Hi Widow Friends,
I haven’t written in over a month. My summer was insane. I had two teenagers at home and spent my days driving. I am also helping my mom as she makes the transition into widowhood.
How was your summer? Is it over yet? Are you glad?
As I write to you, I am sitting on a bench at Six Flags in St. Louis. My emotions are all over the place because tomorrow is the fourth anniversary of Eric’s death.
How am I here? Alone? A single mother?
Lately, I occasionally pause and ask or sob, “Where did you go?”
Every year I take my kids on a trip this weekend because I like to run away and be distracted. But I also love adventures. Distraction and adventure have never numbed the pain to a bearable feeling but this year is a little different.
As this anniversary approached I realized that I am ok. We survived the worst thing that could happen, and the three of us are actually thriving.
Yesterday, we went to the Gateway Arch. St. Louis provides access to all of America by river travel and the pioneer trails out west. I feel a kindred spirit to my fellow pioneer Americans who thought it was their duty to expand and create a visionary ideal of success across the country.
I feel that duty and desire in my life too. My new life. I have decades to live. I have been and get to continue marching forward, forging a beautiful and successful life for myself, and helping my teens achieve the same.
Sometimes on this anniversary weekend, I share memories of Eric with the kids. This time I told them that I am proud of myself that I didn’t fall apart. I mean the sum of time since Eric died I didn’t fall apart. I had and have plenty of days and moments of complete collapse. But I get up, and instead, help us thrive. I made a hard decision to send my son to military school boarding school for high school. I have been very open and lovingly strict with how my daughter shows up and who she spends time with.
I am proud that I have taken so many adventures. I will publish my memoir, The Widow's Comeback, before the next anniversary. I learned to play then joined the cult of pickleball. (My very first time playing a ball sport, BTW.)
I asked my kids to tell me what they were proud of achieving and what they were going to do with this year. A year is a gift from God. Their answers were hopeful, brave, and will result in accomplishments their dad would be so proud of.
I often wonder what would be different if, that day, four years ago had ended differently. What if I served the broccoli to Eric that I was chopping when he died instead of attempting CPR? If he ate it and we went on with our life...
Grab today, be grateful, and achieve. Even if it is a tiny thing...
What will you do this year?