Sunday, I had my book signing. Normally a book signing is in conjunction with the book’s release date, but you know, normal doesn’t happen in my life anymore. When the book was released, widow’s fog was so thick in my life, just to see the step ahead proved to be a chore. I struggled coping with everyday life, let alone putting together a book signing. Plus, the idea back then of seeing people, greeting people, putting on a happy face for people, seemed like the most cumbersome task I could ever imagine, like a marathon I wasn’t trained to run. So, I didn’t do it. I couldn’t do it.
I knew there was a risk to push back a book signing. In the competitive world of writing, where authors are crammed into a space only a few are able rise up in, I made a choice to delay the momentum. Three months after a book’s release date is difficult in a short attention spanned world. Yet, I did, push it back, to a place where my fog has lessened and I am able to see so much more in front of me. I decided to allow the Universe do Its thing, and worked on releasing my apathy towards life, including an accomplishment of a second book.
Even today, two days after the event, I am still in wonderment by the friend who came running to help me achieve a successful day. Some even knocked over other plans to get to me. I don’t know if I can fully grasp their support for me which may explain why words of gratitude don’t seem enough, and I search for more. Sometimes, because of my insecurities since Peter died, and to be real, insecurities I have battled with all my life, I feel undeserving of such friendships. Damn my insecurities. I’ll be victorious over all of you one day!
Besides the friends helping me setup, take down and give time to the book signing, the turnout of people astounded me. There weren’t throngs, battling for spots in line. There wasn’t a constant flow of people. What there were people who supported me on a deep, personal level. There were my core friends who would have been there if I wrote two pages let alone an entire book. There were nieces, nephews, great niece and nephew who expressed pride for their old aunt which humbled me. There was my sister who came in from a town four hours away on a gloomy afternoon with her husband, both telling me they will do anything for me, and I believe them. There were my college buddies, my community friends, two beta readers for this book (also great people/friends), and friends I made at church and old jobs, all there expressing excitement and support for my book…for me. There were Peter’s cousins and his twin who drove far to show their support and, indirectly, their remembrance of Peter. Full disclosure – I only cried once and that’s when I saw Peter’s twin. God, the twin connection goes beyond what just the two of them shared. It seeps into his once existence. And then there was my son, who stayed by my side the entire side, asking me if I need anything, shaking every hand of the people I introduced and being the man I knew him to be – kind, gracious and respectful. I saw so much of Peter in him.
There were people who couldn’t make it due to the crappy weather, illnesses that slow people down this time of the year, transportation issues, family commitments, previous plans, and other valid reasons. In particular, my daughter who lives five and half hours away didn’t make it because I actually told to stay home as ice storms, rain and snow were on the radar for the weekend. Peter’s death always plays in the back of my mind with caution. I missed her the most. BUT, despite their absence, texts and phone calls of support and congratulations flew in with remarkable unexpectancy, leaving me deeply touched.
At night, with the day behind me and exhaustion seeping into every crease it could reach in me, I sat on my couch, surrounded by the deafening silence of solitude, and cried. I cried first and foremost for Peter. I wanted him so bad, it pained me. I needed him so bad. I needed and wanted to snuggle into him, recap the day and share my feelings in long, drawn out conversations. I cried from the debt I owed all the good people in my life who continually fill up the empty space Peter’s death left and continue to hold me up so I won’t fall. Their unselfish love and support encompassed me so fully, it was all too much and I needed to cry it out. I cried because I felt pangs of pride rising in me from places I can’t name because I never had them there before and it felt strange, and it felt good. My writing has always been part of who I am and now, with a second book out and this blog, it is blooming inside of me. I am believing in it and it frightens me. For a half hour, I let the sobs wrench my body and release the overwhelming sadness of Peter, the gratitude of the people in my life and the uneasiness of my beginning.
Since Peter died, I haven’t had too many moments where I felt blessed, where I felt God working. Since Peter died, I’ve had too many moments of anger and despair. And yes, it is all part of grief. And yes, they’ll come again. If this reluctant journey of widowhood has showed me anything over and over, it’s that Grief takes brief moments of reprieve, but always comes back in billows of pain. It’s too early to expect less. When the tides do come crashing in now, I can gripe on tight to my anchor of blessings, and yell at Grief, “I will not drown in you because I am still living!” And when I do, I will picture Peter’s crooked smile and hear his quiet voice say, ‘yes, you are, so live it well‘.