The newest normal

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The newest normal

It’s that time of year for me. The calm before and after the storm space between Christmas and January 29th. I made it, I breathe my sweet sigh of relief after the holidays. I suppose many parents (and non-parents) feel some relief that the holidays passed and we survived. We didn’t get caught filling stockings, there was joy over electronic devices, some decorations got hung, cookies got made. Maybe next year I’ll send Christmas cards, maybe. The hustle and bustle calms down now. It’s quiet.
I never really liked this time of year. The nights are long and the days are often cold and dreary. I feel constantly cold, and now that I am a certain age, my body aches. I want to sleep. Maybe hibernate even. It’s the late afternoon of the year.
I’ve started planning fun things to do in January to combat the slump. And that helps. But there’s something looming out there. Something I’m probably trying to avoid.
I stood in the rain last night for a bit. I was a little buzzed from a couple of quick beers that I drank, and the rain felt nice, cold. As I stared down at rain droplets splashing into a puddle I felt heavy, like someone had just laid one of those protective vests on me that you wear before you get an X-ray. Why? Why does Chris wade up to me sometimes. His ghost almost visible in the foggy rain. In that rainy blur, his weight fills me.
This will be the third anniversary of his death. That 3 feels like it holds weight. Not the first year, that was a blur of paperwork, a disconnected, disjointed, surreal year. The second year was the dragging out of the fog, the “ok, looks like this is real, now what?” And now…what. There is a new normal, like it or not. Its what we do every day. But it still feels strange, like staying in someone else’s house, the food is good, but not familiar. Their toilet paper is different and I don’t know where the clean towels are. I’m not totally comfortable in my own skin, with my own thoughts. The difference is:I want to be.
I’m ready. Ready to feel at home, ready to not just tolerate the new normal, but to embrace it. I want to feel settled, happy. I want to love again, love myself again that is. I want to forgive myself for what I know logically was not my fault. It’s time to face that ghost that hides in the rain, to forgive him for what I know logically was not his fault.
This is a space for healing, for approaching that third anniversary with open heart and open mind. Feel the feelings that accompany that. Feel the sadness over having lost my nation of two, feel the anger over having to raise these three beautiful girls alone, feel the regret of wishing I had done more, feel the relief of survival , feel the comfort of the new normal.

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