... when I'm just me, on my own.
Rediscovering, you might think. Perhaps, but not entirely. I have had very little time on my own in my 74 years, so whoever I was back then, I'm bound to be different now. The me I am discovering can't help but be formed in large part by the 20 years with Andrew as well as everything else that went before.
Then, I suppose there is a me that's always there, some core self which is not altered by the events of my life. (The poet is part of that core, I'd say: a constant, through everything, since I was a young child.) But I think the core and the external events — or at least the effects of them — all get mixed in together to make up what I experience as me.
And there are now the 18 months of widowhood too, and the changes and adjustments they have brought. I still tend to think as though everything stopped when he died. I want to speak of 'the last 20 years' of being married to him, as though the 18 months since had not even happened.
But they have happened, and they have been shaping me too, as the months ahead will also do. I know now which things may trigger sobs, and which probably won't. I've learned how to shop and cook for one. I have found out that there are things I do and don't want to eat now that I'm pleasing only myself, which are not quite as before. As there are shows I do or don't want to watch, and so on. Some preferences are just the same as before, but others are quite different.
I'm learning how I like to spend my time. Again, in many respects that's the same as ever, but not always.
My friends are my friends forever, but some I see less often now and some I see more of; just the way it's panning out.
It's been gradual, and it's still evolving, but I'm beginning to get a sense of this new me.