The last few days have been bitter-sweet for me. I’m trying to move forward with life; trying to continue doing all of the things I used to enjoy. And in some ways, I’m very happy to be continuing but I’m so very sad at the same time.
Note: This post was originally shared on my “widowhood” blog, “Frances 3.0: Still in Beta”.
I’m busy getting ready for next weekend when I’ll have a house full of guests who will be joining me for Burns’ Supper. It’s one of those minor holidays that Paul and I used to really enjoy together. We’d make a big production out of the evening complete with a five-course meal and all the pomp-and-circumstance you’d expect for the celebration.
I can’t help but remember the last time we had a house full of guests. It was Thanksgiving 2008, which fell on Paul’s birthday. There were a dozen people and the house was full of laughter. The day before Paul died we talked about that day and about how much fun it was. We talked about the next time we’d have a big dinner like that, and we were truly looking forward to it. What I didn’t know then was that the next time I’d host a big dinner he wouldn’t be there with me.
I’m really looking forward to having everyone over but I know that it will be difficult. I am certain that there will be moments throughout the weekend where I need to excuse myself from the activities, but I’m also certain that I will spend most of the time being happy. How can I not be happy when so many people are travelling so many miles to spend a holiday they’ve never heard of with me? (Between the four cars and one out-of-state flight, there will be over 3,500 miles travelled!)
In addition to making a big dinner, I’ll be running a race that weekend. It’s a 5k road race that Paul and I ran every year and it will be the first time I’ve run a race since the last one we ran together in February 2009. In fact, as I write this post, I’ve not run at all since a couple of days before he died. At first, I couldn’t run because the thought of running without Paul was too hard. Running is a time for me to reflect on everything that’s going on in my life and I know that in the early days I would have spent that time crying because I would be thinking about Paul. A couple of months after he died I was mentally ready to run, but I wasn’t eating enough to maintain normal activities let alone the calories needed for running.
Eventually, I forgot about running. From time to time I’d remember that I love to run but I didn’t have the motivation to go it alone. It dawned on me that I have a 10-year-old nephew who might want to join me in a race or two so I asked him if he’d be up for it. Because the next race on the calendar fell on the same weekend that Paul and I would have done Burns’ Supper it made sense to combine everything. And so, a weekend with a house full of guests has been planned.
The last time I ran was a couple of days before Paul died. We were both in training for a 12k race that took place the day after his funeral; he was also training for his first marathon. His last run was 24 April 2009, two days before he died. He ran 10 miles that day; it took him 98 minutes according to his running journal. The day he died we were meant to go for a run together before doing some work in the garden. It is really difficult to know that I will never be able to run with Paul again, but I am so happy that my nephew wants to run with me. Having him there beside me will make my return to the sport a bit easier.
I am so excited about running a race on Saturday. I am so excited to be celebrating a fun holiday with family and friends. But I am so very sad to be doing these things without Paul. As much as I know I have to continue without him, I wish that I didn’t have to. I wish that he was here with me. To laugh with, to play with, to live life with – even to fight with because that would mean that he was here. I know it will get easier with time. My second race will be easier than the first; my third easier than the second. Holidays will bring new traditions and less pain over the years. And I will carry on celebrating all of it because I’m here and I have to live my life, even though Paul isn’t here to live his.