Most of my days I live in the "new normal" phase. Life is life. I just walk through it and live it. I am neither strong nor weak. I am neither super happy nor super sad. Life would probably be easier if I could live every day like this. But I love the "strong" days. They are so awesome. But I HATE the "weak/broken" days. I would rather do 100 blah days than one moment of a weak/broken day.
Recently I had an awesome "strong" couple of days. I went on my first alone vacation. I was offered the rest of a friend's week at their timeshare. All of my friends had just started back to work or their kids had just started school after the holidays. My kids didn't really want to go with me. (They were going to go with me, but only because they felt guilty and didn't want me to go alone.) I decided that I needed to try this alone thing sometime. So I headed up to Arnold...alone...if you hadn't figured that out.
I went to the market to stock up on some food. Then I vegged out at the cabin for a day and a half. I watched 7-8 movies and read 2 books over the entire trip. It was awesome. I loved it. It was short enough that I didn't have time to get annoyed with myself or go stir crazy.
I really wanted to go to the redwoods, but I was nervous. On the last full day, I decided that I would annoy myself if I didn't make it to the redwoods. So off I went to Calaveras State Park. I got quite a few looks. I guess it's unusual to go alone especially if you are a woman. I went to the gift shop/museum. All 3 people working stopped and stared when I entered. Oh, I guess I should tell you that I was in short sleeves and everyone else was bundled up in jackets, scarves, and gloves. (I honestly didn't think it was that cold...one of the side effects of grief for me.) That might have been why they stopped and stared. Whatever.
I ended up taking the walk through the woods. It was so beautiful. I could hear people around me, but I stayed away from most everyone. I also got stares when I passed groups of people...that one was because I was alone. At one time during the walk, I was completely alone...I was checking out the nature...enjoying the animals. I realized that I was able to do this because I was alone. The birds and squirrels came out and played because I was quiet and still. The best part was when a woodpecker came out to join me. He was so close to me. He was beautiful. This is one of the animals I have always wanted to see. He kept hopping around the trees, pecking at them...it was awesome. I had an amazing experience in nature, thanking God for allowing me to have this moment.
I tried to take selfies of myself with the redwoods because that's all I could do. I wanted desperately to have my picture taken in one of the trees. I ended up waiting around for forever until someone finally showed up. I almost gave up because it was taking so long for someone to come. But I got it. I also got the "wow, you're alone! you are brave." I pretty much agree on that. It felt good.
Right now I am feeling broken. I am moving toward the year anniversary date of Tony's death, but I'm doing it kicking and screaming and sobbing. This is much harder than I expected. Julia and I decided that in some ways it feels like he just died a month ago, and other times it feels like it's been 5 years. The closer I get to February 12th, the angrier I get and the more I just want to break out into sobs...no matter where I am. I am back to just wanting to sleep. If I sleep, I don't have to acknowledge...I don't have to think...I can pretend...I don't have to make decisions...I don't have to work so hard at living life.
I have been going through Tony's papers because I have a deposition coming up. The lawyers have decided that they want to hear from me. I'm quite nervous about it. So I was in a back corner of McDonald's (I thought I could hide there) and I came across papers with Tony's doodles on it. Along with several shapes and drawings, he had written my name two different ways. I lost it. I tried to hold it in, but noooooo, I had to go sobbing...loudly...poor dude who was kinda near me. It was the ugly cry...in public...awesome...that awesome was sarcastic.
Other things that happen when I'm having weak moments...everything is overly emotional. I listen to a song and cry. I watch a movie and cry. My kids do something awesome, and I cry. Okay, sometimes I don't actually cry. I'm getting good at bottling it up and just letting the eyes get weepy-looking. (I feel I need to remind you that when I cry I get red-faced, splotchy...that's why it's called the ugly cry...besides the ugly sounds I make.) It super sucks. I hate crying. I hate the weak days. I don't even want to write about them...if I could remember them...I kinda block them out of my memory.
So there you have it. The topic that has been bothering me for weeks. So how do I choose joy in the middle of the weak times (it's easy to choose joy during the strong tmes)? I don't really know. It's hard to choose joy when all you want to do is sleep. I guess I choose joy by continuing to do daily activities. I choose joy by hanging with my kids. I choose joy by attending plays that one of "my kids" is in. I choose joy by loving on others...as much as I am able. I guess that's it. I wake up, and I try...sometimes. JOY