I do feel I'm in a different place, emotionally, to where I was.... not an easier or more comfortable place, just different. I still get tearful every day, though not quite so frequently, but often with an even greater sense of desolation as the permanence of Suzie's absence really begins to hit home. My focus seems to be shifting slightly more towards 'what do I do now?' rather than being constantly engulfed by painful memories of Suzie's last days. Obviously those memories are never far away, but I try to think beyond them to memories of the many happy times we shared when Suzie was well. I also make a conscious point of smiling when I look at her photo, even if tears still well up too. We had more than 20 happy years together and I hold on to the blessing of the precious love we shared and the many joys that love gave to us both.
If I put my mind to it I am able to recognise a few very small steps of progress that I've made during the last few weeks. It may be just going for a short walk with my dog, or being able to do something useful to help a friend, but these small achievements give me momentary glimpses of hope which help to get me through the dark days when I'm barely able to function at all. I continue to face many days like that, but I'm learning to accept them for what they are, and to trust that the next day may be better.
So, back to the question 'what do I do now?'.... I don't have a clue. When Suzie was here, attending to her needs was an all-consuming way of life. I didn't have to think about me because my sole focus and desire was to care for Suzie. It was the very essence of every minute of every day. Now it's gone, leaving a huge chasm of emptiness that I am gazing into, as if from the edge of a cliff. I'm scared. I feel incomplete, vulnerable, and totally lost. I don't know how to begin to build a new life for myself.
Eventually I think the answers will come little by little as God gently and lovingly reveals the path that He has planned for me. We have the promise that God's grace is sufficient for today.... I remember my Mum telling me many years ago "Don't try to face tomorrow's problems using today's grace". Never in my life have I felt the need to heed that advice more than I do now. The future is far too big, too overwhelming, too scary. It is an enormous open space that has no recognisable landmark to walk towards. I am a lone traveller, lost in the middle of the bleak, mist-shrouded moors, unable to see any path or any way forward.
Then I hear the words 'Be still, and know that I am God'.
In today's society 'being still' doesn't come naturally. We seem to be wired to be always on the go. I feel that I should be doing something useful, though I don't know what. I equate inactivity with idleness, which is to be avoided and despised. But I'm beginning to see that there is a time for inactivity and rest that is necessary for healing and wholeness. If I can't see any way forward maybe it's because God actually wants me to stay just where I am for the time being. Maybe I need time to recover physically and emotionally. Maybe I'm just not ready to continue my journey yet. When I am, and when the time is right, I believe that the next step of my life's path will be revealed. I await that day with an open heart and mind, aware that God's plans for me may be unlike anything I could ever imagine.
Meanwhile I find hope in the words on a birthday card Suzie once gave me that I came across when I was sorting through some things a few days ago.
Thank you Suzie. Love you always and forever.