So we are just about in hell month for us, and it marks the end/beginning of another year without Claytie. Two years now without the very best person in our world, and it feels both like a life time and like it was just yesterday!
I will never ever forget the day our world changed. I try not to relive it too often, because the conscious nightmares are far worse than the sleeping ones, but every so often I need to play it out to make sure that I remember it right – not that I could ever forget! – and thank you if you’ve been a shoulder and ear for me on those days that I have needed to talk out loud about the details…. It feels like the only concrete way to convince myself that this isn’t some kind of weird altered reality. It’s kind of the glue holding all of the fractured old and new parts of myself together.
This year I decided to be proactive (and I’m not sure that’s the right word??) and to get in early. I took a whole bunch of time off, pretty much the entire month- last year I only gave myself those big dates and it didn’t work out so well for me. They ended up feeling so very different than I had anticipated, some slightly more expected and others that took me absolutely by surprise and flooring me with their impact. I really didn’t want to be surprised again, but imagine I will be, and by different things this year. That seems to be kind of how this rollercoaster works. The twists and turns and sinking feelings come from nowhere and steal your breath in the hardest ways.
This year I am also taking myself far away for the worst of those dates for me, my wedding anniversary. Last year I was only thinking about Clayties death anniversary and how hard that first one would be. I did not acknowledge ahead of time the fact that my 26th wedding anniversary would be without my husband. That day and my first birthday without him, making me older than he will ever get to be, were that days that broke me.
I will be travelling overseas this year, with a friend who is coming to the end of her first year without her husband. We are going to Malaysia for 10 days and will be making new memories. I will be away for what was my worst day last year, but home for the ones that we need to spend as a family… and we have our own new tradition for those that I am almost looking forward to this year – which is not something I ever thought I would say!
I do have to say that I am really conflicted about my feelings around this trip… on the one hand I’m super excited. It’s a place I have never been and I’m excited for the adventure. I am travelling with a friend who knows the area incredibly well and who has a lot of friends over there. I already know that I will have incredible stories to tell, and I’m looking forward to writing those, but the other part of me is really nervous. Is this a good idea? I have never been somewhere this new to me without Claytie, and I am really, really shit with flying – I am not the person you want to sit next to on a plane!! Should I be going away leading up to Clayties anniversary? How will the boys go? How hard will it be to support my friend for the big things that she needs to do on this trip – some of her husbands ashes are coming with us to be left in a place that brought them huge happiness. Will she be ok, and how will we go travelling together?
Not all of this stuff is rational, and I know that; but this is how my anxiety manifests. I guess all I can do and continue to do, is go with the things that feel the best at the time. It’s been the only way I have got through every other day since my world changed.