I have written a few things in 2009 regarding how the year went in events and revelations as they have lit my cluttered psyche. I seldom breech my emotional doorway and discuss a lot of feelings about this year that has torn my life as I knew it limb from limb with no remorse for what it would do to me and those that I love. Many of these feelings I had carefully wrapped in tissue and put away into the dusty and darker corners of my mind. Not so much as one would package something to keep it from getting hurt, but so that the shards of this year might not injure my psyche anymore. I sealed them away because in truth, survival dictates it. I am not privy to a family that I can lean on for shelter so I must handle things in small doses. I keep telling myself a few more steps and this will be over. As I walk toward the date on the calendar that will mark my first year of widowhood I choose to peek in the boxes and tell you about the feelings that I have put away from me. In less than one month all of the firsts will be behind me. The pain will no longer be fresh and new and perhaps I can seal away parts of this forever.
Last January life was really good. I had a job that I chased three and a half years and I loved being there. I was in training and was shining in all the right places. I was looking at a bright future earmarked for bigger things by those who make such decisions. I was excited as I looked forward into life. When I watched the ball drop I was holding Richard’s hand.
In February, I had to stand tall and strong for a family I was not born into, in a place I earned as I did the hardest thing I have done thus far in life. I walked where angels fear to tread with grace and dignity as this family fed off my demeanor. I had to lead where I have always followed. The ground was rocky and very uneven as I made my way into uncharted territory. In my darkest hour, I held my son’s hand.
In April, I was summoned to West Virginia by a man who loves me. I drove there for the first time alone and had to have a GPS to find his house. I sat amongst family but I was alone. I asked about design and color and all those things because I was entrusted with this man‘s tribute to his son. I held his hand as he proved his trust in my strength and intelligence.
In May, I went to New York for sanctuary. I flew alone on a cool morning and arrived to see my best friend on the planet. I had never actually been in the same state never mind the same room as she. I was greeted with open arms and an open heart. I laughed in fabulous restaurants and bars with fabulous friends that I learned were family. I slept as I haven’t been able to sleep since, in peace. I cried at the World Trade Center. I tried out my widow’s legs in the city that never sleeps and I held her hand.
In July, I celebrated my birthday. I planned a party because never in my life had I ever indulged in a party for myself. I cooked and I cleaned for my friends. I celebrated with people from all walks of life who have always been around me but not each other. As I looked around myself that night before I cut the cake, I thanked them for being with me. I was surrounded by people who loved me. I watched the sunrise on my 42nd year with two very good, but very different friends and they held my hands.
In October, I had to make an appearance at the place of worship we not only attended but parented together. I went straight to my other mother and I stayed with her. I poked at food and made polite conversations. I accepted the past and looked toward the future. I let my other mother lean on me and feed from my strength because she needed me. Together we shielded our hearts from the nonsense at hand as they spoke the lies they tell themselves and I held her hand.
In December, the holidays were upon me like a black cloak. I avoided everything having to do with a celebration. I attended the family’s Christmas. I took his brothers, their wives and his grandmother to the cemetery to see his memorial. They were huddled together in the cold and I stood alone. While they opened the presents and took their pictures, I sat alone and held no ones hand.
On New Years Eve, I sat in my bedroom and read a good book. At around 11:45pm I went outside into the backyard, to see the moon. As I stood there looking at the wonder that is God’s heavens, tears rolled down my cheeks. I watched the last moments of this seemingly unforgivable, unsurvivable year bleed away. At midnight I embraced the new year and stepped forward, holding my own hand.