A dear friend contacted me at random yesterday. They’re having a get-together at a nearby hotel, and asked if I could join them. Dinner and drinks will be served. They set me up with a hotel room and made sure it was OK that I brought Nora and Charlie, not just to the hotel but to the party as well.
I freaked out a bit, and I had no idea why. Mind you, I’m incredibly appreciative of their kind offer and will take them up on it. Still, somehow I was lying awake at 2 AM last night thinking about this and why it suddenly ramped up my anxieties to a fever pitch. I think I can make some guesses.
Dan and I were together for 18 years. In social situations, there was rarely just me or just him – it was usually us together, and I was very OK with that. I always loved spending time with my husband any way that I could. This meant that we weren’t really good at spontaneity, though. Travel required packing and making sure we had all electronics, CPAP, clothes, toiletries, etc. that we both needed. The dogs needed someone to watch them. Dan had food allergies we needed to take into consideration, as well as occasional flare-ups of IBS. So travel required some degree of planning ahead.
Now, within the span of 24 hours, I have received an invitation and will throw the dogs in the car and go spend the night away from home with pretty much no planning at all. Mind you, I did this for the 12+ years I lived on my own before I met Dan so it’s not like I’ve never done so.
I realized that this is a very firm reminder that Dan is gone. And that’s a new kind of pain.
As with so many feelings I’ve had over the last month, I have to acknowledge that pain and deal with it. It’s not going to go away – this isn’t something that gets better. But I will learn to deal with it. I will go and I will spend time with friends. I will have fun and re-learn a bit of spontaneity. I may need to take a break from time to time, but in the end I think I will be glad I went. Certainly nothing good is served by sitting at home alone.
Life goes on, and every day is a new day of learning to cope. Some days I’ll cry, some days I won’t. I will find new ways to press on. But I will never, never, never forget my love for Dan and the wonderful life we had together.
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