I am lonely since my wife of 53 years passed on. But I am not alone. My children and grandchildren were with me constantly for the first two weeks. While the company was greatly appreciated there came a point where I needed to be alone to deal with my grief in the quiet of the house we shared.
Before she passed away, my usual pattern was to get up early and write, so my mornings started without her. Then she would get up, turn off the candle night light by the door, and we would talk for the rest of the morning if I didn’t have a class to teach or we weren’t going to one of her chemo treatments. That is the way we spent our lives for the last few years.
Now it’s quiet most of the time. I am trying to put a new life together without losing the best parts of my old life. I spend a lot of time painting, sorting and praying. Some days I paint through the hours and other days not at all.
My table and hutch are full of papers from where I am trying to find things and determine what bills need to be paid. This mirrors the fragmentation in my thinking. Quite honestly, without my older son’s help I would be a lot worse off.
My prayers are directed toward our entire family and friends. Prayer has become a mainstay of all of this quiet time. It is the foundation of my own healing process, and sometimes prayer goes hand in hand with tears. I do believe I have the clearest eyes and nasal passages in the country right now, but as we know that too is part of the grieving process.
Another way I am trying to heal is by teaching. Throughout my wife’s illness, I had kept my art classes active at the Madison County Senior Center. Many of the people there have already experienced what I’m going through now and they have been a great help to me through this time. I also want to resume my classes at the prison. I took a leave of absence from them when my wife was reaching the end, but now I’m ready to return. I also plan to be more active with the London Visual Arts Guild, especially with evening and weekend classes.
God has said that He would not give us more than we can bear alone but lately he has really been pushing my personal limits. To combat the loneliness I feel I’m focusing on my writing, painting, teaching and a lot of praying.
Harry Croghan is an artist, photographer, writer and teacher. He can be reached at 740-852-4906 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.