It was shortly after our loss, the winter weather was wearing on me, and my husband was stuck working every day. I often woke up on Saturday and Sunday without him there, wondering why in the world I should even get out of bed.
But out of bed I went, and now that I look back and can clearly see the shit storm of depression I was in, I'm kind of proud of that.
I tried to find reasons to get out of bed. One of these reasons was to get to a local Amish market by us. I always knew it was there, but it was just habit and ease that always led me to the supermarket instead. The first time I went to the market, I remember grinning as I walked around buying baked goods and roasted chickens. I was surrounded by people, wonderful smells, and all kinds of fresh delicious food.
To this day, going to that market makes me happy.
Shortly after surviving that awful month, I sat down and made a list of things to do in the summer. The idea was to look ahead - to make sure we actually do stuff this summer, rather than just working on the house, or looking at one another on a nice Saturday wondering what the heck we could do. The last thing I wanted was more time alone to wallow. It has since been my mission to have something fun planned every and any weekend we possibly can, and so far, I am succeeding.
It has helped immensely. I feel like I have purpose. I have fun things to look forward to, and consequently, interesting things to actually talk to people about. I had previously found myself having difficulty in social situations, because the only thing on my mind was loss. I was at a serious loss for anything else to talk about. I started not wanting to go anywhere, or to see anyone but my mom and my 2 closest friends. I was withdrawing. As you can imagine, this wasn't helping my situation.
So as part of our summer of doing stuff, we recently found ourselves with some good friends on a cocktail cruise. At about 9pm, after a few drinks, my friend asked me if I wanted to row with her in the morning. I've been meaning to give it a try for years, but never found the time or inclination. This time, between my mission to try new things and the alcohol, the answer was a clear yes.
And so there I was, 12 hours later, in a boat, trying to keep up with 3 experienced rowers. It was not pretty, but I loved it. I mean, really, really loved it. I drove home with the music blasting, and as I sang at the top of my lungs, I had a very sudden and undeniable thought:
I am happy.
My next thought was that I hadn't felt happy in five months. I had some laughs, some good times with friends, but this was the first time I felt joy. And so back to the river the next day I went. I joined a learn to row class. I have plans to join the club, to take more lessons, and maybe even join a competition. I'll probably come in last place, which would normally drive my super competitive self insane (OK, it probably still will a bit), but I know I'll drive home feeling accomplished, and with a new goal to do better next time.
My arms and legs are sore. I'm pretty sure I pulled my neck at one of the classes. I have a permanent bruise in one spot on my leg (and I am honestly not sure why), and my hands are so blistered it's hard to hold the steering wheel.
Yet here I am, looking at my schedule so I can figure out when I can row that beautiful river next.