I open my eyes and see the popcorn ceiling with it’s dimpled surface. The bed under me might be comfortable to most, but I have “Arthur” (arthritis) bad in my back and nothing has felt comfortable for quite some time. I turn my face slowly to the right and am met with a deflated sheet; plain and cold looking. I used to tear up each morning when I looked that way because for fifty-one years, that now empty flat sheet was filled with my warm, best friend and love of my life. It’s been 5 years now, and no, I’m still not “over it.” Hell, I’m not even in our home; the home we paid off, painted, gardened, and raised our family in. I’m here in this popcorn ceilinged square called apartment 202, in the “wisdom wing.” Clever.
So I lie here in bed thinking, “What now.” But no one answers.
I say aloud, “does anyone know who I am? What I did in my life? Did I do it right?” Still, no answer.
I think to myself, “what will I be remembered for?” and a wave of I should have’s and what if’s comes crashing down on me to the point where guilt, regret, loss, and worry swallow me up as I realize I don’t like what I’m seeing. I’ve been doing that a lot lately, now that I’m 80 years old, widowed and stripped of the life I worked so hard for…
This story echoes the sentiments of many of my clients. We do things in life based on what we know at the time, or sometimes it’s because of who we were at the time. Regardless, we all look back now and then and scrutinize the path we’ve led, especially when that number we call “age” starts creeping to greater heights. Sometimes we look back and are happy with what we see; and sometimes what we see stops us in our tracks. It becomes like shackles on our wrists… we can’t move. The past is hard enough to stomach, but the future seems just as hard or even harder to swallow.
This “look back” is what we call “life review,” and it can be very daunting to handle because as it implies, it’s a review of your whole life! That’s a lifetime of decisions, changes, growth, and events to digest. I’m here to suggest that your life review doesn’t have to be daunting and it doesn’t have to signify the “end game.” Your life review can be a time of closure, celebration, and hope. Make your life review an affirmation of life.
Image source – Pixabay