I’m learning. I’m normally a quick study, not so much about this. I find that doing some things alone or doing some of things Marty and I did together is a hard enough task for me that, too often, I choose not to do them.
Doing some familiar things solo is okay and I do them, mostly I manage to manage my angst and get out and participate in life. I have to confess that whole managing thing is exhausting and it often keeps me at home. For me, this is part of the reason care giving is an isolating experience.
The feeling of isolation is not just the actual care giving, being at home taking care of someone who is mostly home bound. Often it’s dealing with experiences you used to have with your partner and feeling a bit lost without said partner. You miss that familiarity.
I have been to movies by myself and I don’t particularly like it. Beyond the fact that it feels really weird to sit all by myself in a huge theater I miss sharing the experience, I miss talking about what I have just seen with someone. Talking about the film makes the entire experience better.
In spite of the fact that Marty was a fidgety movie watcher and she had to get up at least once during the movie I really loved going to see them with her. She almost always had an interesting perspective on what we had just seen. I’m not saying her perspective always made sense to me, but believe me, she always had thoughts.
I made one trip to Las Vegas alone. That was okay but I’m not sure I’m comfortable being in my own head that much. I like having company, I like having that presence of another warm beating heart. Besides, when I was there alone, I had too much time to process and everything I saw reminded me of being out there with Marty and it really hammered home both the loneliness and loss. I don’t want to do that again.
It’s the church and church stuff that is the real bugaboo. I miss our church, I miss being at our church with Marty. I didn’t understand how much of my faith and spirituality was and is wrapped up with my relationship with Marty.
Marty and I matured together in many ways. We helped each other in our faith journey. We talked politics, we talked kids, we talked psychology, and we talked religion, a lot. We helped each other explore our spirituality, we helped each other with our own beliefs and we allowed each other to doubt and offered a safe zone to experience that doubt. We walked a faith journey together.
It was a revelation to me to figure out how important Marty was to my faith and to my participation in our church. I always thought I was the one that drove our participation; I always thought I was the one that pushed the church thing. It turns out we were taking turns driving the participation, she was right there beside me on that journey and going to church without Marty is a real test for me.
I don’t walk into First Presbyterian Church in Waco without thinking of Marty. I don’t go to any church service without thinking of Marty. I have very few discussions with anyone about church or faith when I don’t either reference Marty or think back to how she has helped shape how I think on these matters. Being in our church without Marty is ….. well, can you be lonely in a crowded room?
Don’t misunderstand, I love my church, I love the people in my church. I am comfortable with where I am in my faith journey and it has taken Marty and many others to get me to this point. It has not always been easy and I have minute to minute struggles with doubt, but ultimately, I am secure with what I believe because Marty has walked beside me so much of the way.
There are places, sights, sounds and smells that you so strongly associate with others that it seems strange to experience those places, sights, sounds and smells without them. Those people have been so much a part of you it seems wrong to have those experiences without them.
It’s my journey, it’s my struggle, it’s only me that can deal with my crazy. It helps to name the craziness; it helps to say out loud that some of those experiences hurt without Marty. It makes no sense to avoid them all together, that’s not what Marty wants me to do.
It just takes a step.