Mar 10, 2009

Reaching out

Over the past week I've been reaching out to some of Mindy's friends that we didn't really see much of after we got married. It's been a mixed response some have let me know that they appreciate the contact and they have been thinking of the kids and I over the last few months; others have responded politely but didn't encourage any further contact.

I feel a pull to keep an open line of communication with them, but I really have nothing to say. Nothing that I think they want to hear. I guess that's why it’s easier to talk to strangers, or sometimes talk to myself (I know...I'm nuts), because I don't have this all figured out and it bugs me. I want it to be laid out in understandable chunks.

Step one, do this.
Step two do that.

But this overbearing process of grief doesn't work that way. I feel one way for a day, a week or however long. Then my mood, my thought process goes in a completely different direction. I think that in normal life your thoughts can control your emotions. Your emotions control your actions. But it seems that somewhere down the road of grief you pass a mile marker that isn't really that noticeable at first; then you realize that your thoughts trigger emotions, but don't control them. Your emotions control your thoughts. And your emotions now have a firm grip on your actions. I like things to be more logical...I'm a computer programmer for crying out loud! There is a need for rules and processes.

I don’t really know why it’s important to me to hold on to friends that were brought into my world when she entered my world. But then again, maybe I do…maybe it’s because they are a tie to her and I feel like I have to hold onto anything and everything that reminds me or connects me to her. It’s hard for me as a more logical thinker to put my head around these emotions. It’s hard for me to make sense of things that are not necessarily based on sound reason. Why reach out to someone and express your desire to hold on to them when you both know you will only talk maybe once or twice a year…if that?

Mindy was the one who nurtured our relationships with others. She would call people out of the blue just to say hello. She would call someone she hadn’t spoken with in years and they would talk for hours sometimes over several days. I’m just not that way. If it were left up to me, everything would be in a text message and would not need a response.

“Thinking of you, hope your well.” - What else is needed?

I know better, I know that you have to nurture a friendship or it will grow apart…life will get in the way. When we were kids it was so much easier…everything was exciting. Now, who wants to hear that I was up till 2am folding laundry? Who should I call to inform that I’m helping with homework and monitoring bath time and next on the agenda is the war of wills concerning when is a good time to go to bed?

I don’t know I guess I’m venting because this was Mindy’s job and she did it well. I’m not so great at it and I don’t like things I’m not good at. I’m frustrated because I want these people in my life but I’m not the chattering type and I’m not so great at keeping these ties connected. These people who were Mindy’s friends first and ours later are more important to me than I know how to convey. I guess the filter of life will determine who is really important as the important ones will continue to be there for me…the others, hopefully the few, will choose to fall away.

I guess at the heart of it all is that I’ve realized there is yet one more area at which Mindy completed my deficiency; my seemingly long list of deficiencies. I wish I could’ve found a way to be a better husband. I wish I knew how to help her escape all the trouble she brought on herself and the rest of our family at times. I know now, from her journals, how badly she wanted to change. How much she despised her actions at times. How much she despised my reaction at times. But the good times still vastly outweighed the rest for me. And it truly wasn't her within her control; bipolar disorder controlled her.

A brilliant man once told me that love is a choice, not an emotion. You choose to love through good and bad, otherwise you won’t love through the bad. I only ever planned to have one wife in my entire life…and I feel so lost that she’s now gone. Having my friends and family; her friends and family all surrounding me and my children makes it feel a little better at times, but it doesn’t fill the void.

Mindy told me all the time that she knew we were soul mates from the very beginning. She used to tell me how she fell much faster and much harder for me than I for her. I don't know that it's really true but if so I guess it’s because God knew she would have to cram all that love into 33 short years, only 10 of which I was blessed to know her.

1 comment:

  1. Bereavement can have strange effects on the dynamics of friendship, which is something I've been writing about recently. I agree with you that suddenly 'our' friends can break out into 'her' friends and 'my' friends.

    It's hard to keep in touch with hers. I'm still not entirely sure why that is, but it seems to be a fact of life. Well done for trying.

    Best wishes from London. And spirits up.