Last night was one year ago that Jack died. Hard to believe sometimes. A friend came over. We hung out and talked until VERY late and drank some of Jack's last brew that he'd been working on. I was able to look at my watch and mark the times. I'm glad to have gotten through it.
Also, earlier in the day, the girls and I went to the Unitarian Universalist church that we've been attending. The girls and I wore our t-shirts with Jack's picture on them. I lit a candle of remberance for him. After I sat down, the tears started to silently fall. Within minutes, 2 ladies were sitting beside me, including one who remembers Jack from Ancient Ways festivals. It was good to be able to cry as long as I needed to. Another lady told me at the end of the service that her whole row was crying with me. Wow. It was comforting to get so many hugs and pats from people there.
Leading up to that day was difficult at best. It was anxiety-provoking at times. I was dreading it. I had medication to help me if needed (it was at times). In some ways, the build-up was worse than the actual day. But it was still tough. And I got through it.
The last year has been one of the most difficult years of my life. It has also been one of many things happening along with adaptation. In terms of our physical surroundings, not much has changed. I didn't want to. I'm not in a place to move, nor do I want to right now. Jack's passing was enough of a change all by itself. However here is some of what HAS happened: I have taken several trips with the girls, both by car and plane (some without help); the girls have finally been to Disneyland and met some of their favorite characters; Jack's dad has met me and the girls and spent time with us; we've connected with Jack's sisters and neice; we've found a church home where there's spiritual community and acceptance of our beliefs (we're still just as Pagan as we've always been); I've finished my RN refresher course so I can go back to work; I've adapted to being a single parent; I've found friends I didn't know I had.
Through all of this, I've still loved Jack, and I've known that he still loves me, even from the other side. There is a piece of my heart that will always be his. We remember him every day. Yet there is one thing that I'm beginning to learn through all of this: that I am loved just for me. Not because I'm Jack's widow, or that I'm Sarah and Gabby's mom. Just because I'm me. And, oddly, that has been one of the hardest lessons of all.