Yesterday, for reasons which I will not disclose, I had a chance to consider this question. If I had to go through the grieving process over Ginny again, is there anything that I would do differently? The mere fact that I asked myself this question is unusual. I tend not to look back on things and consider how I might do them differently. The reason is obvious, I can’t go back even if I would like to, so the best I could do is admit to making a mistake and take note of it for the future.
Regardless of the fact that this is not something I ordinarily reflect on, I did so and this is how I feel. I would not do anything fundamentally different knowing how things would turn out. I would still have avoided company on my birthday, I still would have stayed off social media for a time and I still would have kept to myself.
If I were going to do any aspect of that process differently, I would have started it sooner. I would have broken my New Year’s Eve tradition with friends. Perhaps if I had done that and spent that time grieving, I would have exited the process sooner but my first birthday without her was going to be difficult regardless of how much I prepared for it. So even in this instance, maybe I would have withdrawn myself earlier but that does not guarantee that anything else would have changed as a result.
Ultimately, I came to the conclusion that I did the right thing for me because I was the only one who knew what was truly going on in my head. For example, on my birthday, someone suggested several things that they and I could do together as a distraction. I rejected all of them. One of their suggestions was that we go out for coffee.
How did I almost react when I saw that text? My first instinct was to reply and inform them that if they knew anything about me they would know that I hate coffee and would never go out for it. Nevermind that going out for coffee didn’t mean that I would actually have to drink coffee but that was my earliest reaction.
I was able to avoid sending that particular text in reply and did not tell them until the next day that I would be declining their offer of company as I had done with others and as I would do again later. I told that person the truth which that my emotions were all over the map and that seeing them in particular would not have been a good idea. I told them that it was unlikely that either of us would have had a good time and that I probably would not have treated them very well. I knew the person I was capable of being and made sure to do whatever it took to avoid being that guy.
Perhaps by turning them down in a forceful manner, I upset them. Well, if that is so then I am sorry but if simply declining their company upset them then the truth is they were going to be upset either way.
So no, I wouldn’t have done anything different. If I hadn’t written about my grief and my struggles, I probably wouldn’t have met No Passing Fancy and the goodness of that outweighs any bad thing that may have come about because of my decision to keep to myself.
It does help that other people have told me that I did the right thing but if they hadn’t, I would still feel this way. We all must deal with grief in our own way and how we handle grief is not necessarily going to be the same each time we are forced to deal with it. There’s no sure thing that says I will grieve in the future the same way I grieved over Ginny. So at least in one case, I am confident that I made the right choice.