August 3, 2022
I made a promise to myself not to make any significant decisions during my first month of grieving for Pat. I had heard many stories about how people made bad choices during that time. I had also seen my brother-in-law Kevin spend foolishly, purchasing thousands of dollars’ worth of stones and trees shortly after his mother died. But I have been thinking seriously about what is and isn’t important to me now that I am living alone. I’ve been trying to think about what really matters most to me now, even as my tears still come unbidden every few hours. And I keep asking Pat for her counsel and comfort, for help continuing my life with her only in my heart.
This morning I called my good friend Rich Pfeiffer, the owner of the National Anger Management Association, to tell him I was resigning as Director of his Domestic Violence Offender Treatment Certification Program. Pat and I had developed that program; together we videotaped a training program for certificate seekers; I continued to supervise students all during Pat’s Lewy Body years. But focusing upon Pat’s needs left me without energy to research new developments in domestic violence treatment. I realize I simply don’t have the will, even now that Pat had passed away, to get up to speed. Fortunately, last year I recruited an excellent person to take my place, Charisa Richardson, and by now she is ready to assume all necessary duties. I felt particularly bad telling Rich because he had flown from his home in South Carolina to Eau Claire for Pat’s funeral. However, I was certain he’d understand, and he did; we agreed to keep up our friendship and I hope to visit him soon.
My second major decision is to keep writing the Lewy Body Dialogue blog. This isn’t an easy choice. I will be writing without Pat’s contributions. I’m unsure how I can keep writing a “dialogue” with only one person. But I feel a need to write. Writing is how I gain perspective on my experience. It helps me understand better what I am thinking and feeling. And, paradoxically, writing alone at my computer connects me to others, allowing me to share myself more openly than I usually do in person. So, I have begun a new section of the blog, entitled “Living Alone After Lewy Body.” I’ve written an introduction to the section already as well as a few chapters that I had composed on a tentative basis.
I believe these two decisions are good ones. It’s hard to be sure, given that I am still grieving. I have never felt the kind of emotional pain I’ve felt this last month, not even as Pat neared her death. Perhaps continuing the journal will ease my pain eventually; perhaps it will do just the opposite, trapping me in my sadness indefinitely. At any rate, these two decisions feel right and that’s about the best I can do right now.