Hello, my friends. (This is a personal, non-wine-related post, FYI.)
I want to begin with an apology. Maybe it isn’t necessary, but I have been absent from writing, and I’d like to provide you with some perspective.
I have a lot going on in my life, some beautiful things, both professionally and personally. However, the cold truth is that entering the second year of my husband’s death has been fucking hard. The reality that David will never again walk through the gate into our backyard, smile, and say ‘Hello, gorgeous’ has brutally hit home.
During the first year, I allowed myself to simply exist. I showed up every day for our daughter and did not spend one day in bed mourning David’s departure from our lives – not that I didn’t want to, I just didn’t allow myself to. The bubble I created around myself was one of self-preservation and protection. I promised myself not to make any serious, life-altering decisions like selling our home, buying a new car, or welcoming a new dog into our family, for one year. Honestly, the amount of times well-intentioned people ask when we will get a new dog is in the hundreds! May I please request that you don’t ask me this question? I do not want a dog nor do I want any added responsibility at this time. I am still mourning the loss of my two Labradour Retrievers, Muriel and Murphy Brown. Quite honestly, I am only just able to keep our betta fish Abe alive and afloat.
I am proud that I held firm to ‘no serious decisions’ last year. It afforded me space and time to simply feel all of the ‘feels’ that came in waves, over and over again. Looking back, as we are wired to do, I also kept myself ridiculously distracted with friendships, writing projects, travelling, and podcasts. I said ‘yes’ to Cornucopia, which took much of my focus from September until mid-November. In December, I was asked to be a brand ambassador for a B.C. winery. I spent my time happily selling cases of wine. These things kept me busy and shielded my heart and brain from sorrow and grief.
Grief counselling started a year ago, and I took my homework seriously. I did the work. I still do the work. My counsellor is a widow who lost her husband around the same age as me. Her guidance has given me a framework for my healing journey. Grief work is the most challenging work I have ever done. It takes a boatload of courage and a gentle knowing that grief will never go away – it will just develop into a familiar wound on your heart that will always be there. Every time I need to feel David’s presence, I hike the forests around our home. I found a majestic tree nearby that symbolizes his spirit to me. I talk with him and hug him – hard. It feels good, and I know he listens.
I don’t know why, and maybe it doesn’t matter, but this second year seems trickier. Loneliness is a thing – especially at night. Thankfully, I have a few night owl friends I can reach out to and call when I am in a spiral. When things stop working, the reality of being a homeowner can feel insurmountable when David was so ‘on it’ at all times. Changing a ceiling lightbulb, taking apart a bathroom drain, or knowing where things are actually located can throw me for a loop. I am learning, and I have learned to ask for help. Also, YouTube is a pretty excellent resource.
My family and close friends continue to support and love me, even though some don’t always agree with my decisions. That’s ok – no one has walked my exact path. I woke up a single Mom on July 18th, 2021. I have had to learn to navigate how to parent on my own, and what I have learned in the last year and a half is that I am doing a pretty damn good job.
I am not the type of Mom who fusses or has boxes of snacks and a supply of tissues and hand sanitizer in the car. I am not the Mom who preps and prepares a week of dinners on Sundays. I am not the Mom who stresses that takeout sushi once a week is a bad thing. I sometimes forget to pack a snack for school, but I haven’t forgotten lunch – yet.
I am the Mom of Mackenzie. She is, without a doubt, the most incredible human being I have ever met. Our relationship is filled with communication, laughter, love, respect, and the desire to hold each other’s hand when we walk to school. We listen to loud music in the car, and I constantly embarrass her with my car dancing moves at stoplights. I look over to see her smile or roll her eyes, and I know I’ve got this – at least, I am mostly sure I do. Whenever I am asked to go out of town for work, Mackenzie and I have a conversation to ensure she is ok with it. She has a voice in our life together. I cancelled a trip to Italy last month because she didn’t want me to go. Done. Zero regrets. What I know, fully and completely, is that I love the relationship I have with my daughter. It is real, honest, magical, and precious.
To the best of my ability, I am modelling how to move through this life with grace, kindness, and humour. Mackenzie is incredibly compassionate by nature, and it is something I strive to be better at. I learn from her as much as she learns from me. I am humbled by her innate wisdom at such a young age.
I am grateful for the people who want to do life with me. And, if you are reading this, it means you are one of them. I wanted to reach out to say I haven’t disappeared and am learning to understand my new path as I move forward in life.
In the immortal words of Gord Downie ‘Let’s just see what tomorrow brings.’
Thank you for reading – wine posts will follow soon!