This past week a question was proposed to me that has had my mind spinning ever since. I have thought and thought about the answer and how it pertains to my life and I am unhappy to say I am struggling with this one. The question was how does living for the moment and finding my path correlate? How can you live in the moment and still seek a path and follow a plan? Since I can’t think this one through, please bear with me as I try to write my way through. Sometimes this works better for me.
Ever since Pat died…actually ever since Pat got sick, I have had a new perspective on life. My focus and understanding of the world has changed. I understand we only have a limited amount of time on this earth and I want to do with that time all that I can do. I don’t want to just sit and wait for time to pass me by with some days, or in ten years, or when I retire. I want to live and feel and be…NOW. I want to enjoy every second and do what I want to do during the time I have. I don’t know what tomorrow brings, or if it will even come. I am trying to follow my heart and make decisions on what feels right for me and my boys. Some of the decisions may seem a bit crazy, but I don’t want to be stuck in five, or ten years from now thinking I wish I would have. So I am trying to live for the moment and just be.
BUT…I am also searching for a new path; a new direction; a new purpose in life. Can I have both? I think I can. Yes, I want to be in the moment and live it how I want to live it, but I am human and I want more. I want to feel a purpose. I want to know that I have meaning. This could be to someone, or something. I want to share my life and build it with hopes and dreams for the future, but that doesn’t mean I have to wait to try to live those hopes and dreams. I think my idea of living in the moment with a path for the future means that I want to do all that I want to do now….not someday. If I want to write a book, then I want to do it now, not when the kids are older. If I want to travel and see the world, then I want to do it now,not when I have more money or I am more settled…that may never happen. There is never enough. If I want to spend time with someone, I want to do it now….not in ten years. I don’t want my life to be a destination, an end game or the plan for the future. I want it to be my life that I am living. Not I am living to have someday.
I get I can’t do it all or have it all today, right this moment. But I can do with my time all that I want to do. I don’t need to spend my time wasting away on wishes or some days. I know there is no guarantee for tomorrow, but I do have dreams and I see a path before me. I just want to live along the path and not just ride the escalator of life until I get to the point where it “makes sense” to start living the life I want to live. I think I can do both of living in the moment while setting out on a new path. The point is I want to live and I think that is what is most important here. Whether or not I decide to wait ten years before I do that, or start right this minute is up to me. I have to decide what this means and it doesn’t really matter what anyone else thinks of that decision. I think the beginning of my journey on this so-called new path of mine was the choice to continue to live forward. After that I can either decide to truly live or continue to wait in the waiting room for life to come my way. I don’t know about you, but I want to get out there and do it now. I could wait for something better, or a better time, or a better situation to make others happy, but perhaps all that really is telling me is that isn’t what is best for me. Because what is best for me is what makes me happy, what makes me a better mom to my boys and what will continue to lead me down the path of my life. I don’t want to find happiness….I want to live in it. There it is. That makes sense to me.
So I guess that’s my answer.
Another father’s day has come and gone. This year the boys and I headed out-of-town for some fun times instead of our visit to the cemetery. The boys keep telling me Daddy’s not really there, but for me the cemetery is my special place with him. When I really need to have a heart to heart with Pat, that’s where I go. Last year I would go every day. I couldn’t handle not being with him. We had never spent more than three days apart from one another until he had gotten sick and I wasn’t going to let that happen. As time went by I started going less and less. I could feel him with me everywhere I went and so I don’t need to go to that place in order to be with him.
The kids hate going. Absolutely hate it. We went to the cemetery last father’s day and we went for Pat’s birthday and both times were a complete disaster. The visits focus on the pain that we all feel each and every day. That’s not what we want to do. Our feelings of loss don’t go away. We are very aware of what we no longer have. Instead we want to carry the memories of Pat with us as we live our lives. That is how we can carry him with us and he lives on.
