The Eye of the Beholder
Grief Group

“I cannot make you understand. I cannot make anyone understand what is happening inside me. I cannot even explain it to myself.”
―  Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis 

I keep meaning to write my thoughts, if for nothing than to get them out of me, and then by the time I sit down to do it, the thoughts I had been trying to organize are already long gone and have been replaced by a totally different theme of thoughts. Or a different mood on a different day. I can’t catch up. I could do that better when Vernon was in ‘recovery,’ but now there is too much shifting of the mind. It’s a very uncomfortable way to exist right now.

When I’m out, I want to be home. When I am home, I look for reasons to leave. I feel like my body doesn’t fit me properly at times. Hormones seem off…or is it my imagination? Things look the same as before, but it’s still slightly off most of the time, a slightly mis-layered alternate reality. It’s been hard to to pick up the camera (and use it), for some reason. My attention span seems shorter. I sure hope this doesn’t last too long, because it’s a pretty weird way to live.

Sometimes, I think: “Wait…whatever I’m going through right now, is this a kind of awakening to the New Me? Will some of this stuff stick? Is any of it good?” I’m insensitive to some things I used to get fired up or upset about, and I’m sensitive to unexpected little things: an actor’s performance can make me start crying— a child’s painting, a song out of the blue. I prefer to imagine myself in some sort of metamorphosis, a shedding of an outer sheath…that this is temporary and we will get through it. Or will it remain for a long time, I sure hope not!

This is why I like the change of season, as we move into the fall. It hasn’t really cooled down much here in Southern California, but the light has changed and the air feels different. Soon we’ll be dressing up accordingly. Summer was a very long season for us (not to mention the one that Vernon died in) so it is good to say goodbye and herald fall, winter, and all the little changes of routine that come along with them. At some point, we will find ourselves on the other side of all this, probably trying to figure out the next change that has invaded our routine, that is if we ever get a routine. My friend Julia likens a change of routine to a new cloak from an old worn-out one. It can take a while to feel like the new one fits right.

One thing I have in favor of creating a positive mindset toward the next season, Widowhood and Beyond, is that when I look back at my life I see lot of different seasons in my wake. The future still looks blank and fuzzy, but since the past is  full of changes and challenges, I can assume the future will be filled with different seasons, and maybe a lot more versions of myself. I just don’t know what they are yet.

I also am thankful to have a few widow friends in my life that not only do I look up to, but I have watched turn into women of joy, peace, and strong individuality in the years after their husband’s deaths. They are shining beacons. (And they never felt the desire to remarry.) 🙂 I can look to them as living examples of how to get through the strangeness and into other seasons.

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Here is a giant bee, for lack of a better metamorphosing insect with which to illustrate this post.

This painting was made in 2001, around the time of my first psychotherapy session ever. I was turning 30, and had just been diagnosed (finally) with clinical depression. I don’t know if I even saw the first counsellor a second time. He made me uncomfortable with his manner of questioning, but I got a painting out of it at least. It had felt like a wild nest of hornets had been exposed and taunted, covering the floor or my heart with buzzing, irritated insects. But I also felt that I knew if I pursued this path, I would find the honey in my heart. It’s good to remember that tough seasons happen and you can emerge from them…different.

Funny thing is…I used to identify as the one who was getting stung, now I’m feeling more like the bee.

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The Eye of the Beholder
Grief Group