It is always good to pass an anniversary date. I survived Father's Day (first Sunday in September for us) as I went out west and celebrated it with my younger son and he had his daughter for three days including Father's Day so that was good. Ray's birthday also came and went, I was sad but didn't surrender to those sad feelings. I am learning not to give in to sadness but to be brisk with myself and just move forward as best I can. The anniversary of his death I spent with my daughter and her family and went to my grand daughter's school concert the next day and really enjoyed that and she was glad i was there to see her perform. I find now I am able now to layer memories so there are some new memories and the old ones are not as painful.
And now it is truly Spring and there is plenty to do in the garden, some Spring cleaning to do in the house and the outside to decobweb etc. It is good to be busy and when I work in the garden I sleep better. I haven't made many plans for summer this year. I haven't planned a holiday except the usual ones to visit my children. I am glad in a way that that is an option because for many years I was unable visit them as often. It seemed impossible to move freely around the state with a husband in a wheelchair. Carrying all his medical needs etc made travel a chore rather than a pleasure so I never enjoyed it much. It was rather like going away on holidays and taking your work with you. Now I can sit back and relax and enjoy the train journeys, the flights and the changes in the scenery.
After four years there have been some changes here. I look around my house and garden and can see where I have moved things around and that is good. My first thoughts after Ray's death were that I would move from here after a couple of years and that did not happen. I can see now there is less need to move as I am managing okay with most of the chores that being in a house on your own brings. My son from out west did some small jobs while he was here, a neighbour helped me with a problem last week. It is not so hard now when I look around to say "my" instead of "our" and "me" instead of "we" so if you are having a problem with that take heart, it just takes time.
I don't think as much about the friends I have lost, instead I concentrate on keeping in touch with the friends who are still a part of my life. It was easy to expect others to contact me and I did that for a couple of years but now I know others are busy too with various things happening in their lives so I don't expect the phone calls etc to be from them. If I want to contact someone who I haven't heard from in a while I just do it. Remember that saying: "If it is to be, it is up to me"? I think this is also a sign that I am moving forward. It seemed to take me so long to get to this place, but I have learned that the people who have been saying "take your time grieving" and "it will happen when it happens" were right. So I have taken my time.
I don't like being a widow and I am still lonely but I can now stay at home a couple of days without seeing anyone and I am fine. I treat my house as if it is mine now. I know it will never be a family home while I live in it. I am slowly packing away the toys small children play with as my grandchildren, who I hardly see now, are growing up and will not need the "baby" toys to play with. It is part of trying to live in the present rather than the past. My house was always full of toys but they are no longer played with so I can donate them to a charity shop and maybe other children will get pleasure out of them. It is hard to dismantle my world in this way but realistically it has to happen.
Other people are also getting used to my widow status now. It has taken a while for me not to feel awkward around groups of married couples but I am slowly achieving that. I can stand on the edge of a group and suddenly will find myself engaged in the conversation. It has taken a while to do that but it seems to be coming more easily now. I think when you are confident in your new role that happens. I can say: "My husband died four years ago" without tearing up or my voice breaking. I don't know why it has taken me this long, it just has. It is true we do it all in our own time. And my time to be just me is closer now.