“The wheels are spinning in my head all the time.” ~ Justin Berfield
In the past few weeks people have been telling me that I look happier and smile more than I have in a long time. I think they are right. I have been ridding myself of some wasted emotional energy, setting new goals and feeling less sorry for myself. My mind’s wheels have been turning.
So many of my posts have been about my grief – and recently I’ve been reflecting on his experience in the last years of his life. As long as I knew him, he was strong, self-confident and virtually fearless. Of course his career, personal and health challenges stressed him. Long before we came together he developed coping skills which brought him some measure of calmness: clearing his mind while motorcycling and sweating out his stress through sports. Time with family and good friends also brought him joy and release.
An amazing man.
Besides knee replacements and assorted other surgeries, Rick’s bladder was poked, prodded, scraped and ultimately removed over the course of our marriage. How many of us could experience all this and not lose some zest for life? (Certainly not I!) While he was positive and upbeat with me and others, I now wonder if I failed him. Did he put on a smiling face while inside he was filled with anxiety? Were there times when he would have unburdened himself to me if I wasn’t so frightened myself? Why couldn’t I set my self-centered terror aside and focus all of my energy on Rick when he needed me most – when he could no longer use his well-honed coping skills?
In addition to this rotation of thought towards Rick’s experience more than my loss, I sometimes wonder if he would be pleased with the new life I’m building. I’d give anything to talk with him and get his input on the choices and decisions I’ve made. There are some undoubtedly which would annoy him beyond measure, but for the most part, I believe he would be supportive. Dragon boat racing, playing mahjong and writing would be viewed positively; the increased closeness within his family would delight him.
Rick taught his daughters how to maintain their car, including their wheels. They know how to check tire pressure and change a car tire; I never learned from my father or even their father. Earlier this week the low tire pressure indicator lit up on my car’s dashboard. After verifying the process with a neighbor, I found a tire gauge, checked each tire’s pressure and then used the dusty compressor in my garage to fill the tires up to the target psi.
If ever there was a time to hear a chuckle and a “Good job” from above, that would have been one of them!