It's December 20, and I take off from Des Moines to head to Austin again today. This will be my fourth trip this month. I've been back and forth by private plane, commercial flights, and moving truck. Today, I take my own vehicle down. I have one more trip back to Iowa at the end of the month. This isn't the easiest way to move, but it is actually the least stressful. I have had a lot of time to pick out the perfect apartment for me, to figure out exactly what will and will not make the cut to be moved across the country and find a place in my future life.
I've had so much going on that I've just been on auto-pilot. I managed to get through Brian's birthday and several family Christmas celebrations without any major breakdowns. Yesterday, I did have a breakdown, a bad day. The day started well, with my immediate family having our Christmas brunch and gift exchange. Then I stopped at my aunt Amanda's house to see her, my uncle Randy, and my cousin Max one more time. I'm very close to these three -- Mandy and I grew up like sisters, and she's only a couple years older than me. After that, I stopped at the Letts Cemetery to pay my respects to our friends Sam and Jackie one last time before my move. Sam would have been 32 tomorrow, just like Brian would have been 32 last week.
Leaving the cemetery, my anger and frustration took over. I'm only 29 years old -- why am I spending so much time at cemeteries?! I remembered times Brian and I spent with Sam and Jackie and I felt left out that they were all together now, while I was not. I was left behind...left out. It sounds crazy, but in some ways I was jealous that at least those two went together. I have to live through this hell, to feel the excruciating pain, guilt and loneliness that inevitably comes when one spouse dies and leaves another to live on.
I think another thing that shook me and lead to my bad day was that I dreamed about Brian Saturday night. It was vague, but I know we spoke to each other. In the dream, he was alive, but it was as though he had been in a coma and just woken up. I don't remember specifics, and that pains me. I hope that if he was trying to tell me something, he will keep trying until I can hear his message.
For whatever reason, yesterday was a tough day. I've been having more good days than bad days recently, and thought I was doing well. I guess I am still doing well, even if there was one day in which that wasn't the case. It's funny how one bad day can loom so large that it overwhelms the good days and makes them all but disappear in my mind. On a bad day, it's as though a big dark cloud rolls in that is so dark, heavy, and large, it's hard to remember that the sun ever shined or to believe that it ever will again. After a bad day like that, I know it will take a while for me to have another truly good day. The storm front takes time to roll through and away, off the horizon. I guess it makes sense -- a tornado doesn't last long, but the aftereffects are devastating and it takes serious time and effort to clean up the debris and rainwater and to restore things to their previous condition, if that is even possible.
In a way, it's like Hurricane Katrina hit me in January and since then, it is a series of lesser storms that just keep hitting. The storms get smaller and less frequent, but they are still devastating.
The fact that no storms -- no bad days -- hit while I was moving, on a birthday or during a family holiday is almost a miracle. I don't know whether I should attribute that to divine help from God, from Brian, from prayers and positive thoughts that I know others have been sending my way, or because I've just been too preoccupied and busy to think about anything but moving, traveling, packing, and logistics. I've been in survival mode, focusing on how to get through the next task at hand.
Today, I start to pick up after the storm that yesterday brought. Today, I head back to Austin again. Today, I focus once again on the next task, the next trip, at hand. Today will be a better day. Once again, I have to get back to living one day at a time. Today, I start picking up the pieces.