I’ve written a series of posts here about my wife, Leslie’s, death and how I’ve coped with her loss. I feel like I should conclude this somehow but am not sure how. July 3 marked the one year anniversary of her death. I marked it with family and friends over a few days then went off to Italy for a month. As I look back, it appears that I made a kind of project out of it in that, for the year following Les’ death, I did my best to experience that loss and everything that came along with it as deeply and in as many ways as I could. I did several types of therapy, personal growth seminars, healing ceremonies … whatever I could think of. I said yes to most things that came my way and tried to stay open to whatever came at me. I fell in and out of love and learned that relationships don’t have to have the boundaries I usually contain them with.
The second part of the project was to start having new experiences as a person who is in the world alone. Alone in that, although I have friends and family, my life is no longer shared. The month in Italy was the first step in that.
The year of grieving, as I wrote in earlier posts, was tumultuous and both painful and expansive. I grew and unconcealed parts of me that were buried inside for a long time. I think, in many ways, I realized that I’m the person Les always saw in me and have become better able to see that in myself.
Learning to be myself for myself is something I still grapple with and have been keeping in mind the question, can I be enough for myself? Can I find everything I need to be happy inside me? I get disappointed in my self when I feel a longing for something outside. I can usually let go of it and return to the present but longing for something, something I can’t quite describe, revisits me often. The solitude I hated earlier, I’ve learned to love at the same time that I crave connection with others.
I didn’t used to think I was much of a people person but I know that’s not true now. The reason I’m still alive is the people I love. My fondest memories of this past year and my time in Italy are of the beautiful and interesting people who’ve entered or passed through my life.
6 thoughts on “Life goes on?”
Bill, you write with such clarity. While it may not seem to be to you, it definitely comes across as clear thinking to me.
The painting is phenomenal. The back drop and the contract create such drama. great piece.
A lesson for us all Bill. Appreciate you sharing your thoughts as well as your art.
Bill, Great painting. The light is fantastic!! And the writing… Gosh, you are so lucid. I wish I could reach out and touch you. Let me know if you want to get together sometime. Jer
As usual your way with words on bereavement closely echoes my own thoughts. I too have learned that one (one!) can live alone without going into total meltdown but really sharing life with a soulmate is preferable.
Love your work – esp the outdoor ones such as the bridge, view down a street, plus urban scene entitled ‘Thinking of you ‘ v poignant and evocative.
Yes! As usual, great paintings and great words – echoing my own experience of bereavement and living life alone – we all need a soulmate and to also remember ‘no man is an island’
Am also a great admirer of your titles – descriptive/ straightforward / no nonsense no pretence.
I like your paintings a lot. I also appreciate your insights about loss. Thanks for taking the time.