So far this winter, thank goodness, the weather has been good to us. Before I moved back into the city, there was only one day that was a little scary as far as winter driving went. One day between November and mid-January? I can't complain, and I won't. Prior to this year, I had almost no winter driving experience. Mark always drove when the weather was crappy, I know, I was spoiled.
This weekend, we got all of the cold weather (-26 on Saturday and -30 on Sunday) at once. I had frozen pipes in my en suite and a frozen solid van. Fortunately, by Monday, both had thawed out (with some help from me). I really was caught off guard by the cold. I knew it was coming and I did manage to fill up the van with gas and get groceries but beyond that, I wasn't thinking about it, I was distracted.
Over the weekend, I kept thinking about how on the 16th (yesterday), it was 6 months since Mark had died. On Saturday I thought, "wow, it's been 6 months since we had to drive to Brockville for Mark to get his PICC put in." On Sunday I thought, "wow, it has been 6 months since we spent our last evening together..." Yesterday, I woke up and started getting ready for work. A head cold I'd been fighting all weekend had developed early on Sunday evening and yesterday morning, it was not letting me out of the house. We also had the first (only please?) big snow storm of the season. In between naps I had to pull on Mark's giant snow boots and shovel the porch/steps and the deck (for the doggies). I think that the fresh air probably helped me clear out my sinuses a bit, it didn't do much for my back but my head seemed better.
Between the cold/flu and the snow, I was distracted enough to keep on going yesterday and not get bogged down by the fact that it's been half of one year since Mark died. I've had to do a lot of things in the past 6 months which include moving and getting the house ready for sale. I've also had to keep the dogs on their routine and me on mine, working, seeing family and friends, trying to get back to normal, or making a new normal I suppose. I've learned a lot of stupid things that I should have known years ago, like topping up the window washer fluid for example.
As far as my grief goes, I think I feel a little worse now than I did those first few weeks after he died. I was a zombie those first few weeks, I was numb and didn't feel much beyond a deep sadness. I know that emotionally, I feel very raw. I feel things very differently now than I did before. I care less about little things and am not bothered by them. Whenever anyone I knows has a death in their family, I almost freak out. I feel so badly that they are going to have to experience this horrible pain that I'm going through and I don't want anyone else to have to. I know that's not practical or rational but it's what it is. Also, whenever someone I care about gets good news, I am so excited, like really excited. Any and all good news is amazing to me, after having had to deal with a lot of bad news.
Another thing I have noticed is that I am kinder and more patient (I think so anyway) with folks I deal with, store clerks, people you see in the line-ups in the shops, drivers on the road, neighbours, etc. It makes me feel better to do this. If folks think I'm a crazy lady because I chat with them in the store, I don't really care. I hope they start doing it too, it feels a lot better than being sad and angry and irritated.
The biggest thing that I've discovered since Mark died is how strong I am. I always considered myself to be a strong person but I never realized exactly how strong until recently. I'm quite proud of the fact that for the last six months, despite the fact that I cry myself to sleep almost every night, I still get up in the morning, feed the dogs, make coffee and start my day. I continue to take each moment as it comes.
Recently, since I moved, I'm feeling more peaceful. Moving back into that house where we were so happy was a good thing to do. I know that Mark would be really happy to see the dogs enjoying the deck he built for them. He'd particularly be proud of Gracie, she runs up and down the steps and in and out of the doggie door, chasing the squirrels and bossing Sammy around.
I have no idea what the next six months will bring but looking back to what I've been able to accomplish since August 16, I am confident that the decisions I've made have been the right ones to make for me and that Mark would have supported each and every one of them.