“There is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”- William Shakespeare
After the two-year mark of Peter’s death, I was hit with a profound sadness that I couldn’t overcome. The first year was spent just “getting through” the pain. The second year was struggling to absorb reality and its heartbreaking ramifications. But in the third year, I was knocked for a loop by a system-wide feeling of melancholy. I decided to try to discover why I was so blue. I know the obvious, that reality is even clearer after time passes, but somehow, I was letting negative emotions take over my sense of reason. I was tossing myself a pity party and indulging in the negative feelings that I would “always be alone.” These discouraging emotions were like little needy minions. They multiplied and insinuated themselves into my thought processes. They grumbled and mistreated the happier positive feelings, leaving no room for hope or even a scintilla of optimism. The minions of anxiety wanted to be heard, and they created an unhealthy atmosphere in my head. They took up residence in my brain leaving little room for anything but worry, sadness, and a pungent aroma of gloom. I was stuck in Mel Brooks movie, High Anxiety and unable to set myself free. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHrQC67aPBU
One day I realized that I had to keep these negative feelings in check. These unhopeful emotions were clearly clouding my vision and preventing positive sensations from developing. I had to push the minions of pessimism into a corral where I could cordon off their unsightly behavior and allow progressive and upbeat thinking to be nurtured. I basically had to rewire my brain and avoid the pitfalls of the path to gloom and doom. Once I had corralled the minions and put them in check, I decided to imagine a different scenario. The new scenario allowed me to have a glimmer of hope. I had to summon my favorite word “maybe,” and put a positive spin on my thoughts. I had to ask myself “what are the odds that you might find another relationship?” I had to admit to 50/50 or at least 40/60. Those odds struck a note of hopefulness in my head. Was it possible that maybe, I might find love again?
Then I added Peter to the mix. What would Peter be saying about this revolting development I was mired in? I decided to conjure up Peter and his wisdom and I began to fantasize about Peter being the arbiter and coordinator of my new hope. Peter was a list maker and organizer and would have strategized a plan of attack. Here is Peter’s imaginary letter to me as the best cheerleader ever, even in absentia:
You can do this! You must create a happy life for yourself. In your heart, you know that I am cheering you on to find joy. You go girl!
· Write about your feelings and see if you can better understand them. Remember to write on the computer because your handwriting sucks!
· Practice self-compassion and try to keep the minions of negative emotions at bay. Remember, I always thought you were hot! Keep that thought, my love.
· Ask your friends if they might know someone fabulous for you to date. At our age, that is basically anyone with a pulse. Just kidding!
· I know you hate the internet, but you need to put yourself out there. Sift through the dumpster diving and see if you can find someone special. Remember, no actors!
· Pat yourself on the back for at least trying to find someone on Match.com! But after listening to the podcast about the internet predator Dirty John, maybe dating websites might not be such a great idea. My bad.
· Every time you feel sad, remember the odds. You said there was a 50/50 chance so believe it.
· Be grateful for something, even if it is just a great hamburger.
· When you feel a sense of sadness creeping into your thoughts, remember that glimmer of hope and dangle it as a carrot to help steady your head.
· The world is full of karma. Do something kind to someone else, and you will receive good karma in return.
Know that I will always be in your heart forever.
Love, Your Petey
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