So, this year no visit to the cemetery. Some may say that is terrible. I see families who spend the day at the cemetary together and I think that is great for them. But not for us. We spent the day in the sun, being together, making new memories. We said Happy Father’s Day to Pat and said a prayer together. We talked about our favorite memories with him and then we let it be. We went on with our day. Yes, he was in our heart and our minds…it doesn’t take a day like Father’s Day to have that happen. We do that everyday.
I am usually anxious before holidays like this, because I don’t know how the kids are going to handle it. Typically they are fine, but you never know when something is going to trigger one of them. This year, my boys showed me that they are just like their father…true warriors. They are strong, and proud and want to live. Yes they are sad. Yes they miss their daddy desperately. But this isn’t the end of their happiness. They are living forward as well.
They have had to adjust to me as mom and dad. And I apologize for being a crappy father to them. It’s out of my realm of knowledge. But I keep trying. And when I can’t handle the dad role, I find a friend who can step in and help. So far so good. I guess that’s all I can ask for. Three boys with smiles on their faces loving life in honor of their daddy.
It is springtime. A time when a lot of people are doing a clean out of their homes; trying to get organized and to declutter to start the new season. I have taken this on as well. I need a fresh start; a new beginning. I am not simply meaning the stuff in my home, but also a thorough cleansing of my body, mind and soul. This has been one hell of a year. So much has taken place and so much has changed. I am left with remnants of emotions, pain, uncertainty, fear, anxiety and doubt. I have all the dreams and hopes for the future life I thought I would have, and who I thought I was. They all still linger around me holding me down. Physically I have everything left from my life with Pat. All his belongings, his things, his stuff. They have taken over my garage and my home, my thoughts. I need to make room for the future. But still they sit because they are his. They are his belongings, all that is left of him physically on this earth. But they are not him. Getting rid of these “things” is not getting rid of him or the memories of him. They are not our love or our life together. All of that resides in my heart and mind and they can’t be taken from me. Some people in my life are having trouble with the idea of me letting go of the “stuff” in my house that I had in my previous life. That’s what I call it. It’s not my life anymore. I am not that person anymore. Just as so many do, I thought my life with him was the life I was going to live forever, but that just ain’t so. Trying to keep living that way is pointless and painful. It only leads me to heartache and loneliness. I need to keep moving forward and moving forward means into my new life. I am growing into that new life. I am forging new paths and discovering new things and laying out a plan of what I want out of life now. Pat was the love of my life; my former life. That can’t be changed, or erased, or forgotten. It will always be. But this is my new life. My second chapter. He isn’t gone from me, but yet he is not the co-author of this new story. This one is on me. The page is blank and anything is possible. I know he will be there to guide me along this new path, but I know this path is going to bring me others who will help me write this part of my story. They already have. That doesn’t erase him or my love for him. It’s just a different life story now. We hang on to so many things we don’t need: papers, clothing, books…stuff. What we truly need is to live. Live the life we want and share it with another. Love is the true foundation to happiness. Getting rid of the stuff, doesn’t get rid of him. So I am okay with letting “stuff” go. By doing this, I know I can let go of my fears and doubts and press on towards something that may be even more amazing than what I had before. For losing Pat has brought me the realization that the simple things in life are what matters most. I am grateful for all this world has given me and I want to embrace it all with an open heart. I am setting out on this new adventure and I can’t wait to see where it takes me and what is waiting for me down this path.
Time is passing and things are changing. Everything has changed. The past ten months has been nothing but change. I am looking for a small piece of normalcy…a place to rest my head and feel comfort. We have been sitting in a holding pattern for far too long and it is time to take a step in the right direction. We have healed a great deal- not completely because I don’t think that is possible. But healing we have done. The holidays were tough. Tougher than I thought they would be, but we made it through. The new year feels like the right time for a new perspective and I want that, but the reality of it all is that this is my life now. It’s not the life I had planned on. I thought I had it figured out. I was lucky enough to find someone I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, not an easy thing to do….I married the man of my dreams, started a family, planned a future together to grow old as a couple. That was what I thought my life would be.
