For the past ten weeks, ever since I left my father’s house to the new owners, I’ve been living off the kindness of friends. My homelessness wouldn’t have been a problem except that my car is at the auto body shop being restored. (I’ve had the thing for 43 years, and apparently I’m not yet ready to give up on the old bug.) The job that was supposed to take three weeks has now taken three months and it’s still not done. (Maybe by the end of this month I’ll have it back. Maybe.) A car would have given me more options, including, of course, taking off on an adventure. Even knowing the truth about how long the restoration was going to take would have given me options. I could have taken a freighter to New Zealand and Australia without having to worry about where to store my car in my absence since it would have been with the auto body guy.
At first, it was fun living a borrowed life, sometimes as a guest, sometimes as a housesitter, but all of a sudden, it’s become . . . well, dangerous. Not physically dangerous. Mentally dangerous. Although I have been welcomed wherever I have stayed, and although people are glad to do what they can for me, it’s apparent I add complications to their lives. Even more, I’m beginning to feel as if I don’t belong here. Not just “here” meaning where I am staying, but here on Earth. As if I’m superfluous. Nobody is making me feel this way, you understand. It’s something in me making me feel this way. (That everyone I have stayed with is married and very settled makes my unsettledness feel even more unsettling by comparison.)
It’s strange (or perhaps not so strange) that I never felt as if I didn’t belong when Jeff was alive, though I often felt that way before we met. And now . . . well, the feeling is something I am struggling with, one of the last lingering effects of my grief. (Wanting to go home to him is still prevalent, but that is an adjunct to the whole “not belonging” thing.) Needing to feel as if I belong is one of the main reasons I wanted to take an epic walk — I hoped it would help me feel connected to the earth in a more fundamental way.
When the last of my housesitting ventures is finished, if my car is still out of commission, I’m going to . . . do something. Take a bus trip, maybe — go to the bus station and board the first bus going anywhere. Or perhaps by then I’ll have found a room to use as a hub for my adventures. Or I could start writing another book. (People keep telling me I need to write, and I suppose that’s true. Although being just another author among millions makes me feel as superfluous as everything else, at least when I’m writing I don’t think about it.)
Meantime, I’ll just settle back into my unsettledness, and keep finding the fun in this unsettling transitional period.
(I sound ungrateful, don’t I? But I’m not. I’m truly grateful for my friends and their kindnesses.)
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.
July 2, 2015 at 9:26 pm
Buses come here all the time. Or close. 😀
July 5, 2015 at 6:01 pm
July 3, 2015 at 6:58 am
We need to work the trip to Florida into your schedule…
July 3, 2015 at 7:27 pm
I’m feeling restless for you! Hope you can move forward soon!
July 5, 2015 at 5:30 pm
Pat, I am so sorry for you feelings of not belonging anywhere. In reading your post and talking to another person who is 2 years a widow (I hate that word) she uses the phrase, we have lost our “person”. That phrase seems to fit perfectly your last two post concerning your feeling of being lost in this HUGE WORLD. You are so right that it is a couples world. When I see a couple just holding hands my heart feels an overwhelming since of emptiness. My heart goes out to you in this situation. I will hope and pray your car and life find there way back to you and that you can start on your grand adventure soon. Keep dancing and maybe start writting again, although blogging is certainly a great form of the written word. I have obseved that there are very few books devoted totally to grief—–which is such a long a sad and lonely journey. Find your smile!
July 5, 2015 at 5:49 pm
I thought I was over the couple-pain, but apparently, grief is revisiting some of its old haunts. I’ve noticed that change brings things back, and I am definitely going through another changeover. Even if my car isn’t finished in two weeks, I’m going to do some adventuring. I need to offset some of this unbelongingness. (Not a word, but it should be.)
I hope you’re finding your own smiles. (I love that — “find your smile.”)
July 20, 2015 at 9:39 pm
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