(Partial retirement and a fate imposed loneliness; don’t tell me: a harsh blend to endure. But how I’m tackling it one day at a time, read on……)
At some point in all our lives, we all go through a dark tunnel of crisis. Wherein we see the days seemed to move in slow motion and dread the nights of sleeplessness. Unfairly treated, darkness entered my life too early when I lost my wife to cancer a year ago.
My wife and I were into teaching and school administration. She was a helpful interface between the teacher’s group and an impulsive nag – me. Both of us were busy with the academic days filled with stimulating events, enjoyable teaching assignments. The corridors were noisy, the classrooms lively, teachers helpful. And everything seemed as delightful, real, and so permanent.
Without warning two disasters raged into my peaceful existence and my profession. I saw a financial meltdown because of missteps in school administrative affairs. A few days of causal illness and few visits to the hospital revealed, my wife was suffering from an advanced stage in cancer. Various scans revealed it has spread to lymph nodes, liver, bones, and lungs.
I could save myself from financial hardships, but cancer didn’t spare my wife.
One year later, I’m happy that I’m out of my financial hiccups. However, I couldn’t block the pain of my wife’s absence. I would wake up every day to a strange emptiness of my own. You see me walking in empty rooms, trying to make out how to fill the bleak days.
From my second floor residence, I look over at my sprawling school campus. I have leased it out and now managed by a corporate entity. I find something inside me lost. Nothing stirs me whatsoever. Anything likened: empty old memories, the corridors brimming with the laughter of children. The intermittent clang of school bells, the sounds of footsteps filling the playground. I gloomily stare at them: no enthusiasm, no emotions, and no courage.
I say to myself, “I stay on like a broken-down car in a garage. As my morale to do anything academic had vanished along with my wife”.
For some time I opted out for teaching assignments to escape the spell of negative moods. Been faithful to teaching I tried coaching college students the English language. Neither the students nor the lecturers guiding them conveyed any interest. I even tried keen to explain a few tips and truths about good teaching practices in schools. But, annoyingly, I saw none turned up to listen to me.
My father who was a doctorate in Physics tended one remarkable routine. He used to spend all his leisure time reading and writing scientific articles in his cozy well-stacked library. I could see bulky scientific editions, magazines, reference books, way back in the 70’s; he got them shipped from the US. The habit stayed with him until his early demise at 55.
I imagined that I’m destined for a good fortune as the appetite for reading caught me up and transformed my lifestyle ever since. It was during those times when I handled my professional responsibilities after my father. Subsequently, two decades later, how I would absorb the aftershocks of my distraught life. I never realized that my passion for reading would turn out to become an emotional shock absorber. Well, my days were blessed shielded from one challenging pitfall after another.
The script of “How to survive a crisis” unwittingly my father would have left for me to pick up the morsels of grit. I received three decades ago, as a miracle armor. I assumed that my obsession with reading and teaching was his blessed gift. What I grew up watching him his silent resourceful habit. Later I came to see my fondness for books as a psychological army to battle against any hardships.
For many months after my wife’s fateful exit, nights were dreadful. Many negative thoughts assailed me; a kind of raw fear invaded me. Further, I saw a good number of my friends, close relatives while sympathizing with me, pulled away from me. Their visits limited and their calls fewer. Perhaps, they felt my negativeness contagious.
Quickly I learned this was not the way my life should go ahead. It wasn’t clear to me where should I start but deep inside a strong resolve started taking shape.
Like my father, I too enjoyed my sanctuary filled with books I have amassed since many years.
Books and reading never allowed killing my spirits. Things changed, friends left, life had been hard, but whatsoever my state of affairs books always a source of comfort for me. Whenever I read a book, I tell myself, “You see; I’m washed down by magic that helps me to discover a new me again and again.”
I held for so long an unfulfilled dream. I want to write. I want to write. I let this chant to ring loudly in me. It kept pushing me hard. Whenever I’m awake, and up every day I found myself raring to go, raring to write something.
I pushed away all my limping moods to type in anything that would hit my mind at any moment. I would rake over my brains, focused. I perspired seized by a strange inspiration and peacefulness as I looked at my first words popped up on the monitor.
I delved deep into myself, connect quickly with my past, and let myself unforgivingly honest at my faults. Whatever the emotions gushed out are not mere ideas or feelings. I saw them taking a life of their own as a description, a paragraph, a story, a memory. The new skill I’m living with every day astonished me.
Arranging the nostalgic memories in good enough plans saw me deeply engrossed. My mind shut the doors not to allow any negative views to seep in. As my resiliency affirmed itself once again, I’m set down to transcribe my truths and travails much swiftly.
Invigorated, I held my new identity as a source of creative interests, as I carried this daily experiment in my new life. I began to recall my past experiences with my wife in a readable document. One day, one folio at a time. And slowly I began to see a change, a modified positive view of my painful past events. Encouraged, I launched myself into daily writing schedules holding a new promise and fresh excitement.
Gently, I restrained my anxieties, handled my fears one day at a time. I’m now; therefore, able to appreciate my real goals, got a real idea of my essential nature. When imaginary tensions are on hold, I surprisingly started seeing me with a new insight. “Now my past is a blur of learnable lessons” that was my fresh viewpoint. I’m on a high that I could see my future distinct, colorful, with bigger dimensions, greater possibilities.
It’s hard to believe when my life assailed by so many hardships and many heartbreaks pulling behind. Would I see any possibility to restore calmness into my livelihood?
I fought back and eventually, I began, one day at a time, rendering my autobiographical sentiments into a precise manuscript. “What I’m, what’s that I need to chronicle about my past and major memories of my wife” I decided these impressions should fill my daily vows. I’m surprised how I persisted and kept myself engaged, but one thing I was sure; my hand was never tire of punching on the keyboard. “A divine hand is holding me to key on and giving me an inspirational pat.” One emotional flash crossed my mind.
I set out a monumental task before me; to publish my memoirs. What needed was only to do what is before me. I’m to write down my ideas. And do it one day at a time. When I stepped into the ‘magic of writing’ it allowed me to bring my full creative potential into readable form. I truly believed this was the key to my bouncing back to the charm of living in my quiet way.
Perhaps, I didn’t alter my living habits radically, but one day at a time I made small alterations at how I looked at my life. I sought myself to be flexible, dug deep into my core interests and I’m astonished how my days became rewarded and full of life.