The life I thought I would have will never be. That’s what I know. I’ve been working on what that means now. It’s a tough job. A journey without any roadmap, let alone a compass to try to direct me in the right direction. Being a single parent is no joke, especially since we live in a world of couplehood. How quickly people have forgotten that it is just me doing the job of two. It sounds like it’s double the work, but it truly feels like 10 times the work. I do what I can do and hope people understand. I am doing the best I can. I’m doing Ok. We all are. It’s just not what I ever thought my life would be.
So now what?
This is where I find myself here in 2016… a place of discovery. I have found me again…I’m stronger than ever before…and I am weaker than ever before. But I am me. I am good with who I am. Not a small feat. I see happiness in my future and I see a life again. Not sure exactly what I will see along this new path, but I know I am going somewhere good. Pat is with me all the time. His spirit surrounds me and pushes me to move forward. “Smile everyday” is what he told me to do. He wanted me to be happy, and not finding happiness and living again would be no tribute to him whatsoever.
So this is my plan…
Be happy. Smile. Enjoy the simple things. Love unconditionally. Laugh. Live. Breathe… What more can I do.
Just because I’m smiling doesn’t mean I’m not crying on the inside. Just because I’m smiling doesn’t mean everything is ok. But just because I’m hurting on the inside doesn’t mean that I should walk around with my head held low and tears in my eyes. Wearing a smile means a great deal to people, especially when things aren’t going so well. A smile can hide all the bad that is going on underneath, but it also can show the world that the bad hasn’t won. When you smile you show you’re still in the game…you’re still here and you haven’t been beaten. It shows your strength, your dignity, your pride.
A smile makes you feel good if just for a moment and that feeling may be exactly what you need to get through the day. To have people look at you like your ok, like they don’t pity you or your situation….trust me that means a lot.
The road of life has so many twists and turns that there are days it feels more like a roller coaster than a road that you are on. Each of us have our own path we must follow in life. It is a path we create from our choices and decisions, or sometimes a lack of choices or decision which draws us in a new direction. I find myself looking at the path I have traveled before today which led me here, right here, right now. I see some misguided turns I have made, but mostly I can say I am proud of the roads I have taken in life. Unfortunately I have hit a few roadblocks which have slowed me down, actually they have brought me to a sudden halt in my life.
People are quick to judge and question you about the way you lead your life, but what right do they have to do that? Basically it is because they are viewing YOUR life from THEIR eyes. They can only see through the view they have chosen to take on their path and if it doesn’t match your view, they question it. Maybe out of disapproval, maybe out of envy. But either way, its not for them to say. Your path is yours and that is how it should be.
The important thing is to remember you are in the drivers seat of your life. Nobody else. You may have different passengers along the way and perhaps you may make the mistake and let someone else drive for a short period of time, but in the end, you are charting your course and making your own decisions. You have the power within you to be happy, to be successful, to be loving and to be giving. You need to decide what you want from life, and head that way. There is no one stopping you but you. Or in my case…me. Time to start back up and head back onto the road. There is so much more for me to see…
This is my daily mantra these days. People ask how am I doing what I am doing; I don’t think I could do it; how am I getting through all this. And this is my answer, over and over, You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have. What else is there to do? One foot in front of the other and you just keeping going. You do what you have to do and you don’t think twice about it. We are all strong. There is an inner strength in each and every one of us. Sometimes it doesn’t show up until we need it most. The important thing to remember is that it does show up. We as humans are not wired to give up. We want to live, we want to thrive, we want to continue on. What gets in our way is our own thinking. Our brain starts to spin and we spiral out of control in our thinking. This turns and turns until negativity and weakness appears. It overrides our natural instinct to keep going; to be strong. No matter what you are going through, no matter how horrible your situation may be at this time, you are strong and powerful in your own world. You can make it through and persevere. It is up to you to ruse above the negative thoughts and allow your natural instinct of strength to rise out of you and let you shine.