A Leaf Adrift

santa.jpgSomehow it ended up that Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day all fell on Thursdays this year, my day to write. It is the season so I know it doesn't really matter what day we write or what, if any, religion we practice - holiday time in general is hard for us widowed folk, but it certainly rings very clearly that I'm posting on days that are meaningful to many of us.


It makes me search for something special or meaningful to write about, but there isn't really anything particularly insightful that comes to mind. I'm just surviving as best I can, this second year without Mike, this time around at my parent's house almost on the other side of the world from my little house in Hawaii. Here in Virginia the air is crisp and cold, memories from my childhood stir and wobble my brain, old dear friends are revisited, and my house, dogs, new guy and "normal" (for what is normal anymore?) day-to-day life are very, very far away.


I am glad to be here. It feels like a healthy respite. A bit of perspective....even though Mike is very much on our lips and in our thoughts. We all miss his amiable, quirky presence...we remember how he used to make his tacos, which we tried to recreate for dinner one night; how he would entertain the kids, as the kid at heart he always was...how he would regale us with stories and jokes that never failed to bring laughter. We all miss him and his bright, lively presence. It took my parents a while to understand his unusual character but by the time he died they were as enamored of him as so many were, and they were also as devastated with his passing.


Being here brings to mind very much questions about my future. Will I be able to find a way to keep my little house in Hawaii? Will I want to spend more time back here with my parents anyway, as they get older? How can I reconcile all the future possibilities, present day responsibilities and past heartaches and disappointments? How will it all go as I move forward without Mike? What decisions will be the hardest, and what do I really want - what is realistic for me to expect? What should I, what could I, what would I do with my life now that he's gone in this middle, kind of awful, kind of notyounganymore but notoldyeteither time I didn't expect to be without him for?


I can't know the answers to those questions yet. I know I'm in limbo-land for awhile, so I am trying to lay much of that aside and just enjoy time with other loved ones. It's not always easy - one morning I woke from a fitful, jet-lagged sleep knowing I was dreaming of Mike but couldn't remember what or why...trying not to obsess about that or let those morning tears stain the rest of the days I have left here.


There are plenty of good moments. We saw Santa drive through the neighborhood atop an old fire engine decorated with lights, wishing us Merry Christmas over the loudspeaker the other night...and a beautiful fox appeared nosing around on the front doorstep. I spent an evening with a college friend in Georgetown, enjoyed an afternoon at the Kennedy Center, reminisced with a few dear high school pals, baked some nostalgic cookies, and shared our traditional Christmas Eve cheese fondue. I'm grateful to spend time with my mom and dad, and my brother and his family. And I'm lucky my new guy loves my dogs so much and was willing to take care of them while I'm gone, since he had to work. That's about as far as I think I should think right now.


Part of me just wants to keep going. Just wants to keep moving, traveling, seeking and journeying beyond my little house on that big island. Sometimes I catch myself daydreaming about living on the road, seeing where the world might take me...but I can't. I have responsibilities and financial limitations, as most of us do...deep inside somewhere though, losing Mike has made me feel unrooted...free in the sense of a leaf finding itself drifting with the cold winter wind, even as it would rather still be attached to the tree during a bright, warm summer.


For those with dear holiday memories of their lost loves, I send my heartfelt hugs, love, and aloha. I have no other words, no other solace, no other explanation or solutions. It just sucks and there is no way around it but through.


See you on the other side.


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