“It’s no use going back, because I was a different person then.”
So says Alice in Wonderland. And after the nightmare fuel she went through, who can blame her?
Surviving a traumatic episode in life is a lot like falling down the rabbit hole, without the tea parties and funny drunken mice. Everything is upside-down. Nothing is in the place you expect it to be. One minute you are the frightened white rabbit, the next you’re the Queen of Hearts roaring, “Off with his head!”
Loss is a little word with endless meanings. You lose a loved one. (Not really. You know where they are, don’t you? It would be more accurate to say that they left you.) You might lose your mind. Or your keys. Sometimes it’s the same thing. But when you’ve lost a part of yourself it is a very strange feeling indeed.
When my marriage ended and my connection to the only person on the planet who shared my memories of our children, I hit a dead end. We had traveled this road together, however bumpy, and it suddenly ended in a brick wall. Or a cliff. I had to back track and pick up a part of the trail I was familiar with and go off in a new direction.
The problem is, there aren’t any road signs and I have no idea where the road leads.
But it comes with a surprise. The person that I thought I was is gone. And while I’m becoming a different person, I’m also more of the person I used to be, or should have been. It’s very Alice.
I’m picking up old hobbies. Revisiting books I haven’t thought about in years. Rearranging my iPod with playlists only I want to hear. I don’t go places I don’t want to go. I don’t listen to people I don’t like. I can always find the remote because it’s right where I left it…by my chair. And I watch whatever I want to on TV, whenever I want to. And no one can stop me.
Now I’m just somebody that I used to know.
Admittedly, not everyone cares for the new me. I’ve lost all my previous close friends, except one. And she’s had a close death, too, so we kind of get each other. But nobody else seems able to handle the new/old me. I’ve made all new friends. All damaged by life, or with an extraordinary capacity for empathy. They make no demands. We none of us have patience for frivolous people. It’s marvelous.
I may be traveling this new road alone, but I sure like the company.