Saturday marked nine months since Kevin died. Nine months. That's a long time, and yet it's not. Sometimes I look at pictures where Kevin has his arm around me, and I can still feel him there. And sometimes it feels so long ago and far away. When the holidays got here and people were exclaiming that the year went by so fast, I didn't say anything. It didn't go by fast for me. It crawled by in excruciating detail.
Nine months ago I didn't even believe I would survive this long. And yet here I am. I hold onto that fact when the grief overwhelms me again. God brought me through those awful first days and weeks, He's going to bring me through these moments as well.
I feel only marginally more prepared for this life now, although I feel like I've changed a lot. I dreamed recently that Kevin came back with a vague sense of how much time had passed, but no real memory of being dead. He was really confused by how much I had changed. He was exactly the same, and he didn't understand why my reactions and emotions were so different. I didn't feel like Kevin was actually present; this was just a dream where my mind was working through the changes, giving myself permission to accept that I'm never going to be the same.
I'm more impatient with excuses and procrastination, yet I'm softer and more understanding of others and how they might view things. I'm unable to sleep or even be in our bedroom without a light on, even though I'm not afraid of the dark and it doesn't bother me outside or in another room. I'm more emotional about a lot of things, but there is so much more that I just don't care about now because I see how unimportant it is.
Twelve months ago, I was getting ready for what would turn out to be the physically hardest race I have done so far: the Winter Night Trail Half Marathon. Of course it was pretty much my fault I had so much trouble, but I'm glad I made those mistakes so I could learn from them and end up doing well at the Carmel Marathon a few months later.
Twelve months ago we met Cindy's new boyfriend for the first time as they came through Indy on their way from Iowa to North Carolina. We didn't find out until halfway through dinner that he's a Patriots fan or we would've switched the decorations up a bit in the guest room, like we do when Cassie visits.
Eleven months ago, we were snowed in at home on a weekend and Kevin was complaining that we were broke and there was nothing to do. I was headed out to shovel the driveway and build a snowman, which is free. I asked Kevin to join me and he replied that he wasn't going to shovel snow because he didn't want to collapse from a heart attack. I remember this conversation very clearly. I sat down and looked at him and told him I did not want him to have a heart attack either, and that he had said the very same thing the year before but had made no real changes in his life or health. I asked him what he wanted to change and what I could do to help, and he said he was fine, he didn't really think he was going to have a heart attack, he just didn't want to shovel snow. I told him that was okay since I actually like shoveling, but asked him to join me when I was done so we could build a snowman and then go take a walk. He said no. I didn't ask again, I just went and did it without him.
I'm less inclined to take "no" or "later" for an answer now. We only have now, we aren't promised a "later".
Ten months ago, I surprised Kevin by giving him money that I'd been secretly saving up so he could put it with his birthday money and get his annual membership to Pittsboro Golf Course. He wasn't going to get a membership last year even though he wanted it, because money was so tight. But I told him I thought it was important for him to be able to do something he enjoys so much, and so I had secretly been saving money since Christmas.
It's important when budgeting and setting spending priorities that you make sure you include something that makes life fun and enjoyable. You have to make yourself a priority too. Kevin wasn't very good at doing that for himself, so I tried to do it for him. I think part of what he loved about me is that I always try to choose joy regardless of my circumstances. So this isn't changing; if anything, it's getting stronger.
Nine months ago I came home and found Kevin had suffered that heart attack he often used as his excuse for not doing something. I don't believe he really knew it was coming. He never would've left us like this.
My faith has gotten a lot deeper. I have always known that it's God who provides for us, and always trusted Him to handle things. But it was something I didn't really think about a lot. Like when we were kids and we trusted our parents to feed us and take care of us. We knew they were there for us and we knew there was going to be supper on the table every night without us asking. But now that I'm an adult and a parent, I realize how much our parents did that I never really thought about. And now I've grown up a little spiritually too, because I realize just how present God is and how much help and support He's giving me. I pray this is a permanent change in me - I want to be more and more aware of God.
I have no idea what my life is going to be like in three more months, or six, or twelve. And that no longer scares me.
I live in the moment a whole lot more than I used to. Of course memories still overwhelm me, and I haven't completely let go of my desire to have Kevin and our old life back. And I have to make some plans and schedules just so I can keep things organized. But for the most part I try to just exist in the moment I'm in, because life hurts a lot less that way. I taste the food I'm eating, or I listen to the music I'm hearing, or I talk to the friend I'm with, and I don't let a hundred other things run through my head.
So this is all where our 2016 motto of Do Epic Shit Every Damn Day Badass is coming from. And anything can be epic if you have the right perspective. I made a really epic loaf of bread the other day. I enjoyed preparing it, Nick and I enjoyed smelling it while it baked, and Josh, Nick and I all really enjoyed eating it. It was epic.