Monday, February 20, 2012

20th February

Yes today really did feel like long and muddy walk, at times rather hard work. I started the day with determined plans to go swimming, but from the outset I just felt far too exhausted to even consider it. I persevered with tidying up downstairs and sorting the cat out and decided that I really should go swimming. Then I started feeling dizzy with exhaustion. Ugh! But I have to go if I’m ever going to break the cycle of fatigue leading to inactivity, leading to weakness, and then I’m tired after the slightest exertion. I’m still relatively strong and fit but I would soon lose that if I gave up trying. And everything about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome says ‘give up’. I refuse to do that, so as soon as the pendulum of determination swung in the right direction, I simply hopped in my car and drove to the swimming baths. And I managed 24 lengths which I was quite chuffed about, especially as I felt fine afterwards. Indeed I felt so good that I knocked ill health and fatigue completely on the head by walking the long walk at Kedleston after lunch. That’s when my rather uninspiring muddy picture was taken. And this evening I still feel fine. But it sure was a bit of a slog, just not giving in to the easy option of rest and relaxation.

Anyway, I enjoyed the exercise which in a funny sort of way mirrored the perseverance needed to deal with the challenging thoughts I’ve been dealing with. Of course I’ve been thinking about Jane and grateful to have unthinkingly chosen a private changing cubicle at the swimming baths. I normally brave it out in the public area which I don’t really like… far too many naked men for comfort there. I’m shy. However in the brief privacy as I undressed, I started crying, thinking of Jane and the times we’d gone swimming together. And I remembered the communal changing rooms we’d sometimes encountered away from Derby, where everyone used cubicles for privacy, so Jane and I would occasionally share one together. That was much more pleasing on the eye and far less threatening than a men only changing room!

For the rest of the morning I remembered some of the things that have gone from my life, and kept getting upset. But then I went on my walk and started thinking things through. I found myself asking an interesting question… ‘How much am I really missing Jane, compared with missing the life I lived with her?’ The point is, Jane has gone, can’t come back and obviously I miss her. And I get upset about that, but not as upset as a few months ago. I’m beginning to heal as I walk through my time of mourning, and I’m getting used to her not being with me. Being alone is not impossible, just very hard. But what about the life I shared with her, the things we enjoyed doing together? Well for starters I get to walk in the countryside far more often than when Jane was with me, and I enjoy that, so that’s good. My son is turning into a very accomplished cook, which Jane was, so I’m being fed quite nicely, at least at weekends, so that’s good. I still get to go camping and now I can go whenever I want, so that’s good. But these things are but the tip of an iceberg, as there are so many activities which Jane usually suggested we do and now I just don’t think about doing them.

But I could, there’s no reason why not, as I just have to get used to doing things alone. I don’t find that so easy I have to admit, as even on my regular visits to Kedleston Hall, the vast majority of visitors are either couples or family groups. A painful reminder of loss. Nonetheless I have something to start thinking about, actively considering possibilities for re-engaging in lost pleasures. I’ll have to venture out to an art gallery sometime soon, maybe tour a nearby historic house. What about the cinema or even the playhouse? I think I’d draw the line at going out for a meal as that would be weird. It all feels like walking through mud though, but somehow I will persevere with these small steps and my life will continue with a renewal of quality and creative activity. For sure most things I’ve ever done are still available… ok I know I can’t go swimming with a beautiful woman anymore! But there’s a whole world waiting to be explored. I’ve just got to get used to being alone.

Deuteronomy 31:6 ‘Your God, the Lord himself, will be with you. He will not fail you or abandon you.’ (GNT)

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