on one hour off, trying to get past Good Friday to Easter Saturday when the shops would be open once more. It is a big decision for me, well all decisions seem big since the strokes actually. I wanted to go buy one alone and I did. Looking at it now I probably downsized too much but it at least will be lighter on power than our old sqaure looking 380 litre. But how we will cope with a full family weekend I do not know. Not to worry I can hire a spare maybe. That is the way of decision-making now with me doubting if I have done the right thing, got the right quote, looked around enough before I made a purchase. Self-confidence, where are you?
Sunday, as with Friday was a different experience to the usual. I knew I was looking after three of my grandchildren so as soon as they were dropped here off we all went to chuch. It was a chaotic family service, kids dressed in all kinds of first century look-alike clothes acting the play that the deacon read out, Tori as a Roman soldier, Alex and Oliver as villagers, the Sunday shool teachers in long smocks taking the oils and herbs to the "tomb". As a reward the littlies got to participate in an Easter egg hunt and then morning tea of hot cross buns. I had expected to go home and make a simple lunch but there was a message from Trevor that he was coming over with his wife and two children and they brought lunch so it did turn into a happy family time. MUCH better day than the previous two days.
And today it was quiet this morning, which was a good thing as I was a bit tired anyway and then after lunch an invitation to go to Trev's for a dinner of BBQed spicy chicken wings. It was lovely late in the afternoon sitting betwen the pool and the house watching Trevor cooking. I played with Alice for a while, lovely smiley little thing that she is, had talks with Edie and with Trevor and a game with Lucas, well I watched as he explained the computer game. The meal itself reminded me of when they lived two doors over and the five of us then, Ray still here but no small Alice, would sit and eat spicy chicken wings and laugh together. It was a nice meal with good company and a good ending to the four days of Easter.
I am still going to the local hospital and talking to Mum's friend and that seems to be relieving the pain of Mum's death. R* is there for at least another four weeks after a fall when she broke her femur up near the hip and cracked four ribs. The talking about Mum in good times and bad has helped me accept her death so I am feeling much better about that now. I am able to face that Mum was old and her body and mind were both worn out and it was time for her to go. I do miss her and will miss her for a long time but I would never want her back. I know I will always miss her in another way, I will miss who she was to me as my Mum and the sharer of so many memories and now I know what being a Grrandmother means I will also miss her as the great-grandmother to my grandchildren.
It is useless at this stage to worry about what might have been though I find myself doing that too. I wish I had done this or that for Ray or Mum, I wonder if I had done that rather than this would it have made any difference? I am hoping one day I can put it all to rest. In my heart I know I did the best I knew how, but at 3am sometimes my brain does not accept that. I need to find a way of overcoming that. It is hard to be alone and not have anyone to tell about what I am thinking. I wish.... you all know what I wish.
I know the grief counselling I have been going to has helped me a lot. It has helped me to put life into some kind of perspective. I am not an unintelligent woman, I can work things out by myself but my mind has been clouded by the two bereavements and I have been too many times around the roundabout without knowing which exit to take. I need some new direction, I know I cannot stay still and expect my life issues to resolve. I have to make an effort to renew my life. I have faith and I have a good attitude so I will eventually be able to move on.