The best thing I ever found was me.
My husband of thirty four years passed away from cancer two years ago. I lost my best friend, the father of my children, my sounding board and my main reason for laughter. He left me in a hole to crawl out of. Our marriage was compartmentilized by our strength and weaknesses. He did the finances, the fixing and tidying up of our everyday lives. I sent him out to return unwanted or defective items to the stores. I had him call inefectual labourers to complain because I didn't have the guts. My job was anything school related. I went to PTA's, teacher conferences, field trips, oversaw homework and did the projects so that my children would get an 'A'. He drove me and the kids up and down, around and about wherever we needed to be. He drove us effortlessly on every highway in the country and abroad I drove to the mall, the grocery store, the school and to lunch with my girlfriends. He worked his butt off so that we could live a good and happy life. I loved him for that.
Then he had to go and die. The nerve of it! We had some time between the diagnoses and the coma to get things in order. But we never really believed the ominous dark shadows in his liver on the scans. In person he looked so vibrant, so full of life. There had to be a mistake. He went through the surgeries, the pain, the treatments and the all the indignities of fighting for ones life. He was a warrior, a winner in every thing that he did and I believed that he would win this Cancer war. In the end he became weak and fragile and he looked like the Cancer that was eating him inside. He left me lists of instructions and a detailed computer software of all matters to do with living as if he was going away on vacation and I had to hold the fort until he returned.
After he was dead and buried the lists made no sense and the computer with all his information and security codes a crashed never to be resurrected again.
I panicked. I cried. I opened the dreaded envelopes with shaking hands. I looked at the bank statements made up of jumbled numbers that made no sense. Everything broke down within the first few weeks- the washing machine, the dryer, the ice maker, the cable - like they were testing me to see what I would do.
I lay in my bed at night clutching my two young daughters in my arms telling them and me that everything will be all right. I knew that it was for them that I had to get up in the morning with a smile on my face while I had to hide my swollen eyes.
We went on a seven day cruise to run away from my fears. It was the worst thing I could have done. While they had fun at the Kids Club, I walked around the decks, the lounges, the dining halls feeling alone and lost. I ate by myself while watching other couples interact. After the children were snuggled up in their bunks for the night, I cried myself to sleep as the ship raced along the ocean board.
I can't put a time or place when I woke up one morning back in my bed at home and the fog lifted off of me. I saw clearly for the first time in a year. I was listening to music as if for the first time. I looked in the mirror with new eyes and saw that I had slimmed down and my cheekbones gave my face an appealing shape. I still had a great smile and a twinkle in my eye. I started to excercise at home to a DVD to build up my strength both inside and out.
I went shopping and resisted buying 'safe' clothes instead I chose edgier tops, and tighter jeans and cooler dresses. I bought higher, sexy heels that showed off the lines of my legs. I regrouped with my greatest allies - my girlfriends. I could laugh, get tipsy and be silly even if my children were rolling their eyes. I jumped in the pool fully clothed on a moonless summer night. I looked ujp at the stars and smiled. I started dating and was thrown into a world that had changed so much yet so little since I was single. I learned that all we desire and dream is to connect and to be loved and to love.
I got my groove on back. Which is such a dated statement but that is who I am. I found that I am strong, resilient, cute, serious and capable of facing my deepest fears. I discovered that I can do whatever I thought I could not. I am fifty eight years young and for the first time in my life I am able to say that I found me.