When it sneaks up on you

It’s been a while. I’ve had a lot going on. After I returned to Kansas City, I realized I had big choices to make about my future and where I’m headed from here. And as I lost myself in that process, I found that the writing simply wasn’t coming as quickly as it did when I first launched the blog. At first, that worried me. But as more days went by, I decided it was really okay.

Life is full of ups and downs, as is writing. I needed to wait until I had something new to say.

But then, I had one of those days. Well, if I’m being honest, I had two of those days.

I launched this blog with a pledge to be truthful. I was real about a lot of the pain I’d already gone through. And since then, I’ve spent a lot of time telling you about how I’m moving forward and how I work to emerge from darkness.

It’s absolutely the truth when I tell you that I’m in a good place these days. A few days ago, a friend told me she’d never seen me this confident in my entire life. And that’s real.

Every once in a while, though? A day – or two – can still just really suck.

I woke up Sunday morning after spending two days with one of my favorite women in the world. We had long talks, hit the town, watched our dogs play, and had an all-around wonderful time. I said goodbye feeling the happiest I’d been since my Kansas City adventure.

Then it started to creep up on me. I was watching the Indianapolis 500 – a tradition I’ve had since childhood, but one I’d come to share with my late husband during our years together. It was my first time watching an auto racing event since he passed away last summer. As I watched
his favorite driver take the win, it felt like everything had come full circle. I was okay. Or so I thought.

I prepared to move on with my day. But then, all of a sudden, it was hours and half a day later. And I was stuck on that damn couch again. So I decided to try once more, and I headed to the movie theater at 10pm to catch a film by myself. I hadn’t done anything alone since Kansas City, and it was a much-needed reminder that I can, in fact, be my own best company.

After a day of fighting, I went to bed feeling strong. And woke up on Memorial Day feeling utterly and terribly alone.

I made some phone calls. I probably sounded fine in all of them, though in reality, I stayed in bed until at least 1pm – something that hadn’t happened a single time since the day my husband died.

I finally staggered myself up around 3:30 and gave those 3 rules a shot. Shower. Clothes. The store to pick up some essentials. My mood picked up a bit. Until I went to leave the store, and the cashier asked, “Have any big plans tonight with friends or family?” Well, no. Thanks for the
reminder.

I hit Facebook, which I learned long ago is the worst thing to do when you’re feeling isolated – especially on a holiday.

I honestly can’t tell you how I spent the next few hours. I drifted in and out of sleep and sadness, unable to explain why this fog had chosen to descend on me today.

Then my head remembered what my heart had been feeling for the past two days. My husband proposed on Memorial Day weekend.

I wasn’t prepared for this one. I survived the first wedding anniversary without him. His birthday. Valentine’s Day. But this, the anniversary of the date when our lives together really began? I didn’t see it coming. I hadn’t made any plans to distract me, the way I had when I took my nieces to American Girl Place on my anniversary, or headed to a neighbor’s Christmas party on his birthday. I was just alone.

And just like that, for the first time in many, many months, I found myself on the floor crying once again.

That’s the funny thing about grief, especially after a great loss. Sometimes, when you least expect it, it hits you in the face and reminds you that you’re human and that this journey is not linear.

I probably should’ve seen this one coming. But honestly? The fact that I didn’t shows me how far I’ve truly come.  I’ve been so wrapped up simply in the stuff of life – making choices for my future, spending time with friends, and simply just living – that until it arrived, the significance of the date on the calendar just hadn’t crossed my mind.

So I wept.

But as I’ve learned so many times before, the thing about crying on the floor is that sooner or later, you’ve got to get up – even if you don’t have a Beagle who will give you a bath of puppy kisses until your tears stop.

And so, even though it took much, much longer than it had in quite a while, I got up. I made dinner at 9:30 pm. I watched a few episodes of How I Met Your Mother. Texted a couple of friends. And finished this blog post at 2:10 am.

Proving, once again, that it’s never too late in the day – or the journey – to get up and try again.

Here’s to getting back on track.