Happy Independence to Us All

Photo by Anna-Louise on Pexels.com

Happy Independence Day! Peter loved the 4th. He dug the parades, the beer tent volunteering with me and bumping into people in our small town’s festivities. He adored sound and beauty of fireworks. Above all, he loved, LOVED, loved being together as a family. He held the excitement of a child on Christmas because the 4th was Peter’s Christmas.

It’s odd going on without him on this holiday. Last year, I could barely move, let alone go to any celebration. This year COVID hit and spoiled everyone’s plan. One of the reasons I renewed my lease at Discovery was to witness the spectacular show Chicago puts on. Peter and I actually went to Chicago’s 4th of July when I was in my first trimester of pregnancy with my daughter. My nausea ruined most of it for me. Yet I do remember the brilliance of the event and the joy in Peter’s eyes. That’s when I knew. The 4th was always going to special to him, to me, to the family we were beginning to create.

Truth be told, I am kind of glad the fireworks, the parades, and hometown’s festivities have been canceled. I’m not sure if I could have celebrated any of it. Of course, with this town I live in, this wonderful supportive town, I probably would be held up. Still, Peter’s absence would hang on me like an unwanted albatross I’m not sure how to move yet with that. I might have figured it out, or avoided the day, or gone downtown to celebrate differently. I don’t know as it didn’t happen. The 4th as we knew it was canceled.

It’s appropriate this week was the week I signed a contract to build a house. It seems fitting I am in the final stages of getting my house ready to be put on the market. These have been my own independent steps. To build new and sell old are great ways to move on my own. The house being built is symbolic of my desire to start over. The house I will sell needs to be shed in order for me to emerge differently, anew. For some, hanging on to what they could helped them get through widowhood. For me, letting go feels right. Sure it will be painful and difficult to release in order to move ahead, yet it all seems right.

I am not over-the-moon excited about building. I don’t get overly excited anymore. Peter’s death has me now looking over my shoulder for another one of Life’s shoes to drop down and smash my soul. Years will change this PTSD of mine, I’m sure. Or maybe my definition of excitement and my reactions to it will change. And that’s okay. For now, I have a peace in what I’m doing, a peace my heart hasn’t felt in some time. If I had to explain this peace, I would describe it as contentment in what is right for me, for now. Now is all that’s promised so I may as well go with it. I feel Peter would have been supportive of this. He, of all the people I have ever known, would not want me to stand still because of him. Hell, Peter hated his picture taken let alone any attention on him…let alone being the reason I didn’t continue on.

So, this 4th of July may not have the parades, the hometown festivities, or the fireworks Peter adored. His Christmas won’t be the same. For me, it’ll never be the same. But what this Independence Day holds for me is the start of an emergence. The letting go of parts of us, of Peter and me, I can no longer hold, not if I want to grasp for the future. It’s marks for me the start in acknowledging I have to move on in my life, my life without him. I know it has to happen. And I know Peter, in his other place, the place is good soul continues on, is cheering me on like any explosion in the sky.

Happy 4th of July to you all. Stay well and stay safe.