I can’t believe it’s been almost two months since my last post. Truth is, I lost my voice for a bit, having experienced lots of growing pains and I knew that anything I wrote would make me cry. Almost everything makes me cry these days and that’s really unusual for me. It feels like forever since I returned from Maine, but that’s when these growing pains made their way into my life. The renovations to my house that would enable me to move into my basement and rent out my upstairs while I travel around in JOY began before I headed to Maine and were in full swing when I returned the day before Memorial Day. This was my first renovation project and I’m told lots of things go wrong with projects like this, but this was one of the most painful processes I’ve been through. I’ll spare you the details but I cried almost daily, feeling like I had failed miserably in pulling off my dream. It certainly didn’t help that the third anniversary of Tim’s death was fast approaching and I kept wondering what he’d think of this project. The project is finally completed and I moved forward fairly quickly today in moving to my basement. That brought on tears of joy and of sadness. Shedding half my life’s stuff to fit into the basement is painful, but I felt lots of growth as I put stuff into three piles, 1) move to the basement 2) give away or 3) throw away. I’m guessing that over these last two months I’ve had more trash than I have had in years and I’m sure the trash and recycle folks are happy the renovations are done too! But I feel lighter emotionally now that all the piles have been sorted.
Giving away more of Tim’s things brought more tears, and the feeling that the more I give away causes me to lose the rest of his physical presence and existence in my life and our home and that was hard. All of the things I’m giving away will help many people but it certainly didn’t lessen the pain. On the anniversary of his death on Wednesday I headed to the cemetery in 90 degree heat and had a conversation with Tim about all of the growing pains I’m experiencing and how hard this has been for me. The sun was beating down and I don’t think there had been a breeze all day, but seemingly right on cue I felt a breeze on my face. I believe that Tim was letting me know that everything was going to be ok and I’m doing a really great job.
I’m hoping this crying phase will be short, and though I know you can’t always control your emotions this phase has really surprised me. I cry at happy endings and sad endings of my favorite tv shows, I cry when I put a piece of furniture together that I didn’t think I could, and I cry when select a color for the basement that isn’t orange. Most of the tears have been shed as I’ve found a special card or trinket that Tim gave me as I’m sorting through stuff, but can’t remember what year he gave it to me.
I realized this week reading a blog series on the Beatitudes by Paul Roberts Abernathy that I’m growing a lot!!! I’m focused on being and becoming authentic and maybe the tears are part of the cleansing I needed to do as I grow into the person I am now without Tim. And maybe the tears have also been helping my retina in my left eye which I learned in February had developed a hole and a significant amount of inflammation that threatened my vision in that eye. I’ve been doing three eye drops four times a day since February but learned on Monday that I should be done in three more weeks. The doctor said he’s “stunned” with the progress in my eye and I’m thoroughly relieved that I’m going to be ok. On Tuesday I had a really great afternoon with Mom and we “vacationed together” through a travel magazine picking out places it would be fun to visit. Mom usually doesn’t remember anything for longer than two minutes, but after a few hours with her as I headed to the door to leave Mom said to me “don’t forget to bring my suitcase when you come back so I can pack for our trip”. Of course I got to the car and cried, but I’m not sure if they were happy or sad tears. Last night even after being sick most of the day I headed down to the National Mall to view the 50th anniversary celebration of the Apollo 11 astronauts walking on the moon. Everyone on the Mall cheered as the astronauts took their steps as if the event was happening for the first time yesterday. And YEP I shed a tear or two, but I certainly wasn’t the only one.
When I go to basement in a few minutes, for the first time most of my belongings will now fill that space. I’m still finding places for things and still throwing things out. Part of my growth is realizing that I can put anything anywhere I want and that it’s ok. Funny that I’ve been living alone for three years now but am still growing into being comfortable with the decisions I make for myself and my space. It seems so much easier to make decisions at work and for Mom, but what I think I’ve learned over the last two months is that every decision I make doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to make me happy! That’s enough for me!!