Resting on my laurels is almost too enormous a thought for me, but I’m going to give it a test drive. The widow in me feels somewhat jinxed by even writing the words on paper, because I know that bad things can happen. I’m going to suppress those feelings as well as I am able and give myself a break for a bit (at least as long as it takes to write this blog.) Over the past four or five years, I have been working diligently to accept and manage this unexpected life of mine. I have set goals and many times I have been able to achieve them. It has been an enlightening time in my life. I have had to completely reassess what is important to me and then align my life to support my priorities.
The health, well-being, and general happiness of my family are my first priority. It was my priority before Dave died, but it’s funny how the magnification of our home lives and relationships has changed. The balance of trying to do anything to make up to the boys that their dad died and not giving them whatever they want just to make them happy has been difficult. I have always wanted my boys to be hardworking, loving, compassionate people who are givers, not takers in this world. Then, life took their dad from them. It took a while for me to learn to accept I will never be able to make up for this. It took a while for me to come to grips that being their sole parent will be fine…maybe even a good experience for them. I still struggle with that one…I miss parenting with him. We were so different and he brought so many wonderful things to our lives. Re-aligning my brain, my actions, well, really my whole life and soul to meet this priority has kept me on my toes and working really, really hard over the past few years.
Another priority is modeling a life worth living. This is not just for my boys, but for me and anyone else around me that glance into my life. My husband loved life. My husband was a fun, happy guy. The last thing that he would ever want for me would be for my life to stop or be miserable. I’m not talking about my grief here…that is necessary…I have to recognize, name, experience and walk through my feelings, emotions, all of the consequences his death has brought me. I am talking about this unexpected life I have now. I’m talking about my happily ever after. I strive to remember the things that make me happy, the things that bring me joy, the good/healthy habits that bring me growth, the things that make me Chris, not just widow.
My third guiding principle these last years is to be kind. I am kind in a way that I truly didn’t know before he died. Kindness really drives me. Again, with this priority, I have to make sure there is balance and I am not trampled over by those who may not value the same things. Kindness does not mean pushover. Kindness, smart, strong, and even sassy can live together. I’ve always considered myself a servant-leader and acting with kindness toward others (and myself too) is at the root of this. My older son has asked me, “How are you always so nice to people mom, especially when people can be such jerks?” My reply is that it isn’t always easy, it’s a choice. It’s a choice to treat someone with dignity who may not do the same for you and at the end of the day I am at peace because I have been kind and loving to those around me.
These things will not change as I rest. These are constants. What will change? I will not be going after or trying to grab the next gold ring. I am going to enjoy the ride for a while. I am going to enjoy the culmination of my work for the last years. I am grateful for the struggles…working on my masters, getting my teaching certificate, getting/changing jobs, creating this blog, submitting work all over the place, learning to coach and then coaching, finding crossfit and working on my physical well-being…all these things have had me pushed to my maximum for a long time. Now, many of these things are my norm. Now, it is time for me to enjoy the nook I’ve carved out…enjoy the now, be present to today…maybe, dream about a future…yes, I said it…a future. Sitting in the here and now, resting my soul, and maybe walking into a future that doesn’t feel so foreign anymore.