So yesterday was my birthday. My last first since Pat died. It wasn’t so bad. I laughed…a lot. It was a good day. I was able to see it as it was, my birthday. Not the same as my birthday use to be with Pat, but I have to say it was a happy birthday. What I realized on this day is that it was the last first. I have survived 365 days of firsts without my husband. I lived 52 weeks without him. A year ago, I didn’t think I was going to make it 1 week. I didn’t want to. I couldn’t imagine breathing without him, let alone laughing as I did yesterday. They say time heals all things…I don’t agree with that, but it helps. Now, today is a different story for me. Today is the beginning of my second year without him and to most people, the day he died. I know different. I was there. He died at 11:53 pm April 5. But today is the day everyone knew he was gone; that his beautiful soul had left this earth. Today is harder for me than yesterday.
Monday felt like New Years Eve for me…The day before my new year is beginning. A day to reflect on the past year and all that I have accomplished. How eye-opening that can be. It was a hell of a year in the Ol’ Mahoney household. We have been through quite a lot. But what I discovered was that we are doing good. We are finding our way and we are learning to live again. Last year I made a promise to myself and to Pat that I would have no regrets. I would live life the way I wanted…freely. I wasn’t going to let anything hold me back and I was going to follow my heart. Pat told me to do whatever I wanted to do…not to let anything stop me from being happy. I agreed to this. It is what I want. It is what I am doing. Not everyone understands how and why I am making the decisions I am making in my life, and that’s okay. It’s not for them to understand. I have a new perspective on life. I want to live, be happy, explore and find adventure. I want to be while I can be. I can’t continue down the same path in life I was on a year ago, because to be honest I am not that same person. Pat’s death has brought me the gift of living my life for living. Not for making a living. Pat wanted to live a different life than the path we were on, but he wanted to make me happy. He did what he thought he was supposed to do in order to take care of me and our children. But he was a free spirit. He had what some people, even me at times, thought were wild dreams. He wanted more than the everyday rat race.
So on the day of my last first without my love, I went to the cemetery for a little heart to heart with Pat. I thanked him for showing me true love and for teaching me how to truly love another. Without him, I wouldn’t be able to love again, which I know is possible. I told him that I love him and miss him and how sad I am that he missed this year, but I also told him about my plans. That I am excited about who I am now. That I am pressing on and living life and finding happiness. And I know he is happy about that. I talked to him about all that I’ve learned in this past year and I talked about his death not being in vain. That was a big thing with me as he died. I didn’t want it to be for nothing. I thought that meant that I had to establish some foundation in his name, or work on raising funds to discover a new treatment or cure for his disease…something monumental like that in order to fill that need to not have his death be in vain. But I was wrong. What I need to do, what I am going to do, is to live my life on my terms. Following my heart, listening to my gut and finding that peace and contentment that is available to us on this earth. The world has so much to offer us, and we only have a limited amount of time to embrace it. I’m going for it. I am not simply taking the next step on this journey, but I am running full steam ahead into the unknown and jumping in with both feet. I am not going to let other people or fear hold me back from living as I want to live.
A year ago, I was terrified of the future. Not able to wrap my brain around why this had happened to me and how I was going to survive without Pat. It’s not what I want to do, but it is what I have to do. I will always love him. His soul and mine are connected forever. But it isn’t the end of my journey….just the end of the path I was on with him. I have been standing at the fork in the road; one way keeping me marinating in the pain and loss of losing the most important person in my world and the other way leading me on to something new…maybe even something more amazing. Who knows what life is going to bring? I am taking that running start and heading down this new road and I can’t wait to see where I end up. If this past year has taught me anything it is that you just never know. One year ago today, we all learned of Pat’s journey ending, and I thought that meant mine was too. That just isn’t so.
So if you are wondering how I am and how the boys are doing, I will tell you with all honesty…we are happy 98% of the time. We struggle, we cry, we lose sight of what is important, but who doesn’t? We work through it, we love each other and we remember Pat. We remember him as he was and we smile and we laugh. We are good. 365 days ago I didn’t think that would be where we could be. I’m happy to say I was wrong. There is no need to feel bad for us, or worry about us or think we have it rough. We just are. We are just finding our way in search of happiness like everyone else. We just are lucky enough to have a guardian angel looking out for us. He always has our back. No it’s not the same as him being here to wrap his arms around us, but that’s not our reality. I am comforted in knowing that he lives in our heart and minds and he will never be forgotten.
I am who I am because of him. My boys are who they are because of him. What better gift could I ask for on my birthday….his love forever.