My only excuse/reason? The holidays were extremely hard on me this year.
My 4th without Rick. I thought coming into the holiday season that it would be easier somehow. After all, I had survived the other 3. So this one would be a piece of cake, right?
I felt every emotion intensely.
It literally took all of my strength not to cry, or scream, with every Christmas song I heard.
The Christmas lights were like daggers into my eyes.
With every "Merry Christmas" I wanted to run to a corner and crumple into tears.
And it went on … seeing presents … hearing about holiday plans … reading what everyone was cooking & baking … the holiday movies and TV shows … All of it left me simply empty and exhausted.
I went thru the motions of each day. Then slept only when my mind and body were past the point of staying up.
Yes, the holiday season of 2018 was brutal. Yes, I am glad it is over.
I rented a car, a brand new Chevy Cruze, made the trip to Texas and back to Kentucky.
Had many good conversations on the way there. The anticipation of seeing my kids and grandkids growing with every mile that took me closer.
Met up with a dear friend when I got to East Texas, was treated to supper - and oh how blessed I was to enjoy the time with Dorothy! The sweet conversation. The look of love & understanding in her eyes. Thank you, Dorothy. I love you - to the moon and back!
Surprised my granddaughter, Brooklyn, when I walked in the house. She thought it was Momma getting home. Lol. The look on her face was priceless and a treasure to my soul.
Surprised my oldest grandson, Elijah, too. The look of love that he gave me right before he wrapped his arms around me and held me for the longest time.
Enjoyed some quality time with my daughter … good conversation and LOTS of laughter.
3 days later, with tears flowing as I drove away, I made the drive out to my son's.
I had intended on surprising those grandkids, but a mistake on a video call and they knew I was on the way.
But that sure didn't change the love, the tears, the laughter, the hugs and kisses!
3 wonderful days with them. Laughter, love, and good times.
Then it was time to drive away again.
Tears flowing hot down my cheeks.
Wonderings filling the thousand miles back to Kentucky.
I miss my kids and grandkids. Only for a short time did we live close enough to be day by day parents/grandparents. Rick always worked away, and that meant that I was away, too.
I know they have their homes, their jobs, their relationships & activities - it all keeps them busy. They make time for me during a visit, but even then I do not expect them to stop their lives. I want them to live and to work and to succeed at everything they do!
I thank God every day for technology. Texting. Chatting. Facebook. Phone calls.
About 1/2 way back to Kentucky, I was beyond exhausted. The emotions of the holiday just got to me. I could not bear to drive another mile. Stopped at a Best Western somewhere in Missouri. Got a room. I had thought as tired as I was it would be an easy thing. Get a room, take a hot shower, sleep.
Didn't work that way.
As I stood at the counter waiting to be checked in, I realized that whoever said the "firsts" were over after that first year of widowhood - didn't know a damn thing of what they were saying!
It was my FIRST time to check into a motel alone.
Walking into that room took the last ounce of my strength. After letting my kids and friends know where I was, I collapsed in the easy chair - thinking the tears would drown me. Sigh.
Got up and took a hot shower to wash the road away … and hopefully ease the pain of loneliness.
Didn't work. I have never felt as alone as I felt that night. A heaviness was on me and I could not sleep, well, I finally did doze off around 2 a.m. & woke up around 3:30 a.m.
Waking up, getting dressed, and gathering my things - just motions of the morning.
Walking out of the room, loading my car, and driving away - alone - that took whatever was left of me.
I did a lot of thinking out loud in those miles.
Another 7 hours driving time and I was back in Kentucky, at my friends' home - where I am staying.
Got the rental car unloaded. Joshua had helped me go thru the storage building there, and I brought back my memory trunk, a few clothes, and some things that I treasure. I don't have much left in this world, but what I do have, I want "me things about me".
Then decided to unload my car, the one that doesn't work, the one that sits in their yard serving more as a storage trunk than anything else. It was beyond time to go thru it all and decide what I wanted, what I didn't need.
Spent most of that first evening & night going thru it all.
So did the thoughts of the future.
And the questions as to why keep any of this stuff. Yet, it is all I have left of 57 years of life and living. All reduced down to a tote that will fit in the back of my 2004 Lexus. Sigh.
I finally slept that night, about 4 hours. I don't remember going to sleep, nor do I remember any dreams. Think I was simply too exhausted, and greatly in need of a break from thoughts. Past, present, or future.
I do not have all the answers to my life. Much to the dismay of family & friends. But their dismay is not a candle to the torch that burns within me. Sigh.
Not all the answers lie within me. As the old saying goes, "No man is an island unto himself." There are answers that are waiting and depending on the words and actions of others. Which causes me a bit of frustration and discouragement just in itself.
So, I take a deep breath and I face this new year with guarded hope and weakened strength.
I have made some decisions within my heart, but it will take time to work those out in real life. I'm still giving much thought, and prayers, to the way to get them accomplished.
I have made a promise to myself, to my children, and to my grandchildren - to live this life the best I know how. Even when I make mistakes, to learn and to grow from them. Also, that it will not be 2 1/2 years again before I see them, hold them, hug them.
I have made a promise to myself to take care of ME this year of 2019. That is not going to be an easy task. I have a heart of giving and service. It goes against everything within me to focus on ME. But I realize now that if I don't? No one will. Rick is gone. Never coming back. He is the only one who ever focused on ME. (And yes, I miss that. :( )
So, here I am.
Worn out from the raw emotions of the holidays.
Beginning a New Year.
Wondering if it truly will be "Happy".
Knowing that a majority of my happiness depends on me.
Taking a deep breath.
Stepping out into this day, this year - with courage, or is it stupidity?
Time will tell.