One thing that is both extremely helpful, yet quite unnerving, that seems to have happened over the last couple of years, is an apparent ability to detach myself from the emotion and heartache of losing Renee. Particularly when talking about it.
Now this may sound crass, or a even a little cold hearted, but I can assure you it is merely a survival technique that becomes necessary if you want to make even the most feeble attempts at happiness.
You see moving away from everything and everyone that I knew, and indeed knew me, I naturally had to go through the introduction process with people I met anew. Over and over again, telling the same story, which of course garnered the same sympathetic and heartfelt reactions. Which I must admit, I still find hard to handle to this very day.
And just like learning lines for a public speech or play, I found I was able to rattle off the elevator pitch style recount of the whole journey with less raw emotion bubbling to the surface each and every time.
Fast forward a couple of years, and the ability to detach myself from the ever present sadness and grief that forever burbles under the surface, has become an unlikely saviour of sorts and a definite boon to my search for happiness.
It doesn’t mean that in my own space and when the times arise, that I don’t shed a tear or ten. It just means that in day to day life, particularly when around other people, I can be who I truly am without fear of breaking down in a sobbing mess or having those horrible pitying looks cast my way.
Call it compartmentalising, call it whatever you want, it’s something I am grateful for and I know others in similar boats are too.
Because regardless of the horror that was losing my wife, regardless of the often hard-arsed job I now have ahead of me trying to raise our two little humans, there is, as far as I can see, only two ways forward.
I can choose to be a victim of my circumstances and cry woe is me at every turn, or I can choose to forge ahead and have a good solid crack at being happy.
And surprise surprise, I choose happy.
I choose so not because the pain and sorrow is lessening over time, and not because I am trying to move on and forget. No, I choose happiness as an end goal, because I am lucky to be here. Because I am lucky to have my two gorgeous if not, um, “trying” children. I am lucky to be a somewhat fit and healthy 44 year old man living in the best country on earth.
Because so many others in this world simply don’t get a choice.
And if I chose not to take advantage of my fortuitous situation and live it to the fullest, that would be a slap in their face and would dishonour the memory of Renee and all she gave me.
So if I seem to be all happy and carefree at times it is not because I am “healed” or have “moved on”. It is because I have chosen to mourn and remember in private and am trying my hardest to make a happy, beautiful and concious life for me and the rats, I mean children.
And being able to turn off the waterworks at will is helping.