This Sunday, I woke up early because I drove my son to work for 7am. I found myself at a local coffee shop which isn’t any big deal, except that it is.
I drove by the coffeeshop that Mike and I went to when he was alive. I drove by it on purpose. I made a choice not to go there this morning.
Drinking coffee in our coffeeshop doesn’t bring Mike back to life. Death and coffee don’t work like that. Obviously, I’ve always known this; but, early on, I did it anyways. Hoping against hope, I would sit in our spot desperately praying that Mike would walk through the door. Now, after 2.8 years of widowhood, those days of wishful thinking are nearly over. It’s different now.
Recently, I’ve begun to accept the permanence of his death. In my head, I’ve know the foreverness of it all for a while now; but, in my heart, I just couldn’t grasp it. And, truthfully, a part of me still can’t. But, I’m starting to make headway with acceptance; and this is making all the difference.
Acceptance is a word I have hated for the better part of almost three years. Until recently, I could not marry the idea of acceptance and Mike's death in my heart. In my mind, I have accepted his 'deadness' for some time now; but, in my heart, this is all new. Entertaining the acceptance of Mike’s death is allowing me to do things like purposefully passing by our coffeeshop. This morning, flirting with acceptance allowed me to drive past a relic of us and not feel bad. I didn’t feel like I betrayed us; instead I felt like I respected myself.
Driving past our past,
I paid respect to my aliveness.
I acknowledged my life.
I showed appreciation for myself as a human being - seperate from Mike.
I outwardly paid homage to still living.
I valued myself as complete - without him.
To those outside of the grief community, all of this might seem kinda far fetched or overly dramatic. But, I assure you it isn't. Choosing to pass by our coffeeshop was big stuff. Driving past our past is significant. And, not feeling poorly about it is absolutely monumental.
I am gaining traction. I am daring to live again. I didn’t died dammit. And, finally, I am beginning to action my life again. There is an acceptance about Mike’s death that is kicking in. Or, maybe it’s me accepting not his death, but MY LIFE as valid and worthy - even without him. Whatever it is that’s changing in my head and in my heart, I’m glad for it. More than glad actually.
So, with a new mindset and heartspace, I found myself sitting in a new coffeeshop just down the road from the one that’s familiar to me (and him). And, truth be told, this place is nicer than our regular coffee spot. It’s fresh. The layout is spacious and accommodating. The staff are enthusiastic and friendly. This place is exciting and full of possibilities. In many ways, this new coffeeshop reflects my future - I’m aware of this.
As I sip my Americano, I look out the window and there, right in front of me, is the grocery store we went to. (Of course) . For me, there are still traces of Mike everywhere. Maybe there always will be... I guess things change, but there is no escaping the past. It’s there in plain view even when you change your location and go to a new coffeeshop.
And, after all this time without him, I’m okay with this. I’m okay with the reminders of him. I’m okay with memories of our shared life. And, I’m okay drinking my coffee alone in a new coffeeshop. A place he’s never physically been. A spot that was built after Mike died. I’m becoming okay with all of this. All these weird, dumb crazy things don’t make me cry anymore. This is progress.