Recently I spent a few lovely late summer days with friends in northern Wisconsin. L and I made many happy memories up there–hiking, fishing, eating!! I had not gone fishing since his death but found it’s a little like riding a bike–it all comes back. L used to tease me about my side-arm method of casting and he was clearly stunned when I put bait (worms or leeches) on the hook myself. His favorite photo of me was from the time I caught a sizable small-mouthed bass from the pier of our friends’ cottage. One afternoon I sat alone on that pier while my friends went off in the boat to fish and thought about all the wonderful times L and I shared–all the ideas for stories that were developed as we sat together or hiked through the woods in the fall, all the plans we made for our future. I find that at moments like these I am not saddened but rather grateful. For over forty years I had the joy (and yes, sometimes the frustration) of life with this incredible man. And every day that he is gone I appreciate more fully how carefully he prepared me for the life I would need to move forward with once he was gone. I am doing that–it is not always easy but as L and I always said, “It is what it is” and now I have added, “And it will be what I make of it.”
In year one there were, of course, a lot of “firsts” that had to be navigated and braved. But they do continue–fewer now but still there and still a painful reminder that this going forward step by step and change after change is my life. Today I went to a matinee movie by myself. It was a drizzly Sunday afternoon with back-to-school coolness in the air and overcast skies. A movie I had wanted to see was playing at the local theater. I had thought I would perhaps see it with friends but one thing I am learning in year two is that friends–well-meaning as they are–have turned back to what is routine for them and that does not mean having me front of mind when it comes to social outings. When I recognized that pretty much everyone I might have wanted to see the film with had already been there and done that I had some choices. I could wait for it to come out on Netflix; I could seek out some less likely candidates to see it with me; or I could go by myself.
I wanted to see this movie so ruled out #1; I have grown tired of making the first moves to include myself in the activities that L and I used to take for granted as a couple so that ruled out #2. #3 was left and seemed to be the logical choice since I have had a gift card for the theater sitting on the kitchen table for several months. So I went–totally enjoyed the film, laughed out loud and left knowing not only could I do this but that I would do this more often.
The journey continues…