Reflecting on lessons of life, love and loss
This weekend I am down at the coast with a very special group of friends who have traveled with me throughout my adult life. We have come together for all of our life moments – the good and the bad. This weekend is for a happy occasion, a 50th birthday.
I love being with these guys and I have been looking forward to spending time with them, as we laugh, chat about life, share our thoughts and of course solve all the social and economic problems of the world and we do this all in a matter of a few hours.
Sometimes being with these guys can be a little bittersweet, as Paul was very much a part of this circle of friends and his absence is always felt amongst us when we gather together – this weekend for me I feel his absence immensely as my wedding anniversary is approaching on Tuesday and it is always a time where I start to think and feel all that we shared in our marriage.
This year it will be my 4th anniversary without him – which in itself is hard to believe that it has been three and half years since I have spoken with him, laughed with him and felt the warmth of his embrace and love.
Much has happened over the last few years and there have been so many times I have needed his wisdom to help me to piece back together a life and family that was left so shattered and broken.
When the accident happened I had no idea where to begin, my entire identity was intertwined with this man, we met at 17 and were joined at the hip from that moment on – never Shelley Myatt – always Paul and Shelley Myatt. We grew up together, created our family and travelled the roller coaster of life side by side. Every decision I made I ran by him – he was my sounding board and the one person I could count on, trust and rely on implicitly – he truly was my everything and I know that is how he felt about me as well. We were the perfect couple together and a fantastic fit to share a life together – I was one lucky girl.
So when Paul died I was so lost – I had no idea who I was, no longer “Paul and Shelley Myatt”- but Shelley Myatt bereaved wife, bereaved mother and mother to three grieving children who were also broken and lost.
Where do you begin in this situation – for me I just had to fight like I had never fought before, I had to reach down deep within and find courage and strength that I never even knew existed within me, and try to survive and show my family a way forward.
From the moment of the accident all I have ever really wanted was for my children to come through this experience OK; for them to be able to have time to grieve, heal, to achieve their life goals – but most of all I have desired for them to feel joy and happiness again.
For me I have had no real plan except that along the way I might find Shelley Myatt – which now on reflection on this anniversary – I think she may have emerged and I wonder just what Paul would have thought of his girl now and all that she has had to do over the last few years to create a new life – I hope he would be proud of me as I have tried so hard to honour us as a couple and our mutual beliefs along the way.
I know that my family have come a long way over the last three years – we have ridden the waves of grief together and held each other tight on so many occasions. Now I can see changes happening with the kids – the girls especially are beginning to move forward, moving out of home, relationships, and their studies and careers going well – I feel it is time to take a deep breath and start to think about what I need to keep my healing and life travelling ahead.
Finally I am ready to take some big steps I have needed to take for some time - but have felt unable to do so until now, as it has means letting go and saying goodbye to some of the my past - I have been sorting through Paul and Imogen’s belongings – deciding to sell the family home and make a fresh start (coming to the realization that no matter what I do with the home I just can’t shake the feeling that they should be there). These have been emotional decision to make but I know that holding onto the past will eventually hold me back from healing and finding happiness again.
Looking back over the last few years, it has been the most difficult and challenging experience I have ever had to face – there have been times I thought I would fall down and not get back up again – but I did - and I am still here living, and appreciating life. My spirit is still strong, I am passionate, my heart still loves big, my compassion for others is stronger - but most of all I am determined to never ever give up!
There is a whole lot of living to be done and I know Paul is there in my heart urging me to make sure the kids and I do for him, for Bella, for Imogen but most of all to do it for ourselves.
Shelley Myatt is the owner and operator of Shelley Myatt Fitness and Well-Being, Columnist, Life Coach & Motivational Speaker based in Toowoomba, Qld.