Where Do I Go From Here?

June 26, 2006

It has been almost nine months since my wife died and I am finding my thoughts turning more and more towards the future. What's next? Who will I become in the next year? Five years? Decade? It is hard to contemplate, and even harder to visualize as real.

For some time now I have found my thoughts straying towards the future. At first I resisted such thoughts as they felt like a betrayal of Michele. Over time, however, I have come to understand that not pursuing these thoughts is a betrayal of myself. Michele would be sorely upset were I to betray myself in any fashion. So I sit and think about what's next.

The odd part is that I imagine having a conversation with Michele about my future. She was the consummate listener and was able to hear what I wasn't saying just as loudly as she could hear what I was saying. Her counsel was full of wisdom and humor and in my imaginary conversations with her I hear faint echos of her sage advice.

Rejoining a martial arts dojo is a step forward, and one that brings me into contact with other people. Allowing myself to participate in social activities with co-workers and friends is also a step forward. Initiating some of those activities is a huge step forward. Perhaps the most powerful and self-validating thing I have done is to allow myself permission to rejoin the mainstream of life. Tentatively, cautiously, but still back in the flow. I know I'll revisit the eddies of grief and sorrow for some time to come, but only by letting go of the rocks can I float free in life's stream once again.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.