The dreaded day has finally knocked on my door and made itself at home today. Yup. my husband’s birthday just walked right in, grabbed a beer, stole my remote, and made itself comfortable on my couch.
Now you know why I dread it so much. It never lets me watch “The View.”
Yesterday I finally told myself that it’s time to practice what I preach. I’ve spent the last week with a constant lump in my throat and a really bad attitude. And yesterday I decided that it was enough. I know I can’t control my grief, but today, my husband’s birthday, I am going to take many deep breaths, cry a little (I’m sure), and make a conscious decision to have a good day.
I’m a big believer that the way we live our lives and the things we can make happen are something that we can, on a certain level, decide. I’m not delusional enough to think I can control everything. But I believe that if I want to get going with my life, whether it’s with my job, or finding a new relationship, or making life better for my kids...that I can’t just sit around and wait for things to happen. Sometimes life will happen to you. But sometimes you make life happen.
And today that’s what I’m going to do.
As I sit here and type this, I’m taking my famous 4 deep breaths (thanks, hubby), and making a conscious decision to have a good family day with the kids.
I’ll let you know how it works out.
As many of you know, I had to give a speech yesterday, and I spent the week cursing myself for scheduling it the day before my husband’s birthday. I tried to tell myself that it was perfect timing...a great way to honor a great guy. But the truth is...it was just really damn hard. To talk about what an amazing guy he was without him here to say to me with a smug look on his face, “See??? I knew you liked me!” was pretty tough.
But it was a small and appreciative group and I really enjoyed meeting the people who were attending. Especially one woman who had lost her husband around the same time I had lost mine and who has been following the blog for a little while. It always shocks me that anyone is following it, so to meet someone in person was a little surreal. And, as most of you may already know, to hug someone who knows what you’ve been through is truly a gift.
This week has been part of that widow lesson that we all learn sooner or later. That as much as we dread the things that are coming up, the days do pass and the milestones do come. We can kick and scream and try and push time away as hard as possible, but the sun always sets and a new day dawns. And before you know it...the days we fight the most have been and gone and we start dreading the next one.
I always hesitate before I post a blog when I’m having a tough time. On one hand, I think it’s important for people to know that I am human and that I’m not immune to the fact that grief sneaks up on all of us when we least expect it. On the other, I worry that someone who is 3 months out is reading it and thinking, “OMG. She’s three years out and she’s a total wreck! How am I ever going to make it?”
I’ll let you in on a little secret.
When you hear people say, “The second year was the worst!” or “I thought I’d never get through that third year” that means that it was difficult...for them. We all grieve at our own pace. We’re all leading different lives. People who haven’t had time or can’t allow themselves to really grieve for awhile...they’re probably going to have a harder time later on. People who tried their best to meet this as head-on as possible, may have the worst behind them in the first year.
So, when I say that I’ve had a hard time this year with my husband’s birthday...that means that it’s been tough...for me. Please don’t assume that the 4th birthday your spouse will miss will have you diving back under the covers as I did this year. There’s a good chance that you’ll get through it just fine.
I guess now I’ll leave you so that I can go buy the birthday balloons, pack the kids up, and head up the mountain to visit my husband. I know that I’ll stand there, looking at his grave and still, four years later, feel utter disbelief that this is the way we’re celebrating his birthday.
But then I’ll look up. Watch the kids let their balloons go with the complete certainty that those balloons will find their dad. Drink in the blue sky and listen to the river below us. I know that this day too will end. Tomorrow will come.
And I will try my hardest to make it a good day.