Things get easier with a second take

I’ve found myself at a fancy hotel for work once again. It’s one of those really fancy rooms with a separate living room and a bathroom bigger than most people’s bedrooms. This trip comes right before my holidays, and I’ve been psyching myself up for it for a while now, trying to figure out how to make it bearable. While my last stay at a fancy hotel was miserable and gloomy, this trip has started to be fairly positive and slightly empowering.

Note: This post was originally shared on my “widowhood” blog, “Frances 3.0: Still in Beta”.

My journey to the city didn’t begin well though. It started snowing in the morning, making for a slow and slippery drive to the rural airport half an hour away. Once I arrived there, I began to feel panicked at the idea of going on my first holiday without Paul. It was only a few moments later when a couple of work colleagues arrived; their idle chit-chat making the wait for boarding easier. We sat together on the plane, which was delayed for more than three hours on the tarmac before finally starting the journey. The distraction of “talking shop” helped to make the entire trip to the hotel that much easier.

After settling into my hotel, I had to figure out what to do for dinner. I’d promised a friend in the UK that I would pick up a few items at a shop in town so figured I’d just get some fast food and return to my room. But walking by a nice restaurant, I decided that it was time I get comfortable requesting a “table for one” again. So I found myself opening the doors and walking in.

I was escorted to a candle-lit corner booth, and once I was seated learned that the majority of the menu was dedicated to “family style” eating and that the place really wasn’t set up for single diners. There were a few nice choices though, so I stuck it out, although I was the only single diner in the place. I ordered a three-course meal and a nice cocktail then sat back and read my book whilst waiting for my first course to arrive.

I won’t lie: it was really difficult to sit there on my own, knowing that under other circumstances I’d have been dining somewhere with Paul. I need to get used to doing things on my own though, and tonight was good practice for that.  

Tomorrow is a full day of meetings – from 9 am until well past 9 pm – so there won’t be time to wallow in self-pity and loneliness. By the time I get back to the hotel, I will barely have the energy to brush my teeth, let alone miss Paul. But I’m sure I’ll find time to do that, too. When I wake up the next morning, it will be the start of my first solo holiday.

I hate that I am doing these things alone, but I can’t stand the thought of hiding out in my room crying forever. So I’m trying to change traditions; trying to figure out new ways to deal with life and loneliness. I don’t know if there will ever be a time that I don’t wish Paul was here with me, but I know that he would want me to go on even though he’s not here. It’s so hard to do, but I’m going to try.

Next solo venture: A 10-hour flight with no one’s shoulder to rest my head on. But the thought of loving in-laws waiting for me at the airport will give me the encouragement I need to make it through in one piece.

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