So, it’s been a few weeks since I packed my car and drove 1,000+ miles to do some more healing, and to rediscover who I am on my own with my husband’s urn and the teddy bear my children gave me last Mother’s Day buckled in the passenger seat. Perhaps it’s actually discovery, rather than rediscovery, as I haven’t been on my own as an adult.h
The drive up was relatively uneventful (save an unexpected detour through NYC after finding myself on the George Washington Bridge one moment, and on Broadway the next) but long, despite a midway overnight with family. My mother was worried that I was driving so far by myself, and she seems to fear me being alone in general. She doesn’t seem to understand that I often need time on my own to recharge, and being alone doesn’t necessarily equate to being lonely.
Since arriving on this eccentric, little island in the Atlantic, I have been both settling in, and trying to adjust to a job not behind a desk.
The settling in has been surprisingly easy. My friend / hostess and her husband have made me feel more welcomed than I could have imagined possible. I feared that I would be disrupting their lives on a selfish whim, but they have opened their hearts and home to me so widely, I feel like one of the family.
Their six (that’s right… 6!) very large “lapdogs” have also quickly made me one of the pack, and I often open my eyes to find one or more staring at me as if to say it’s past time for me to start my day. They take turns snuggling with me on the couch as I drink my morning coffee, and sometimes they’ll jostle for the best position.
The adjustment to working has been a bit more challenging, at least physically. Having waitressed off and on since I was 16, I knew it wouldn’t be a breeze getting back into it full time at my age, but I had forgotten how demanding it really is. My feet, especially, haven’t been pleased with my decision; the second 12+- hour shift in a 72 hour period was followed by me returning home and crying myself to sleep because my feet were sore and my legs were aching.
A would always give the best foot massages whenever I’d waitressed in the past, and I cried as much from the emotional emptiness of not having him here to comfort me, as the physical pain I was feeling. Although I try, it’s nearly impossible to give oneself a proper foot massage. It just isn’t the same. I’m hopeful that as I continue working, my body will eventually adjust. Until then, I’ll just grin and bear it. (And suffer occasional breakdowns, as necessary.)
But when I’m not working, I’ve been trying to explore this little island, most of the time with my friend, but occasionally on my own, as well. There is something peaceful and cathartic about the ocean, something A knew long before I did, and he tried to share it with me. That’s probably why I feel his presence there so strongly. I find self drawn to the shore much more since he passed than I ever really did while he was alive.
Each of these moments spent listening to the waves lapping the shoreline and wandering the sandy beaches in search of seashells and photo ops have brought me one step closer to A and myself. And so, I’ll continue to take some time to appreciate my surroundings even as I continue to learn who I am, and I’ll definitely be in an even better place than when I started.
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