There are literal things that got me through the first year of widowhood…
Soon after Kevin passed, I bought myself new, fun panties. Hawaiian prints, penguins, sparkly butterflies. I was 14 again, and I wanted something HAPPY, so I picked the most un-sexy, girly, kid-like panties I could find. And some push up bras. I figured I could at least have some ample cleavage to feel good about.
I stalked Airfare Watchdog and took a complete stranger, yet close online friend, up on a trip to visit her and her family outside of San Fran. And while I was at it, I flew to see one of my best guy friends in Seattle. It was an inexpensive two week trip with free places to crash, a lot of wine, and cheap plane tickets.
Gain Apple Mango Tango. Yes, I fell in love with a laundry detergent. It took nearly 1.5 years to give up this addiction and choose more green, plant based soaps to be more environmentally friendly. But no lie, this was what allowed me to still get laundry done. The smell of Gain was like no other. It made me happy and excited to do laundry. The scent it left on my clothes was comforting and smiley. There is a reason their website is Ilovegain.com.
Sports took on a new fascination with me. The Steelers went to the superbowl, I bought a Ward jersey. I never cross country skied, so I signed up for a writing assignment to learn. I attended as many Hershey Bears hockey games as I could afford. I went downhill skiing for the first time in nearly 10 years after convincing a girlfriend that she was crazy enough to do it too-and we didn’t die! I hiked parks locally and in other states just in an effort to be outdoors. I researched Surf Fishing to understand Kevin’s love of the sport a bit more, and it made me want to get out to the ocean even more.
I drank. A lot. I never really got drunk much before in my life, but I did quite a few times that first year, and it was NEVER EVER WORTH IT. Give me a nice glass of wine any day over getting trashed. Seriously. But I do miss those California vinos…
I let myself be happy with whatever made me happy. I gave myself card blanche that first year to do what I needed to do to get me through. Some of it wasn’t healthy, some of it was dangerous, some irresponsible, but all worth it. I regret some of the things I chose to do, some I will not mention, but ultimately I don’t beat myself up about those things. At the time, in my loneliness, in my severe pain, it was what was needed to help me get through that particular day.
So now, I try not to judge. I try to understand that people are struggling with their lives, and they choose the things they do to get through. But that’s a struggle for me, I’ll admit. I was and can be that bratty, judgmental, youngest child. I got my way a lot, so yeah, it’s hard for me sometimes. But widowhood has definitely knocked me down a peg or two. For the most part, I get it. I get you. I try to understand.
Do what you gotta do, I’ll try not to judge. Just love yourself while you do it.