B has a book called "A Good Day" by Kevin Henkes. It was one of a handful of books we took on our trip to Mexico in April 2008, the trip where T died less than a week after our return. It has a great story line, in which four little animals each suffer (suffers?) a disappointment, and each overcomes to turn a bad day into a good day. Even before T died, my favorite was Little Brown Squirrel's experience: she dropped her nut, but then found the biggest nut ever. Sometimes you have to let go of something good to make room for something even better.
I loved T with all my heart, but he wasn't always the easiest to live with. In the words of my grief support group counselor, our marriage was sometimes like a really cute shoe that was about 1/2 size too small. Over time, it's just not completely comfortable. T had a hard time letting go of control of things, and was very skilled at subtle techniques that kept me a little off balance. I would wonder if he really loved me. I would strive to please him so he wouldn't roll his eyes, interrupt me, or give me "the look". I experienced him as not always appreciating the parts of me that felt the most me: singing to the radio, working to understand myself better, trying to be compassionate toward others.
A silver lining in this terrible storm cloud I'm living under is that I am no longer wearing that really cute, slightly too small shoe. I can stretch out, relax, breath, and totally be myself without fear of censure or the pain of feeling diminished. Of course, there were so many good parts to our marriage -- the companionship on all our great adventure traveling, the partnership of loving and caring for children together, the comfort in sharing a home and a future. He was a truly good man, and he truly loved me.
But the nut of our marriage was snatched out of my hands. (Does that analogy work?) Now I have the opportunity to find "the biggest nut ever", a man and a marriage that fits me, especially the me I am becoming, better. It won't necessarily be easy, and it certainly isn't a certainty, but it is a possibility. I hold on to that promise and think of Little Brown Squirrel, and how you have to let go to turn a bad day into a good day.