Note: This post was originally shared on my “widowhood” blog, “Frances 3.0: Still in Beta”.
I’m taking a holiday in November, and I should be extremely excited about it. I’m going to Scotland, the place where I feel most at home, despite the fact that it’s nearly 6,000 miles from where I’m from. It’s still more than two months away, but I’m already finding myself anxious about the trip.
When I first decided to go I really thought it would be good for me. I was looking forward to going to the place where I met Paul; the place where I fell in love with Paul; the place where I have so many happy memories. I thought that remembering all of the good and happy times would be therapeutic.
Now, I wish I could change my mind. I am so very torn about it—I want to go, but I’m afraid. I’m afraid that I’ll enjoy myself too much. I’m afraid that I’ll be too sad. I’m afraid that I’ll feel more alone being there without Paul than I do being here without Paul.
I think that some of my fear is because my trip will include so many firsts for me. This will be the first time I’ve spent time with Paul’s family and friends since his funeral services in England—and the first time I’ve spent time socialising with most of them without Paul. It will be my first holiday as a solo-traveller since meeting Paul. The day after I arrive will be my first Thanksgiving as a widow—and the seven-month mark of Paul’s death. The next day will be the first time I mark “what would have been” his birthday.
I suppose in a way it’s like everything else. I know what I should do; what I want to do. But I’m too afraid to make plans. I’m afraid to make plans for next weekend because I don’t know what will happen between now and then. And I’m afraid of being disappointed if my plans don’t work out. If I go through this mental hell trying to plan a weekend at home, how am I meant to plan a two-week trip to another country? I’m certain that this is a passing phase and that eventually there will be a patch to repair this glitch in Frances 3.0, but in the mean time, fear of the future encompasses my every decision. (Not that I’m capable of making decisions right now anyhow.)
In addition to the fears I know about, I find myself wondering if my subconscious has a list of its own fears. I wonder if, on some level, I worry that I’m setting myself up for disappointment. What if I have a miserable time? What if Paul’s family and friends decide that they don’t want me if Paul’s not included as part of the package? What if I arrive in Scotland only to learn that I really only loved it there because of Paul? Where would I belong in the world then? Because I certainly don’t feel that I belong where I am.
The rational side of my being tells me I’m being ridiculous. It tells me that I’m going to enjoy myself—despite the occasional sadness I will feel when I’m there. But the stressed and irrational side of my being—the grieving side of my being—is the side that makes me respond these days. So, here I sit overanalysing what should be an exciting and relaxing holiday.
I’m planning to listen to my rational side and will be booking my tickets in the next few weeks—if I can ever figure out a trip itinerary. Thankfully, there are enough people who will help keep me straight should that irrational side want to fight for control of the issue. I am certain that once I get there I’ll enjoy it and I’m certain it will be the therapeutic trip that I know I need. And it will be wonderful to be surrounded by so many people who loved my Paul so very much. But I’m sure I will have many restless nights of fearful anticipation.