I have been told that the things that I write are too dark and angry. I guess that sometimes that is true…but mostly because I stick to writing when I “need” to. I don’t feel obligated to do it weekly, or even monthly. I just write when either my head or my heart feels like it is going to explode from what it contains. So that’s my apology in a way…I am just being real with myself when I write.
The first year after Michael died it was very easy to forget everything and everyone and just fold into myself. I was perfectly happy living in my grief. I was perfectly happy to keep everyone at an arms length. Even during the second year I did this a lot. I still really wasn’t ready to open my heart too much, I was content with myself, my kids, and trying to figure out starting a new relationship. I entered my third year of this journey a year into a wonderful relationship (engaged!!!!), but still just not where I was ready to make friends or rejoin old friends. A lot of people directly and indirectly made my life hard. Their judgements and misunderstandings about my heart made it difficult for me to want to talk to anyone. Some how people got the idea that I should be alone, that me moving forward with someone was wrong. Or maybe it was just that it was Frank and he was misunderstood (as a player), when in fact he was just someone in search of his “person”, a person who would fill his heart (turns out that was me!!!!!). Had I not moved forward eventually I think people would have been trying to get me there on their own. It’s funny how no matter what you do, people think you should do the opposite.
Anywho!!! Last October I made my first real attempt at stepping out. In the process I met, or got to know better, some lovely ladies who just so happen to be widows like me. We are all at different stages in our journeys. I think I may be the only one locally that is engaged…but that’s okay. We all have this understanding that we are going to do things our own way and if no one else likes it or will support us, we will support each other. These are the girls I call (okay, fine, we all know I only know how to text) when I am at my bottom, laying in my closet crying. Or when I am feeling a little off, or when something happens with Frank’s stinky job, or when I am happy. Eventually we will go our separate ways (some already have) but I know they are there and I can grab on to them any time I need them.
In December I took another step. I went to an AWP event in Austin, TX. It was a good experience, but one that I am not sure I was ready for. I am cynical, about everything, so I am sure that contributes to my feelings…but even though my heart and my mind were not ready I again met some people that revealed how abnormally normal women like me really are. We all have our quirks, we all have our ups and downs, but in the end we are all human. My weekend in Austin gave me a look at life away from the kids for the first time. I am grateful for that glimpse.
In February I took another step!!! I know, look at me go! I went to Paris, France! I think the most difficult part of my experience there was meshing with people I didn’t know much about and riding the Metro!!! The subway system totally freaks me out! I enjoyed myself though. I spent some time alone and it was good and exhilarating. I ate the best damn french fries in the world. Had the worst coffee ever and ate way too much cheese!!! When I was at Versailles walking around Marie Antoinette’s massive estate I felt more alone, yet more at peace than I have felt since Michael died. The reality of how alone Michael initially left me in this world weighed on me. Until that moment in those gardens I felt abandoned. I felt like my soul was gone, my best friend was gone, and I was never going to be complete again. But when I looked around at the beauty in front of me…the farm houses were deteriorated and imperfect but still beautiful and I thought of myself. I couldn’t help but think “LOOK HOW FAR I HAVE COME!!!!!” both literally and not so literally…I almost missed my tram out of the gardens because I was crying so hard missing him and thinking about my struggles and the great relationship that I have that I wasn’t valuing enough…that I couldn’t figure out my left from my right. When I got back to the apartment (and to my very worried roomies for the week-SORRY LADIES) I felt better than I have in a long time. When I talked to Frank later I cried again…for a lot of reasons…none that matter today…and looking back I am just grateful someone (God…whoever…whatever) sent him to me to be my comfort, my rock, and YES my best friend. I wouldn’t want it any other way. I realized there that day that while Michael was gone, I wasn’t missing everything that I thought I was. I had it again, just wrapped in a very different package. I will always love two men in my heart…one that is gone from this world and one that is here now…and I can’t let my grief take over the good I have in my life today.
In the last month I have made great strides…I have made new friends. And I like it. I have ran into people and talked to people and got things off of my chest that I needed to. I have gained insight and understanding into the misgivings that people had about Frank and I…and oddly I understand them! BUT…I am so glad they can see things even a little differently now. When it comes down to it Michael would want me to be moving forward. He wouldn’t want my entire life defined by his death. I dare say that I even think he would be happy with my choice of a partner and Dad for our children. Frank is a wonderful, loving man. That is who he is in his heart…not because he chose to battle this life with me…that is just who he is. I absolutely love him to pieces. (I’d say to death…but maybe that is a little morbid now or uncomfortable for others…oh well, I guess I said it anyway). I have settled on the “job” (not really a job in my eyes) I will enjoy once the children all start school. I am happy. I might not run around the streets screaming it or smile 75% of the time or use the word “AMAZING!!!” to describe everything, but I am happy. I am in a good place, a place with struggles, but a good place. I’m a new me. A me I am proud of. A me Frank is proud of. A me the kids can be proud of. And a me I think Michael would be proud of. If people can’t see that today…maybe tomorrow they will. Maybe tomorrow they will try and understand me, the way I am, maybe tomorrow they will accept me and my life…but if they don’t that’s okay. I am happy being the me that I am and I don’t want to be anyone else.
That’s all for now…