I am currently 647 days out from the worst thing that ever happened to me*
(*Don’t jinx this, Universe.)
Lately I’ve been spending a fair amount of time reflecting on the months that have passed since Tim’s final days. I’ve come to the point in my process where the memories have softened and I no longer obsessively play the trauma in my head. I feel some distance from the life I lived then vs. the life I am embarking on now. The world feels a bit brighter. I don’t feel so dead inside. I am successfully healing and growing and moving forward in all the ways Tim would have wanted and hoped for me.
You guys…I’m feeling pretty decent.
To be honest, a year ago I could have not imagined I would be able to write that. I was still in the dark fog of grief. I was beginning to see the potential of a life ahead, but the deep mistrust I have developed towards the Universal Chaos prevented me from fully allowing myself the painful pleasure of hope. I have come into a place now where hope feels possible. Scary, but possible. I’m engaged in the life I have built. I’m enjoying what I have. I’m living.
I’ve begun to see The Fucking Silver Linings of my situation. (A phrase that was introduced to me by a dear friend, fellow widow, and prolific poet, Verandah Porche.) Sometimes that makes me angry at times, the silver lining. Because why did Tim have to die and how could I ever be happy? But, I’m learning to allow myself joy when it comes. I’m able to see all the ways in which I am fortunate. All the ways in which my life has grown and flourished through my own fortitude and determination.*
(*and crying and anger and self medicating and irrational rage and crazy-making thought patterns and self-deprecation and general malaise.)
I’ve come to realize I have a lot going for me. And in many ways, that makes me sad. Because of what I lost to get to this point. Because realizing that good things can come from tragedy is a bitter but necessary pill to swallow. I cannot go back in time (as much as I have obsessed over that idea). I cannot change the things that have happened to us. I can press forward and strengthen the path that I’m on now. So that’s what I’m doing.
I fucking love my job, guys. I love where I work and who I work with, staff and students alike. I love the pace and structure of my days. I love the nature of the work I do. I love knowing that I am able to affect the social-emotional growth and wellbeing of hundreds of kids. I could not imagine a more perfect position for me at this juncture of life. I could not say that about being a stay-at-home-mom. I’m doing what I need to do, now, and it’s working.
My writing has also taken on a new meaning in my life. My recent publication in Modern Loss validated and expanded my voice and reach as a writer. It is becoming more important that I continue to share my story. A new art form to explore in deeper ways. More on that in the future, no doubt.
Tim’s death taught me just how powerful my friendships and relationships can be. It was painful to leave Madison so quickly, and leave behind the beautiful community we had built there. I still think about them and miss them every day. But I have been able to build a new community since returning to Vermont. I still feel the love and support of all the people I have meaningfully connected with over the past 35 years of my life. I know now that I have hundreds, if not thousands, of people who love my children and myself. My spirituality as a Secular Humanist has expanded and blossomed in ways I never imagined possible. I have deep, meaningful connections with the people in my life. I’m connecting in new and expanding ways. For that, I am endlessly thankful.
Hopewell House is the best, guys. It was one year ago last week that I put an offer on this house and it was the best choice I could have possibly made. My home is spacious, airy, and filled with positive, creative energy. Hopewell House has been a place of healing and growth. Decorated with reminders of the life before and promises of the life ahead. My sanctuary in the storm.
I. Am. Getting. FIT, people. I’ve officially reached the 50lb mark in my weight loss adventure over 7 months, and I am NEVER going back. (For real). I feel more energetic, focused, and physically powerful. I’m proud of the progress I have made in overhauling my lifestyle and eating habits. I’m proud and accepting of the permanent changes carrying Tim’s babies made to my body. I’m excited to see the shape and structure that my body will come into as I reach my goals. I’m feeling physically better, which is improving my overall mental health. New life, new mind, new body.
Some of these things might not have come into fruition had Tim survived the events of May 15th 2017. And that would have been fine. Better. I would have had a different, beautiful life with less suffering and more comfort. But that’s not what happened. Tim died. My life burned to the ground. I faced the second hardest thing that could have happened to me. I survived. I’m thriving. God-damnit, things are looking up.
(and that’s ok.)