Fall has always been my favorite season; it meant a time of new beginnings, and not just because of the Jewish New Year. Fall was always a fresh start in school, whether as a student, teacher or a counselor with a new cohort of anxious and excited high school youths. Today was a beautiful day, and Mollie invited me for a hike in the woods that led to us sitting by a stunning lake. The invigorating walk allowed me a chance to reflect back on the past 3 months as well as think about what my future holds. Insane how much my life has veered on and off course since Larry left the universe.
And no doubt, he was the center of my world for 47 years. Everything was a joint decision to be shared and pondered. I will always miss and mourn him. I knew when I made the decision to take him off the respirator that it was exactly what he would have wanted. He was spared a slow, lingering and painful death from the cancer that began in his lungs and so quickly had metastasized to his bones and liver. And on his deathbed, I like to believe that he heard me, although in a coma, when I thanked him for the wonderful life that he gave me. I told him that I loved him and that it was okay if he left, because I would be okay.
Just as we stepped out of the hospital, an incredible storm began, driving rains with thunder and lighting. It truly felt like the heavens were mourning with us and my world quickly became very dark.
For the remainder of the summer I was definitely NOT okay. I avoided most people and didn’t want to answer the phone because every conversation ended in tears. I literally felt pain in my heart, even breathing was hard, nay excruciating.
My children dragged me out of the house for long walks and made sure that I ate. They went food shopping and cooked for me. My ever-amazing son-in-law redid closets and the laundry room, organizing and lowering shelves.
Anyone who knew Larry understand that I too was the center of his universe and he felt compelled to take care of me. My mornings happily began with the sounds of his making coffee and bringing in my NY Times. He did the shopping, cooking, bill paying, etc etc. A life without him seemed totally inconceivable, although with the cancer diagnosis in February 2017, inevitable.
But as the weather has gotten cooler, I am reminded of my promise to him. And I realize that I have choices. I could stay enveloped in self-pity and despair or I could choose to have a life. And at the age of 66, I could find the strength within me to “adult” it!! To live purposely.
And that has been the great wonder. Everything now is MY choice! I no longer need to discuss anything! Having been with Larry since I was 19, it is heady and liberating for the first time in my life to be totally in charge of how I spend my day or my money!! Larry disliked houseguests, and in the last few months I have enjoyed having multiple friends and family come to stay. Larry disliked going away for weekends, but I am planning a trip to Boston to spend time with my fabulous cousins!
There will always be a hole in my heart, yearning for Larry. Hiking the Croton Gorge recently with my kids, I began to softly cry, because he was not there to share in the beauty of the day. Our family was no longer complete.
Writing this blog, while going on dating websites, has been incredibly therapeutic for me. If dear readers, you find what I write half as funny as I do, then I will be very pleased indeed. I have discovered that laughter is absolutely the best medicine I could have found to begin to heal my wounded heart.
My friends, neighbors and family have been outstanding in showing up for me. I was delighted last week to have lunch with a friend I had not spoken to since 7th grade! There has been an unending stream of phone calls, text messages, emails and oh my the food baskets that kept showing up. All that love has buoyed me up and given me hope.
I realize now that my life still has unlimited possibilities as to options, directions, and choices. And, if I happen to meet a nice man or two (maybe three) along the way…while really not my primary motivation now, it wouldn’t be so terrible.
And having a cute 49 year old send me flirty texts daily…But I am getting ahead of myself. You will have to keep reading to learn more!