I've written about losing Robert to multiple myeloma last August and taken you with me on many of my steps forward. I return today, six months after Robert's death, to check in with you again. You have been marvelous, posting comments here and emailing me privately with your warm messages and your stories.
If you're a new blog reader, I'll update you briefly. Yes, this blog is -- almost all of the time -- about sex and aging. The reason I wrote Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After Sixty and started this blog was because I found great love in later life -- I was 57 and Robert was 64 when we met. My work changed from writing about health & fitness to writing and speaking about sex after 60. I decided to face full-on and speak out loud against our society's stereotype of older-age sex/love/dating as unseemly and icky.
Robert and I had seven years together from first kiss to last and I still feel him with me, especially when I teach my line dance class, where we met and where we continued to dance.
I'm dedicating whatever it takes to the process of grieving and moving through grief. Here are some of the tools and helpers I've found since I last wrote Discoveries Helping Me Move Through Grief three months ago. In case this helps you or lets you help someone else, I share them with you:
I've learned plenty from the counselors from both Hospice (Rick Hobbs) and Kaiser (Connie Kellogg) and although sometimes I entered their quiet rooms thinking I'd never stop crying, they accepted me with compassion and skillfully taught me ways to cope.
I took an amazing full-day workshop from Joe Hanson, author of Soaring Into Acceptance (available from the author). Among many gifts of that day, I was able to change my one-sentence "story" from "I lost the love of my life, and my life is and will be empty without him," to "I found the love of my life and learned how to experience love fully, and I take this with me on my path." (Joe will be repeating this valuable workshop, "The Power of Acceptance," on Saturday, Feb. 28, 2009, in Larkspur, CA, near San Francisco. I heartily recommend it.)
I'm in a Hospice spousal bereavement group. The best part is getting to know other people who experienced the same kind of loss at roughly the same time. Because of the confidentiality of the group, I can't disclose much about it, except that it's helping me move forward. I recommend taking advantage of everything Hospice has to offer.
I've continued to reach out to loved ones and to new friends and welcome them into my heart. Being close to people who understand me balances my need for a lot of solitude. Extending help to others who need it balances the help I need to accept from others.
Each month gets a little easier.
Yes, I'll write that next book. Writing still brings me joy, and I'm no less committed to the mission I've established here. For now, I'll continue to indulge in short spurts of writing and when I'm ready, I'll take on the book I've been planning for more than a year.
Thank you for your compassion and confidences. Keep those comments and emails coming, even if I'm not as quick to answer as you came to expect.