I spent yesterday moving furniture, again. Slowly I’m claiming this space as mine alone. It occurred to me that I should clarify something in an earlier post, in the interest of full disclosure. I cleaned out Stephen’s closet, but I didn’t pack anything away. I piled his clothes on the spare beds, still on the hangers. Packing them away, or giving them away(!) is completely beyond me. I wear his polo shirts, and his Teva sandals that are miles too big for me.
Baby steps, indeed.
I have made plans to spend the (Northern) summer in the US, with a short stop in Hong Kong on the way home. It will be winter here, which I hate, and I can spend lots of time with family and friends. Whenever I visited before, it was always a short visit. Stephen and I figured out, through trial and error, that 3 weeks was the longest we could be away from each other. Even then, we both of us cut a few visits short to come home earlier.
I’m also going to visit Stephen’s mum in England, and Stephen’s nephew who just moved back there who is a very close friend, not just family. I’ve rented a cottage at the Connecticut shore, and plan to spend the summer reading trashy novels, digging my toes in the sand. I used up my frequent flyer miles on a First Class ticket, and my hotel points on a nice hotel in Hong Kong. It gives me something to look forward to, and as it’s months away yet, I tell myself that I will be up to it by then. I’m hoping I will get out in search of dim sum and see the sights in Hong Kong – and not spend three days holed up in the hotel room. But, I will take it as it comes, and try not to beat myself up over it if I don’t meet the standards I’ve set in my head.
When I return home, it will have been almost a year since Stephen’s death. I can only imagine how difficult that milestone is going to be – I don’t even have the strength to think about it. Speaking of milestones, Stephen’s birthday is coming up in May. Stephen really was the man who had everything, and I so enjoyed searching for gifts that would mean something to him. I’m left with all those gifts now, and all the memories attached to them.
I also bought a ticket to the symphony in November. It’s so far ahead, I feel certain that I will actually go when the day comes. At least, right now, I’m looking forward to it.
I’ve begun thinking about what’s next for me. I’m no longer a housewife, I’m now a widow. That is more than enough for me to handle now, and for the foreseeable future. But I know that I will need something more, some day…something to keep me busy now that I don’t have a high-maintenance husband. I’m going to need some sort of income, eventually…but that’s as far as I get. Just thinking about it. Not doing anything about it, but I suppose that will come. I’m told this is progress. I’ve got time.
I’ve got nothing but time.
Looking ahead to my future without the husband that I love, it seems so very bleak to me. I concentrate on the short term, because I don’t want to plan a future without him. When I wrote that just now, I pictured myself as a child, stamping my foot - “I don’t want to!”
Screw it. I’m allowed to be selfish, and childish. In those moments, I picture myself with my head in my mother’s lap, with her hand on my head – it brings me comfort as nothing else can. Fair warning Mom – I’m expecting lots of cuddles when I get there.