I feel like an impostor. Or a fake.
Thanksgiving weekend has always been a big family weekend for us. As many as can travel from a tri-state area to spend three days together. Eating, playing, talking, eating, doing activities. Eating. This year I was not looking forward to it. I am not looking forward to my “first” holiday season without my husband. I didn’t want the sympathetic looks and the “How ARE you’s” from well-meaning family members. So many emotions all mashed and roiled around together.
It actually wasn’t too bad. The distractions of the three days helped a lot I found. And it was good to see family, to catch up on what everyone is doing (and, at our age, the latest health bulletins). My niece’s son and daughter are at an especially adorable age and they were clearly having a terrific time with the plethora of cousins and Aunts, Uncles, Great Aunts, and Great Uncles.
I talked and laughed with everyone else. And felt like an impostor. I could laugh, but I couldn’t sustain the happy feeling. I could enjoy activities for a short while, but then I would just watch. When we saw our cousins they asked after me and time and again I saw “the look”. This is the look that comes over their face when they have asked after my job and gotten updated and then …. they don’t know what to say. They can’t ask about Randy since he is gone. They don’t want to ask how I am since that can bring up strong emotions. So they falter, and the conversation peters out. I just waited, giving them a few second, and I would jump in and change the subject or start talking about something else.
And I felt like a fake. I was totally faking being okay and that I was getting along just fine. I was an impostor this past weekend. I wonder how many people I fooled?
I find I have to remake myself. Again. When I moved out of my parent’s house, I had to remake myself. Learn to live on my own, learn what kind of person I was. I didn’t do a very good job. But I just kept on. When I got divorced I had to remake myself. As a single parent, with a small child and no college education. It was really very hard. But at that time I thought I’d be a mom all my life, and hopefully someday have a daughter-in- and in time become a grandmother. I was young. I was gaining lots of skills at work and learning new things about myself and the person I was. I didn’t really know what to do or how to do it, so I just kept on.
Then my son was murdered, and I wasn’t a mom anymore. And I would never have a daughter-in-law, nor ever be a grandmother. I was lost for a long time. But I kept going on. I struggled with remaking myself as this … person who did not have any of the things she had always wanted all her life. The things she had always longed for. It was a very hard, long struggle.
And then I pursued finding a husband. After many long years I finally got a “Yes” from God where before I had always gotten a “No”, and I set out to see if I could find someone to marry in my 50’s. I had very little clue what I was doing. There were missteps and bad choices. But then I found Randy. Or rather, we found each other. And despite our differences we really did fit together well and complimented each other and were just right for each other. I knew I would not be married long to him. He wasn’t in good health long before he met me, and the health issues he had were such that would not get better with time. Even with good health care and a caring wife by his side. I just … I had really thought that we would have made it to at least the five year mark.
But, no. One year and 2 ½ months after our marriage Randy had a heart attack and died. And so, I now have to remake myself again. What am I now? Not a mom. Not a grandmother. Not a wife. I am living in a State I do not like, in a part of the State I really don’t like. But yet, I have no doubt this is where God wants me to be. So I stay. But what shall I do? Whom should I be? My inclination, especially while I am still grieving, is to stay home and just go to church and work. Surely I can pray for people at home, right? I can read my Bible and I can live a life that hopefully honors and reflects God by just staying home. Right?
But I don’t believe that is what God wants for me. It is my comfort zone, but it is not where I should stay. But, I don’t know what else I should do. I don’t know what else God wants me to do, or go, or say. I have to figure that out. I have to find how to remake myself in this widowed state, living where I don’t want to, struggling to find what I should be and do. I keep on.
In the meantime, while I am grieving and struggling to not stay in my comfort zone, God is there. He is right by my side and He will guide me and direct me. One step at a time. One day at a time. The potter is molding His clay.
These days I do a pretty good imitation of a happy, got-it-all-together kind of gal.
Trust me — it is all on the surface. I’m able to do my job and I do try to do the best job I can. I like my job and want to continue staying there, and it is interesting and busy so that helps. But so much of my life is a struggle to appear normal and to get the things done that need to be done. House cleaning. Laundry. Dish washing. Cooking.
Sometimes, like this weekend, I go through the struggles because I know I must and it will be better if I do, though no one knows how often I do my dishes or wash my clothes, my heavenly father seems. So I can spend hours painting or reading or embroidering, and that can pass the time in numbness and quiet and I can keep busy doing something creative at the same time.
