One week ago, we wrapped up what was easily the busiest Camp Widow I’ve ever taken part in. In two days, it will be the five year anniversary of Megan’s death. Winter has blown into northeast Ohio early this year, with our first snow coming in before the leaves had even had the chance to fall off of the trees. The holidays will be here before we know it.
My brain, and body, are in overdrive right now, and that’s not even counting my day job, which is just plain busy. Time to think about Megan has been minimal. That is both a blessing and a curse. With five years imminent, I feel like a SHOULD be primarily thinking about that fact.
But I’m not. I’ve been thinking about building chandeliers. About yard work. About getting a snowblower, driving to Toronto and upstate New York, changing the oil in the car, and prepping for what is looking like a long winter. At Camp Widow, my name tag contained the titles of “Ambassador”, “Volunteer”, and “Regional Leader”, not to mention that I’m a writer here, and assisted Sarah in presenting her workshop.
All of this has taken precedence over the title of “5 years” that was also emblazoned on my name tag.
There have been vestiges of it “hitting me”. By Saturday night, at the banquet, I finally had time to not be so busy. That is when it swooped in. I had spent so much time seeing others grieve that I couldn’t help but do it myself. I didn’t even want to “reap the rewards”, so to speak, of a good, honest few weeks work...I just wanted to go to bed.
I wasn’t my normal self at the banquet, because dammit, my wife died five years ago. I started tearing up, just sitting quietly at my table. I didn’t dance, I had no desire for a beer, or even to socialize. Kelly was sitting with me, and just like everyone else there...she got it. Camp Widow had struck again...I just wanted to grieve for a change, and by god, I was allowed to. Sarah and I went to bed not long after that. There were no hurt feelings, or me feeling like I was just being grumpy. I finally got the chance to take it all in.
Then Sunday morning hits, and I am right back to being busy. Packing up, attending breakfast, doing tear-down and packaging of the large “HOPE” sign and chandeliers, driving home, clearing customs (with the typical blank stares and “have a nice day” as soon as you tell the agent you were at a conference for widows), picking up dogs from the kennel, picking up Shelby, getting home, and prepping for work the next day.
Back to the grind.
I haven’t given sincere thought to Megan’s half-of-a-decade absence from this earth since the banquet. Home life is just as busy. There have only been those five-minute-triggers here and there...a movie scene, a song she liked. They have nothing to do with the milestone at hand. They just coincidentally happen to be occurring this week; they would be a trigger any day of the year.
Tuesday is “the day”. The 19th. I’ll be at work, with visitors that are assisting me on a major project. I’ll probably have to go in a bit early, and will get out of the office a bit late. As much as I would actually like to have the time to be somber and memorialize Megan, it’s just not likely going to happen. Five years will come and go as if it was any other Tuesday.
There are still times that I just don’t WANT it to be any other Tuesday. I deserve to grieve. I deserve to have a day that is mine and only mine to just lie in bed and sulk. But I realize that life, and the world doesn't work that way. I deserve nothing more from life than what I’ve already been given.
So what I have to do is watch for my window. Because I want to grieve, for some odd reason that only widows understand, I have to watch for that quiet, 10 minute period that I have to myself. No distractions jobs or triggers or chores...just my thoughts and I.
That is my window to grieve.