I am beginning to wonder if grief has lowered my IQ by 20 points or so.
I am the guy people come to for advice. When somebody has a problem the first instinct of many is “I need to talk to Tim.” I have always prided myself on being able to see all sides of a situation and offer a balanced perspective. And, it’s not just that I can solve other people’s problems either. I am pretty self-reflective. I always thought I knew who I was, and with a little consideration, I could usually figure out the right course for me.
Grief has made me feel dumb.
Suddenly I am second-guessing everything. I am making more knee-jerk decisions than I ever have before and those uncanny instincts? I don’t seem to be able to trust them anymore.
One of my issues is related to the onliness/loneliness post of a couple of weeks ago. I am having trouble moving from a “we” to a “me.” I have suddenly realized I am not done grieving “we” because I am still putting experiences and decisions in the context of Jean and Tim. And the truth is that’s still comfortable. For a while I am okay with that but it makes me feel dumb because “we” and “me” are competing for that wise decision part of my brain.
We all futilely seek control and certainty in our lives. The truth is when you have been in a loving relationship for 40 years you have defined patterns for how you seek that control and certainty. Obviously Jean nor I ever found complete certainty and control but the years allowed us to build up something that felt like it. Our sense of partnership was crucial to that process.
Thinking things through with a “Tim and Jean” frame has been a successful approach for me for a long time. And yet, another part of me wants to think more broadly and think more about “me.” That battle leaves me confused, uncertain and, yes, dumb.
I think I have to learn to keep Jean in my heart while in my head I make decisions for Tim, my children and my friends. Easy to say…..