During the weeks that have passed I have made every effort possible to keep going.... to take each new day as it comes and to try to bring normal activities back into my life. I've engaged in some social contact, I've achieved the occasional brief trip to the local grocery shop, I've kept the garden tidy, and I'm gradually sorting through things in the house. All this time I've been driven by the realisation that 'everyday life' is now down to me.... Suzie is no longer here to give me motivation, encouragement, or even a purpose for doing any of these things, so I either get on with life for myself or I go under.
A couple of weeks ago I even dared to believe all this was getting easier. I was getting used to the unpredictable rhythm of emotions and I'd learnt to accept the low days, knowing that I could 'try again tomorrow'. Suddenly, though, I feel like I've come to a grinding halt, and I just don't have the strength to carry on. I'm so physically and mentally exhausted that, some mornings, it takes every ounce of energy I can muster just to get out of bed. I heave myself through the day like I'm wading through treacle, feeling constantly tired and drained, unwell and in pain. My appetite also seems to have deserted me, taking with it any motivation or previous good intentions to cook a 'proper meal' each day. For those of you who've never had to do it, trust me.... there's no pleasure at all in cooking a meal for one and staring at the wall while you eat it alone.
These last few weeks and months have been like climbing a mountain in a storm. At times I've made progress, other times I've lost my footing and slipped backwards, often I've been knocked off my feet by an unexpected side wind, but all the time I've tried hard to keep climbing. Right now I've simply run out of energy. I've slipped down onto an uncomfortable ledge, from which and I have neither the strength nor the will to get back up again.
So, what now? My body is quite blatantly crying out for rest, and I have no choice but to give in to it, however lazy that might feel. Despite my constant exhaustion I seem to wake up ridiculously early each morning.... much too tired to get up but usually unable to go back to sleep either. So I drink coffee in bed whilst looking through the window at the various birds outside on the feeder, and I read the morning news on my iPad. I check my emails and any recent Facebook activity, as if to grasp hold of some degree of connection with the outside world. Eventually, sometimes two or three hours later, I find the strength to begin my day, to get up and face the void that awaits me, and to endure the increasing realisation that this is the way it is now. In the blink of an eye the last 20 years have gone forever, and any previously familiar structure or purpose has disintegrated around me. This is my new 'normal', and it's not a comfortable place to be. I feel inadequate, scared, lonely and unhappy, and I miss Suzie more each day.
One might ask where God is in all this? I'm sure He is as close as ever, but I will admit that many of my prayers consist of gazing at Suzie's photo, whilst repeatedly saying to God in a bewildered whisper, "I just don't get it''. Other prayers take the form of a more desperate "Please help me God. I can't do this any more". I cling on to my faith though, and, each morning, even before I open my eyes, I bring to mind some of the many things I have to be thankful for. I just couldn't face the day at all if I didn't. I know I will come through this awful time, and, with the benefit of hindsight, maybe I will have a better understanding of it, but for now I just surrender.