Living In The In-Between – Lockdown Edition
by Susan J. Elliott, J.D., M.Ed.
Attorney, Author, Therapist, Podcaster, Motivational Speaker, Media Commentator AND Creator of the Getting Past Your Breakup Program, the world's most successful "healing after a breakup" program. Go to Program Resources(above) to find out more about the program.
Getting Past Your Breakup: How To Turn A Devastating Loss Into The Best Thing That Ever Happened To You (Hachette Book Group 2009)
Getting Back Out There: Secrets to Successful Dating and Finding Real Love After the Big Breakup (Hachette Book Group 2015)
Getting Past Your Past Workbook: The Definitive Workbook to Emotional Healing, Health and Happiness (La Bella Vita Publishing 2012)
GPYP Power! Affirmations (La Bella Vita Publishing 2019)
Backstory: this was one of the first posts on the blog in 2006 and I made sure it was one of the first ones reposted when the blog was redone last year. I have rerun it many times upon request.
It’s been 14 years since it first appeared, and it continues to be instructive. When I first wrote this, my husband was alive and well and I was happy and our lives were good. He became ill in 2008 and passed away 11 months later. I refer to the process of caring for him, in his terminal illness, as “The Long Goodbye.” It was excruciating and traumatizing, but I knew, from having weathered so much before I met him, that I could do it, I could be alone. I would be okay. It was hard, very hard, to care for him and to be there and make sure he was comfortable and all his needs were met and he felt loved. This was my first priority.
His hospice nurse said to me, many times, I’ve never seen such love between two people.” Yes, it was there. Love is an action. The last words we ever said to each other were, “I love you,” and we had shown it – every single day of our relationship…it was in full bloom and on full display the entire time. (if you want to read the blog I kept during his illness and death, it is HERE.)
But as I cared for him, I knew, deep inside, I was losing the only person who had ever been there for me. The only person to have been in my corner and to have loved me and protected me with all his might. It was a hard truth to face every day while I cared for him and had to let go, bit by crushing bit.
It was excruciating.
Every single day – at least once a day – I would be hit with the truth – that he was leaving me – and I would have to flee the room and go have a cry in a corner. He would call out, even when he could barely talk, “Are you okay, hon?” I would croak out, “Yes, hon, I’ll be right there.” Wipe my tears and go back to caring for him. Oh my that was SO FNG HARD. But each day, I would tell myself that this was hard, very hard, but I KNEW how to do this and I WOULD do it, damn it. I would.
This is a lesson you MUST learn before taking a big step with a partner later on. It’s important to the “picking healthy” process.
As we enter another week in the pandemic, it’s important to understand how we are learning and growing through forced and voluntary isolation. This is another of the “make peace with the peace” posts. It’s SO important.
We become very strong when we weather storms on our own. Whatever you are doing to stay strong now will serve you very very well in the future. I hope you find something useful here. Be well. YOU CAN DO THIS!!!
Living in the In-Between
When I was in graduate school, I was changing my life as were many fellow “adult learners” as we night program students were called. To help some of us deal with our new position in life as “students” when most of us worked full time and had kids, we had a required course called “Lifelong Learning.” It was a great course designed to get us comfortable with being students (most of us were in our 30s) and with each other. And it really helped a lot.
One of the inspirational stories likened our situation to a trapeze artist. At some point in a trapeze you are suspended in midair after letting go of the one swing and before you grab hold of the other. That moment of suspension is often what living in uncertainty is like. You’ve already ‘let go’ of something but have not yet grabbed, safely, the new thing. Will you get where you want to go or will be challenges or detours? Will you fall? If you do, will there be a net to catch you? Will you grab the new swing? And if so, will you understand the triumph?
When I first started this process I had no faith and no patience. I didn’t know where I was going or if there would be any there when I got there. I had NO idea that any of this worked and if it did work, would it work for me?
I teach what I know and I know this stuff works. It’s worked for me and it’s worked for others. But the uncertainty is a challenge that we all face along the way. This post is for those times. (Note: April 2020 – this is DEFINITELY one of those times!)