The holidays are always an interesting time for widows. I guess it is for a lot of people. The holidays have become a time when people start thinking about other people they haven’t thought about all year. We remember those friends and families who have struggled or lost someone. People want to reach out and let us know they care and they are thinking about us. That is nice. There are other times throughout the year where that would be nice as well, but I digress.
The holidays have changed for us since Pat died. A little bit of the joy and wonder has disappeared and it has become more of a chaotic crunch time. A lot of rushing around to see people we haven’t seen and buy gifts for people and do all the traditions we want to save. There isn’t a lot of time to just sit and be in the wonder of the season like I think we did when Pat was alive and the kids were younger. Maybe it is just part of the kids growing up that has changed it as well, I don’t know.
For the past few years I have been trying to get my obligation of shopping out of the way early so that I could try to enjoy some time in the moment instead of running around with my head chopped off at the last-minute searching for a gift to give. I wanted some time to reflect on the year and the joy of the season. But this hasn’t been easy. So many things keep getting in the way.
One thing that isn’t getting in the way anymore is the grief of losing Pat. I think we have found our new place and our new normal and even though we miss him terribly…we have settled into our new lives. We have new routines, new ways of doing things and have started new traditions. Some we try to keep alive just because, but for the most part we have found a new way of living without him. That doesn’t take the pain away or make his memory disappear. It simply has given us a new start on our journey. I don’t think it is a new journey, it was just a huge fork in the road that we didn’t see coming. We never do when it comes to sickness and death.
I wish more than anything the course of my life wouldn’t have gone the way it did. I wish 5 years ago the doctor told us he had a stomach bug instead of cancer and life would have carried on as it was. I don’t get the privilege of that wish. I didn’t get to choose this direction or have any control over the circumstances that were handed to us. This is where I am and now I have choices. And I made a choice to live. To start over and begin again. Easy? Nope. But in my head I didn’t see any other choice.
So choices I made and changes I made and a new life is forming.
So, we are settling in. It’s been just over 3 1/2 years we have been living without Pat in our physical presence. I know he is with us in other ways every step of the way. His love and spirit has guided me in my choices and I am sure he would be happy that we are finding happiness. Sometimes the road is tough and the pain can be excruciating, but sometimes it leads us to amazing places and beautiful people. I feel good about settling in and I feel blessed for all that has come to us during this experience.