January is the month for hunkering down and getting cozy. More time is spent inside (if you’re in the north), and it’s a great time to reflect on what the past year was or was not. A time to re-calibrate, freshen our perspective, and set new intentions.
A time to plan for the year ahead.
For the last several years, I’ve spent January in Florida. And though it’s a place that I love to be, I’ve also missed being home to enjoy the comforts I have here. (I never hid that from Joe. He knew I would be homesick long before he was ever ready to leave the solace he found in Florida.)
HOME—books and paper surround me. My pens, art supplies, and camera are calling to me. And everyone that knows me knows I’m hoping for snow—it’s true. One massive snow where we’re all watching the news and imagining it much worse than it most likely ever will be. (We all know how newscasters love drama!)
YES! One of those snows, please!!
I’ve been doing a lot of work on this journey called grief. I have learned so much over the past month, especially. Of course, it’s the holidays—the reminiscing, the music, the meals, the time we MAKE to visit and spend together. I never dreaded the holidays and time spent with family/friends. Just the opposite. I’ve always loved connection—good conversation and community.
One of the stages of grief, the one that seems most difficult for me to wrap my head around, (or is it my heart?) is acceptance. I understand this to be “normal.” This week, I decided to open my journals and look back. I wanted to see what I saw, then. I wanted to know if there were clues that I missed. I can see, though, how the depression and thoughts of sadness were there for a long time. How they dictated what we did, where we went, who we spent time with, and how we lived our day-to-day lives.
I was worried about Joe. I don’t feel like I missed it. I was drowning with him—looking for ways to help him out of his suffering and torment. I had had my own experience with being sexually molested, but it was nothing like what Joe had endured.
I found one passage where I wrote…
“What if he never comes back from this? What if the darkness is so dark that he can’t find his way back to the light?”
It is clear that mornings were indeed the worst—for a long time. Much longer than I remembered. That’s when I was writing. In my “morning pages,” I mentioned it often. I was almost always the first one up in recent years, which was a big clue about what was happening. Joe was always, by nature, a morning person. Until he wasn’t.
Sleep was his escape until it eluded him in the spring of 2020.
I can look back at entries and the pictures taken from the same days/weeks, and a bigger picture emerges. Living with someone suffering from depression and hiding it from the world becomes a monumental task. I can see how parts of myself were being chipped away, too. Small changes over time make for significant changes over the long haul. We adapt. We learn to dress “around” the wound. And then it just becomes “normal.” We behave in ways to make the obvious become oblivious. We steer conversations to small talk—and that’s exhausting.
In just a few days, I’ll begin the task of excavating Joe’s “man cave” and turning it into a guest room. I’m looking forward to doing something physical to move me forward in my healing. I’ve wanted to redo his room for years—and he’d never let me touch it. I don’t have a “plan,” per se, though I do know a few things that will happen there; I can’t quite get a clear picture of what it will look like in the end. But rarely does a redo ever turn out quite the way I expect to, anyway. It’ll be my first “project” without him. We were weekend warriors in our downtime, tackling at least one big project a year. I’m gonna miss that—a lot.
So this month, January 2022, will be spent at home. Candles are already lit (because obviously, they set the whole cozy mood!) Time to transform this one small space to honor my healing. But not just mine—for all who have been here—to reflect, look forward, and heal.
September 5, 2018—
I love this man so much! I don’t want to take one single thing for granted. Not one moment. Not one breath.
He is gone, but as long as I have breath in me he will never be forgotten.
As always…thank you for reading, commenting, sharing and your lovely messages of hope, faith and inspiration. They mean everything to me!
To your healing, and mine.
xo, and peace.
p.s. If what I’m writing resonates with you, let me know. Leaving a comment here on the blog is the best way to connect. I want to keep writing (I still have so much to say), to keep sharing, to continue healing. This is helping me. I hope that it’s also helping you.
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I just want the pain to stop… (video)
Suicide is not a selfish act. It’s a desperate act.
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Have a fabulous New Year!