With the exception of family events that happened after my husband’s death, I haven’t been ready to celebrate anything or plan for a party that would take place just to have fun. In order to give a party, you have to be ready to enjoy yourself and the people you are inviting to the event. You have to care about what they are going to eat and drink, what music you are going to play and what you’re going to wear. You have to be engaged in life; ready to do the emotional work of moving forward and doing something different by yourself.
It can be scary but I am finding that it’s worth it.
For the past few years, I have been using all of my energy to put one foot in front of the other and deal with the nuts and bolts of life: solving problems, carpooling, paying bills, going to work. You have a different perspective on things after you have lost a loved one. Things that you might have thought were the end of the world aren’t anymore because you know what the end of the world feels like.
At the same time, things that you previously might have thought were wonderful really aren’t that great because you are reminded that your loved one isn’t there to share it with you. So you sort of stay in neutral to protect yourself and just deal with life as it comes at you.
People would visit us and my son’s friends would hangout but I didn’t really look at what the the house looked like. I wanted it to look just like it did when my husband lived there. I kept it clean and made sure that everything was pretty much in the same place. I had no inclination to paint, move anything around or replace anything. It was just there.
I can’t tell you how long this went on but one day I just walked into the house and I knew it was time to change things around. Not in a drastic way, as in a renovation, but more in the subtle way of knowing that it’s okay to paint a room or change a picture or move the furniture. The feeling was similar to when we first bought our house and I remember how worthwhile it felt that with each room we cleaned and changed it became more our house and less the previous owners.
Almost in the same way, I felt that every time I changed the house from the way that it was when my husband was alive was a change that in some way minimized the memory of him and I didn’t want to do that. It took me awhile to understand that it’s okay to make changes to the house. I slowly came to the realization that I wouldn’t have kept it looking the same if he were alive, so I shouldn’t feel bad about changing it now that he is no longer living here.
My husband and I used to have a lot of parties when he was alive and I miss that very much. But I can’t go backwards so I choose to embrace the blessings I now have in my life. It feels good to once again open up the house and welcome family and friends.