Monday, October 4, 2010

I've Got a Mountain to Climb Before I Get Over This Hill

It's just the first part of October, and I'm already dreading the months ahead. I keep going back and forth between two pieces of advice that have popped up over and over in my grief books -- 1) Take one day at a time; 2) Plan ahead for difficult occasions. How do I plan ahead without getting overwhelmed at what lies ahead? Isn't planning ahead contrary to the very concept of living one day at a time?

Regardless of how I approach things, I've got the following dates/occasions/milestones that I think will be tough:

1) October 16 -- first family Thanksgiving/Christmas (my grandparents are snowbirds, so we celebrate before they head to Texas for the winter)
2) October 16 -- Animal Lifeline of Iowa annual fundraising auction (Brian was on the Board of Directors; we went to the auction every year)
3) October 17 -- Des Moines 1/2 Marathon
4) October 23 -- wedding in California (Brian and I looked forward to the trip together, as well as celebrating the love and happiness of our good friends who are getting married)
5) October 29-31 -- Freeze Out (an annual event my dad's side of the family organizes; we all camp out -- in campers and cabins! -- and have fires, etc.)
6) Thanksgiving -- times at least two (Coopers & Bokas)
7) December 16 -- Brian's birthday (he would have been 32)
8) Christmas -- I'll probably have 5 Christmas celebrations to attend, in addition to the one in October (we were blessed with large, young, healthy families that still celebrate together every year)
9) December 28 -- my birthday (which I may or may not celebrate this year)
10) New Year's Eve -- in addition to being a holiday where you kiss your partner at midnight, I'll be at a wedding reception
11) January 17 -- the one year anniversary of Brian's death

All in all, I'll have more than a dozen tough occasions (remember, FIVE Christmases!) in the next 3 1/2 months. I literally don't know how I'll make it through them all. I suppose one day -- or one hour, or maybe one MINUTE -- at a time.

I keep going back and forth between thinking I should make plans in advance so I know I won't wind up with nothing to do and nowhere to go, and thinking I should play it by ear to just see what I'm feeling up to at the time. Of course, there is also the fact that I don't want to let anybody down by missing their Christmas dinner, their gift exchange, etc. These aren't office holiday parties I'm talking about -- how do I not attend Christmas with grandparents, aunts and uncles, etc.? If I do limit myself -- say, to three celebrations -- how do I choose which?

I am absolutely paralyzed by fear of the coming months. I panic right now to look at the date on the calendar...October 4. How did that come so quickly? If the days keep going that quickly, I won't be emotionally prepared for the things to come! On the other hand, would it really help if I had more time to prepare? Probably not.

I guess I'll just focus on one OCCASION at a time. In two weeks, I've got a doozie of a weekend -- family holiday, Animal Lifeline fundraiser, and the Des Moines Half Marathon...all within the same 24 hour time span. I don't know if "one day at a time" will quite cut it. I just hope "one hour at a time" or "one minute at a time" will.

1 comment:

  1. The good thing, Wendy, is that you have laid these dates out for all to see so hopefully you will get some good support through each and every tough day you have to encounter. Just rely on everyone around you and you will get through it. You are a strong person and we are all thinking of you. Wish I was there to help you out but I am only an email away if you need to vent. :)