Sunday, April 14, 2013

Feast Day Unplanned

Dear John,
Today I realized that this weekend has felt like a Feast Day. I'm sure that doesn't make sense to anybody else, but I expect that you know what I mean. The first part of April was very hard, watching the 13th get closer and closer, and dreading it. Then it came in a way I never expected. It came as a feast day, the celebration of the years we had together, of you living in Heaven now, and of the future we hope for when I'm done here and can join you. I have felt more joyful and grateful these two days than I have for the rest of the year put together.
I means something to me that I've made it through a whole year without you. I'm not sure just what that meaning is, but I know that it is important. All the "firsts" are done - the first holiday, anniversary, birthday, Christmas, and so on. Almost all of the legal and financial details are put to bed. A year is about quantity - is there also a qualitative change in widowhood when the first year has been survived? It's the traditional time to begin to have a social life again, and I'm doing that this month and next, with trips and guests and a high school reunion. A year is an artificial construct when it comes to matters of the heart, but our hearts need dates and seasons and commemoration. So it is possibly a construct that meets a need.
This weekend I feel like I'm coming out from under a cloud, coming truly outside for the first time. I'm beginning to think about my future, farther out than when the next bill is due. I'm considering what to do with the rest of my life, which must mean that I have finally accepted that there will be a rest of my life and I am responsible for what I do with it. I can look the future in the face now, and that is good. I feel stronger that I have in a long time, more capable and independent - and looking forward to doing my own taxes next year.
And, grief not being linear, I have no clue how I will feel tomorrow. But tonight is the start of a new year for me, and that feels good. The last year was excruciating; this year I will love you no less, but I will have begun to learn how to live with my widowhood. And I will do better. And that will make you happy, because you never wanted me to suffer after you were gone ahead. And you loved my strength and independence. So I may be surprised by this, but you've seen it coming all along. You've always had more faith in me than I had in myself. And I've always appreciated that. So keep trusting in me! I'll keep keeping on, hopefully constructively, until we meet again.
All my love,

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