I get so much positive inspiration when reading other’s blogs – the positive attitude when facing an illness; the ability to see the silver lining in the crisis. (You guys know who you are – thank you!) This post is unfortunately not going to be positive inspiration. I discovered that when “life happens”, I reverted to old habits – the selfish ego focus, the negative emotional swirl, and the escapism eating.
Retirement is not always days and weeks filled with happiness and joy.
My husband’s sister died unexpectedly last week. She was only 61. She retired just 4 years ago. She was not sick, did not have cancer, wasn’t overweight, didn’t smoke. In fact, she had a post-retirement identity she loved, multiple passions/hobbies, and a huge set of social support connections from long term friendships to a loving family. She dearly loved her grandkids and spent tons of time with them; she was planning her only daughter’s wedding. She was doing all the things the research/books say to have a long, successful retirement. And then, she died in her sleep on a Wednesday night. She was only 61.
At the visitation and funeral there were so many of her friends and family there – second cousins, childhood friends, old co-workers, new volunteer co-workers. Her visitation spread out over 4 rooms at the funeral home; she filled the church for the funeral mass.
And my egocentric negativity kicked in – If she was doing it all right, what’s my shot at “making it”? I don’t have my post-retirement identity figured out nor do I have a strong social connection network. Who would show up for me? Would I have enough people to even fill the slots at a mass of Christian burial – the readers, Eucharistic ministers, and pallbearers? Will I wake up tomorrow without a husband? Will he wake up tomorrow without a wife? Will I regret not having done things on my bucket list with him if he’s gone tomorrow? Will he know how to manage things if I’m gone? Who will stand by him in his grief?
All that inner mind questioning means I’m not sleeping well, and have no energy for things. So, I’m not moving and short tempered and escaping into food – a 5-pound weight gain in a week. And the negativity spirals – I’m angry and afraid and fat and not very proud of how I so quickly reverted to bad habits.
I know I need to process through the grief.
I know I need to not compare myself to others (and come up short).
I know I need to get back to living everyday, joyfully. We obviously are not promised a tomorrow – today is all we have.
I know I need a kick in the butt (from some of you) and a big hug (from others) – so thanks in advance for that!
Life happened… and it threw me for a huge loop.
Picture Credit: Pixabay