I’ve been spending time with my father. He is a fairly recent widower; his wife died, not too long ago. Which means I lost my mother, not too long ago. I am now a motherless child.
It was a very good strong marriage, one that lasted for decades and decades and decades.
I have seen him going through the process of grief. Does one ever come out the other side of this kind of grief? I don’t know. He has powered on, bravely and independently.
Here is what I’ve learned on this visit.
Humans are wired to be part of a ‘we’. What grief and anguish you must feel when being ‘we’ was for so long a part of the fabric of your life. What anguish you must feel when you are no longer a ‘we’, but now an ‘I’.
He lives alone now. During my visit I saw how the ‘we’ lifted his spirits. He was able to tell other people some stories about what ‘we’ (he and I) did during the day. The trips we took, etc. And it seemed to give him solace. I am certainly not my mother, though as a daughter I am part of the family ‘we’. I learned that I can give love and sustenance in providing company, and creating ‘we’ experiences.
I realized during this visit, that humans ALL need to be a part of a ‘we’. Not just one version of a ‘we’, but many shades of ‘we’. Whether as a group, a fraternity, a club – or as a couple. We thrive on community, we wither and die without it.
In my early days of sobriety, I found solace in ‘I’, and feared to venture out to find any sort of ‘we’. I have come to realize that locking myself away is not the answer – and so I will now actively seek ‘we’ in this big bad world. Reconnecting, and not losing my humanity and need for others.