Now that it’s been nearly two years since my husband died suddenly, I can look back on the challenges I faced learning to live alone — permanently.
I’d got used to my husband being away on business seventy percent of the time and enjoyed my solo time. But he always came home. Now he never would and, frankly, that took some getting used to. There are still a few things about it that I still find irritating, like rewiring a bedside lamp and taking the garbage out!
More seriously though, there are issues that I’m not sure I shall ever manage well. One is being unable to eat dinner with him and enjoy his conversation. Breakfast and lunch are okay because we rarely ate those meals together at home. But, dinner is empty and lonely. Not once have any friends asked me to join them for dinner in their homes or at restaurants over the past two years, and it’s a sad loss to me. I do eat out alone but only when I’m travelling. My daughter and her family do include me, but the rest of my relatives are in Ontario.
Another challenge is having to rely totally on myself when travelling, especially when arrangements go wrong. James was so well travelled that he would take over if a flight was cancelled, or we missed a train. Now, it’s up to me and I miss not having his knowledge and help.
On the upside, I give thanks daily for having some consuming interests in my life that I developed before I lost my husband. I have largely retired from my writing career, though I still do some, but I’ve stopped coaching and teaching. So, what did I do?
I was, and still am, a serious photographer. After about a year I decided to trade in all James’s camera gear for two brand new cameras that I had lusted after for a long time. I joined a camera club and began to stretch my skills. This meant, I met others with the same interest; I was able to go on photo field-trips; and I learned more about Photoshop. This gave me a reason to get up in the mornings and something to look forward to.
My other passion is golf and I continued to play. It got me out in the fresh air, gave me some exercise, and connected me with others. My golf partner and I always go to Palm Springs every November, and we flew off to eternal summer again the year I lost my husband. I felt that my life was settling down again into its yearly routine.
There were still big decisions to be made in my life that would change it again (more later), but I was on a stable path and becoming contented alone.
© Julie H. Ferguson 2017
Vancouver-based Julie H. Ferguson is an addicted traveler who is intensely interested in the history and culture of foreign lands, as well as Canada, and her stories and images reflect this focus. Julie never leaves home without her cameras and voice recorder, always looking for the colour and sounds that captivate readers everywhere.
A non-fiction writer for forty-five years and an avid photographer, Julie is also the author of twenty-six books, including four about Canadian naval and church history, six for writers, and sixteen photo portfolios. Her articles have appeared in national and international markets, both print and online, and her images have been exhibited, published, and sold.