Well, I made it through my birthday weekend. The first birthday without Peter in the past thirty-plus years. The first of two, back-to-back, tough weekends. It was not a bad weekend. It was one spent walking on the streets of my new weekend digs, with a best friend who let me feel anything and everything I wanted to feel, with birthday wishes from so many people on my phone and heart, and with my caring, giving and empathetic children.
The weekend was not as tough as I thought it might be. That’s not to say I won’t feel it later. I mean, these past thirteen weeks have taught me about the unpredictability of grief. But today, and during the weekend, I was okay. I was maybe even a little beyond okay toward good.
I felt Peter with me this weekend. I wanted him there, live and in person, but I took what I could get. I took the memories of him, us, as I sat by the Millenium Park Bean, a place we visited a few times, or in the view of the lake, one of his favorite places. I remembered all the time of our downtown moments, some of my happiest with him. I saw him, or the spirit of him anyway, in a hawk gliding in the sky out my window on the 19th floor. Every time I see a hawk, I feel Peter.
And I felt Peter in our kids, in their love, empathy, and compassion for me on my birthday weekend. All of him tore in through the words they wrote in their cards to me, in the thoughtfulness – I mean, such thoughtfulness – in the gift they gave, and the cake from my favorite bakery in Chicago. They are Peter and my children. They are the best parts of both of us. They are what we made for the world. They are, will ever be, my reminder our love.
This weekend, I also enjoyed a part of myself I haven’t since Peter died, the romance writer in me. I worked on my book for over five hours this weekend and it felt great, damn great. I had put away my work-in-progress when Peter was killed. My muse had died with him, or so I thought. But really, like my love for Peter, my muse can’t die. So, I got my mojo back and I had fun. I escaped into the world I love so much and one I cannot be without for too long. My muse had some great welcome home moments for me.
This weekend, my tribe did not let me down, again. I spoke in previous posts about the four women in my life who have held me up, never dropped me, and continue to be my support. Sooo many good people have been there to support me. Too many to name and I am humbled by how much and how heart-felt. And these four ladies have been there during everything and came through again, filling up so much of the emptiness left in a first birthday without Peter. They understood. They came and they stayed through texts, messages, phone calls and, one of them, in person. I felt them. I knew they were there. And I will say this over and over and over again, I would NOT have gotten this far in my grief process if it weren’t for my tribe ladies. I just wouldn’t.
Finally, this weekend, I gave myself permission to feel better than okay. These past three months, I have allowed myself to feel every hard, soul-ripping, sad, despairing, feeling I had in me. I needed to in order to heal. It was necessary to fell the hard emotions that ate at me like battery acid. However, in doing so, I closed down the part of me who has to emerge. And, I admitted to myself this weekend, I do feel a tiny sliver of excitement, maybe even joy, from who and what I will become. Not from a life without Peter, but from me being able to rise and move with his absence. This weekend, as I walked through the streets near the place I will be living, the place I will have dual citizenship in, I felt Peter with me in every step as if he was giving strength to walk this path, alone.
I will forever miss Peter. This weekend, I said this aloud and in texts more than a few times, more than many times, I miss Peter. Because I do and I will. I will forever miss him. He was and will always be a part of me. He was, is, the reason I felt love, knew love, see love, write love.
As I move forward, with my writing, with my new home, with another year of life, Peter’s memories, his lessons in love, and his living forever in my heart, will propel me forward toward an emergence that is scary as hell, and better than okay…closer to good. And I know, this is what he truly wants of me, to keep going on…on my birthday weekend and for always.