Yesterday, was almost okay and I was, am, pretty okay with being almost okay. Since my husband died over two and a half weeks ago, I have not really gone out of the house by myself, without my kids as supports. I haven’t really done anything unrelated to Peter. And, I have canceled every single “date” made with a friend or family member.
I wasn’t ready to break out of my cacoon protecting me from the realities of the outside world. I was not ready to go out as a caterpillar – my metamorphosis is a loooong way off. I wasn’t ready to face friends who knew my story and knew Peter. I wasn’t ready to be sitting in a restaurant surrounded by people I didn’t know and cry. I just wasn’t ready. And because of all these reasons, I almost canceled yesterday, but I didn’t.
Rose has been my friend since I was five years old. Not an in and out friend, but a constant. We’ve been there through many goods, bads, and in-betweens. Rose knew me when I lost my first tooth, lost a 4H speech contest, lost a high school volleyball game, lost my second pregnancy and when I lost all my joy two and half weeks ago. There are not too many people who have these types of friendships and I am fortunate, so fortunate. Even while knowing this, I almost bailed on her yesterday.
I sent her a text letting her know I was running late. I hoped I would get a “wanna re-schedule” response to give me an opening. Instead, she text me a “okay, I’ll wait.” She would wait. For me. Like she has done for over fifty years. I knew canceling then was no longer an option.
When I first got to the restaurant and sat down, her immediate smile eased any tension, which led to our humorous banter that sometimes no one understands. I started to relax, and I actually start to enjoy myself. We reminisced, we gossiped, we talked about our kids, we shared advice and we laugh, a lot. When I did cry, and I cried a few times, Rose gave me permission. She said, “go ahead and cry; it’s only a restaurant.” And so I let the tears, some sobs, come. When I was ready to move on again, we back to other things – with so many years of friendship, there are so many “other things”. Our time together was like a Sunday drive on a smooth and open road, never stopping or slowing down and always comfortable.
When it was time to go, I gave her a hug, an “I love you”, and thanked her for giving a glimpse back into some sort of normalcy. Of course, it was my new normalcy, but for the first time since Peter’s death, I actually smiled and laughed – pure ones, not polite or strangled ones. Three hours of conversation, laughter, and tears gave me a sense, permission, to feel almost okay and that was almost damn okay. with me.
The rest of the day went better. My outing with Rose who is so much more than an old friend set my mood. I felt in a chilled, pretty, almost okay mood. I even had enough in me to reach out to people who had been trying to get a hold of me. If I had canceled on Rose, I would have never felt her love, her nonchalant attitude of my tears, her friendship and her constant. I would have been in the valley, not climbing any peak to get to her and all she had to offer, always had to offer.
Another friend who is on this widow road and has been there for me during the roughest of nights, messaged me last night asking how my day went. I recapped it for her, telling her I felt pretty, almost, okay. I won’t feel great or even myself again for a very long time, but yesterday, I felt almost okay. Her response was “it’s going to be peaks and valleys for a while but how fortunate you are to know that it’s possible to laugh again.” And she right. I am. Especially when I have a special person in my life for the past fifty-plus years waiting through it all with me.
I know I can have more of these days, with others, so many others, who love me. In fact, I scheduled two ‘dates’ with other friends. And I know I can do this because Rose took me there and showed me. It has been one of the greatest gifts she’s given me since Peter died. Thank you, kind, sweet, Rose.