And so it begins. The kick-off to the Holiday Season, the time I will have to push myself more, through the “Happy Thanksgiving”s, and the “Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays”. I will live with the pit in my stomach threatening to release itself through sobs, or the heaviness hanging like the darkest of storms brewing. Sure, Thanksgiving is still a few days away, but this week jump starts all the memories of preparation – the kids being home, the pies being baked, the turkey defrosting, the last-minute runs to the grocery stores and the start of how to decorate for the Holidays discussions. It feels like it starts today and I am trying to push it back like a fifteen-ton truck coming on at me in a snow storm.
If I were asked to give an example of grief, I would tell this one. In one week, I put myself out there, getting haircuts and pedicures, going to trivia night, having a cocktail, watching a parade and fireworks with a wonderful friend, and buying gifts. I moved despite my loss of him. Then, overnight, I wake up and feel the onset of the Holidays. And this cloud of sadness hangs over me, pelting me down with memories I struggle to handle because it reminds me of the absence of him. I went from feeling pretty good about my accomplishments, embracing the thoughts of him, to sorrow filling my chest where my heart is, and feeling the loss of him, of me because of him. And I know it’s all from looking at this next month where everyone is supposed to be happy and carefree, where I was once happy and carefree, and knowing the struggles I will face.
After almost five months, I know I am stronger than I have been since this whole nightmare started, maybe even, in some ways, more than ever before. I have faced the biggest challenges of my life and moved despite them. There is so much I am proud of in myself, and I know my self-pride will keep me moving. Still, today, this morning, I am dreading the upcoming months and all the memories it will open, pour salt on a still-healing wound.
I still think there will be moments this holiday where I may feel a spark of the magic I once felt. It may be just an amber. And I know the spark will only be a tease. Grief does this to me. It gives me glimpses into my eventuality and then slams it shut as fast as it opens it. The Holidays will be a beautiful one to look at though, so I will marvel in the time Grief allows.
People keep telling me, “it’s still early”, “it hasn’t been that long”, “this is normal”, ‘just get through the Holidays’. They’re not wrong, yet it doesn’t take away any pain, any impatience, any can-I-just-feel-normal-again moments. And yes, I know. People offer these from the well-meaning places in their hearts. And I appreciate and honor their hearts. Part of me though wants to say to some of them, you have never walked in my path of widowhood sprung on me with an abruptness you will never understand. I don’t though. That’s the anger speaking. They don’t deserve any of it. So, I save it for my blogs. Sigh.
I will move on through the Holidays, despite the bolder in my belly, the cloud over my head and Grief’s chokehold on me. I will move through it the way I have moved through these past months with caution, in sadness, and acknowledging how far I moved. I know I will have moments, okay ones and good ones, and I will look to those as a way to push back against the pain. I will be like a marathon runner, breathing in the heaviness of the air, with a throat filled with dryness, and yet keep on keeping on through the wishes of “Happy Thanksgiving” and “Merry Christmas”. And as I do so, I will feel Peter’s encouragement, knowing this is what he would have wanted, to keep on moving.