I remember in the hospital asking my mother in law what I was supposed to do now – how was I supposed to get through this? Her answer to me: one day at a time.
My family flew back to the states on Monday, leaving me alone in my home – a welcome change from the constant business after Terry’s death. The space has allowed me to begin to grieve properly. It is painful, yet cathartic at the same time. In order to get through each day – which often feels like too much – I give myself one reason to get out of the house each day. Some reasons come up naturally – last Monday I had to go to the bank to close some accounts, Friday I had to go to the vet, etc. Today – a lazy Sunday – my goal for the day was to walk across town to Starbucks for a pumpkin spice latte.
I can happily say that today I’ve met my goal. While a pumpkin spice latte might not sound like much, it is a huge ordeal to walk through town these days. It’s an absolute minefield walking through town on my own, but something that I feel needs to be done. I don’t know why. It’s an experience similar to Frogger wherein I have to avoid happy couples who remind me of what I once had, families with children who remind me of what I will never get to have with Terry, elderly couples out for walks that Terry and I used to aspire to be like, people that I know who I desperately want to talk to, but can’t think of anything to say so I just look down and walk past, previous students who knew me when I was happily married, etc. The only people I can pass without wincing are single women like myself and people who are already sitting outside of bars at 10:00 on a Sunday morning.
I did it. Today I experienced all of the hurt that comes with walking through town and I got myself a cup of coffee. While at Starbucks, I bumped into a previous acquaintance who asked what I was doing these days. I smiled and talked about teaching French and Spanish and lied and said that I was doing well. It was nice to pretend to be my normal self, if only for a moment. It gives me hope that someday I will be able to say that I am doing well and not be lying.