In the past (almost) two years since my husband died, I've been able to negotiate time off work for all the big milestones: his birthday, our wedding anniversary, his death anniversary and even my birthday.
This helped take the pressure of these challenging emotionally-charged days and let me focus on self-care, rest and just basically doing what I needed to do to get through them.
This coming Tuesday will be our second wedding anniversary and, for the first time, I'm thinking that maybe I'm ready to face the world and go to work that day.
I could probably book in an annual leave day if I wanted to, or at least work from home. I'm lucky in that I have a job with a very understanding organisation that places a high importance on a healthy life balance and flexible work options.
However, I'm not actually feeling like I NEED to do that this time. Instead, I almost feel that I want to try and have a 'normal' day. To conquer the grief or at least incorporate it in to my routine rather than having to put my life on hold for that moment.
This would not have been possible a year ago, or maybe even a couple of months ago. During the lead up to Dan's birthday in March, the pain crippled me and I arranged my week around the day.
Talking to my grief counsellor about it this week, she suggested that as time has passed and I have faced the pain, I have started to de-sensitive from the intensity of the loss.
She pointed out that I haven't reached this point without a lot of hard work. Through my personal growth, I'm starting to look back a little less. I'm living in the 'now' a little more and am not identifying myself purely as 'Dan's widow' quite as often.
For a long time, Dan's death was the central nucleus to everything in my life. It was linked to everything I did, every part of who I was, every decision I made and every thought I had. However I'm finding that I'm now living my life more for today and for what is ahead of me.
I can't predict how I will feel on Tuesday. I will mark the day and mourn my husband. I will take flowers to his grave, and remember the beautiful beautiful day that I married my sweetheart. There's a good chance that the wave will rise up and knock me off my feet because that is just the nature of grief. And if that happens, I'll revert to my back up plan and ride it out.
However in this moment, right here and now, I feel stronger, full of hope and motivated to take this new step. And that, my friends, is pretty damn awesome!
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