I make it no secret, I do not like going anywhere I have never been before. The one who holds a black belt in excuse making, can produce them all. I don’t know how to get there, I don’t know where to park once I do. I don’t.. I don’t.. I don’t…This might happen, that could happen, it never ends. I didn’t use to be this way, but I am now. I know at least part of the reasons, but I also know I need to overcome this and remove the albatross from around my neck. I don’t like myself being this way, and I am working to overcome it. I share this journey in the hopes of placing a directional sign or a word that might help someone else who is facing the same battle and give them encouragement.
When I lost my husband suddenly, my entire world was rocked. Every method, every action, every way I had of doing things, was derailed. I was left staring out across a very new and different landscape with no roadmaps. By the time to shock of loss had worn off, I was already deep in the journey. There was so much that had to be done, people to talk to, bills to pay, I felt as if I were on a tandem bike alone and struggling to make it go. We had been together for well over thirty years, in all that time, I had not made a major decision without discussing it with him. In all that time, I had rarely gone anywhere of any distance without him. The times I did, our son was with me. My anchor, my rock was gone.
Its been almost four years. I’ve heard and I’ve read that grief has no time line and we all grieve and heal on our own personal levels. Its been almost four years. It still feels very odd when I make a major decision or face an obstacle on my own. I still want to reach for the phone and make a call and ask, what do you think? Because I am still learning and relearning my capabilities. I am still struggling to find and bring forth that inner strength that I know is there. Simply buried and waiting. So I celebrate small victories.
The first time I took Bella and went to hike the mountain, I was guessing at where I was going. I had checked a mapping site online and thought I knew. I got in the car and went. All the way my heart pounded wildly and my nerves begged me to turn back around and go home. In spite of that, I managed to find the parking area and slowly find my way up a mountain by following a well maintained trail. At the top I met a new friend who showed me the other way down and we walked and chatted the entire way back to the parking area. A reward for the effort.
The first group event for the Jeep club was not far from where I live. All the way from home to there every possible thing that could go wrong, rolled on a loop through my mind. I even debated on just passing by and not stopping, but I did. I pulled in, I parked and I got out and spoke. Within minutes I was embraced as one of them. Shortly afterward a friend of my son’s showed up and we had a great conversation. I stayed until it ended.
Today, I needed to go somewhere I had not been before. I needed to pick up something I had ordered that had come in. I did cheat a little in that I took mom with me. She gave me company and I gave her a couple of minutes out of the house. She had no idea where we were going so that left me to find it myself, as I had intended. Find it I did. Find a place to park, I did. To be honest, it was almost a straight shot. To be even more honest, I’ve managed to get lost on those straight shots.
I still celebrate it as a victory. I went, I found, I succeeded. Every small victory, is a step in the right direction. Every victory, small or large, is a step up the ladder to better, stronger, braver. Those who suffer anxiety or panic attacks will understand. There are times, when its easier to just stay home, tucked away safe. To be able to stand up and say I did it, is a big deal. So every act of defiance to that fear, is a sign of strength. That first step, is the beginning of a journey toward a more enjoyable life filled with the adventure and joy of simply living.