I hope I will not always have to imitate. It is hard to see that right now, because my love, my sweet, my heart, is gone from my life. I miss my Randy every moment of every day. But I am ever reminded (and remind myself) that God is good, and God is faithful. Blessed be the name of the Lord. He is here, He knows, He understands, He hears, He sees.
I moved to my smaller apartment on the 23rd. It was just as stressful and exhausting as I thought it might be. All during that long, busy day when I would feel my feeling start to overwhelm me, a peace would come on me, and I would find a strength.
Have you ever felt what it was like to feel someone praying for you? Someone you asked to pray for you, and on the day and time you needed it, they prayed, and you felt it? I don’t know how to describe the feeling, but that is what I felt like all Friday.
The prayers of the people I know and who I asked to pray for me lifted me up and sustained me and strengthened me. God is good and God is faithful. Blessed be the name of the Lord.
When my dear wonderful husband passed away and I found out I would have to move to a smaller apartment, panic and stress set in. I thought I’d have to move in a month or two and I was soooo not ready to do that.
God intervened. God provided. In ways I’ve already outlined in previous blog posts. The two months I thought it would be stretched to almost six months now. I am still emotionally totally unready to do this, but that doesn’t really matter. The move is happening at the end of this week.
I have spent nearly six months crying out to God, pleading, seeking, asking, crying, stressed, anxious, unsure, crying, pleading, praying and …. repeat. I don’t know about you, but I talk about my emotions with God. I tell Him how I am feeling and what I am going through. Of course I know He already knows all this. But I guess I think a relationship with someone that has lasted over 30 years deserves honesty and transparency, and I don’t think He minds a bit that I unload on Him.
I trust God to take care of me. God promises many many times in the Bible to take care of and look after orphans and widows. He certainly has taken care of me long before I became a widow, and I don’t have any doubts that He will continue to do so. But not knowing where you are going to live or how much it will cost is kind of like living under an anvil that you don’t know when will drop. At least, for me it has been like that.
God knows I don’t want to move. God knows all the many faceted reasons why I don’t want to move. I thought I had help lined up, and it fell through and now I’m going to have to pay movers to move me. I’ve moving to the apartment in the building across from me; 10 steps away. And yet I have to pay movers to do that. And yet, because of the discount the property management company has given me these past 5 months (which I have no doubt is the favor of God) I have money saved. I will be carrying most of the things over myself since I’ll have a couple days off and can just do it myself. So I will actually only spend $200, maybe $300 total for the move. Which is cheap!
And so even though I am so emotional over this whole move process, I have no doubt at all that this whole thing is part of God’s plan for me. You can’t seek God and talk to God and ask God to lead you and guide you and direct you without accepting and acknowledging when He is moving in your life, and directing it according to His will. Do I really want God’s will for me? Even if I know it will mean moving and all the things that will entail? Yes. You bet. No doubt. I absolutely do. So I will cry over every box and cry myself to sleep every night, but I will haul those boxes and do the cleaning and fixing and putting away and arranging that needs to be done. Because I have no doubt it is God’s will for me, and He always has in mind for me what is the very best and right. If you remember, please pray for me this week. I need all the prayer support I can get.
A couple of Sundays ago we had a real move of the Holy Spirit at church, and I came away feeling just a tiny bit better as far as my grief goes.
By the grace of God (which I do not deserve) and His blessing (which I also do not deserve) I will be moving to a smaller apartment next month. It is in the same complex I’m in now — in fact, it is 10 steps away from where I live now. My rent will go down $800 a month, which is a HUGE help here in the San Francisco Bay Area. Have I said yet that I don’t deserve this?
When people ask how I am my standard response is “I’m still breathing in and out.” I know, as a Christian, I’m supposed to be saying something like, “Oh, I feel blessed!” or, “I feel good in the Lord today!” or something like that. And I may get there some day. But not today. And probably not tomorrow.
So until then, I keep breathing in and out.
A moon poem and two haikus. It helps take my mind off things. The images were pulled off the internet.
Gaze, frolic, cavort, dream, dance
Full moon moon madness
Gazing out window
Moonlight bathes in glowing light
Moon madness is real
What light through yonder window breaks?
It is the full moon, waking me from slumber.
Drawn, I gaze at the pearly light bathing the trees.
My feet move on their own, outside,
wanting to touch the silvery light.
Dancing, swaying, cavorting,
I am a little mad with full moon madness