“Is it getting better?”
“Is it getting better?” I’m starting to hear this question. More insidiously, I’m starting to ask it of myself. Shouldn’t you be feeling better by now? Shouldn’t you be getting used to this? Isn’t it time to “find closure” and move on?
It doesn’t work that way.
A family member who was suddenly and tragically widowed many years ago explained it to me this way: You NEVER really get over it. Your loved one with whom you spent so many years has become an indelible part of you — part of the person that you are and will always be for the rest of your life. Will it get better someday? Maybe… I hope. But will it ever become a fact with zero emotional content? NO.
Even when I think about my first husband — it was a short, awful marriage that I knew was never going to work even while I was embroiled in it — there is a part of me that carries a part of him with me. He was a musician. I still listen to recordings that he participated in, and I still feel his music and feel myself being there as it was created. My relationship with him, flawed though it was, forms a core part of the person that I am today.
Is it getting better? NO. I think I’m doing fine but then I cry myself to sleep almost every night. I want to pound walls and scream sometimes, but I don’t. Instead of doing those things I go running. And I am now feeling the physical effects of overtraining.
So I’m gratefully telling myself that I’m now in “pre-race taper” mode, and I really don’t have to do much running between now and the race October 9 in Victoria. I’ve seen the signs of overtraining — my resting pulse is elevated and I need to sleep after I run — but I didn’t realize how over-fatigued I’ve become until I got the news today that the half marathon I’d planned to run on New Year’s Eve has been canceled. This came as a huge relief. I’m now only registered for two half marathons between now and mid-February, not three. My current plans have me doing my running events approximately four months apart over the next year. I think I can handle that. I think it will bring my running back to a level where it is a fun, stress-releasing activity rather than an obsessive attempt to drown out the voices whispering to me, “Shouldn’t you be feeling better by now?”
One step at a time.
I am not a machine; I have real muscles and real joints, and real emotions. My body-mind are inseparable, and both are deeply, actively engaged in the grieving process. I can’t orchestrate this process or be logical about or detached from my experience, even though I wish I could. I need more than five hours sleep a night, which means that I’d better hit the “publish” button now and call it a night.
Thanks to all of you who truly listen and care… you sustain me more than you know.