As the summer winds down, I find myself often contemplating my place in the world. I gave up everything to take care of Tony, and it was 100% the right thing to do. But that consequently created an even bigger black hole in my life when he died. I don't have work, I don't have a daily routine, and I often don't feel like I have my own place in the world.
I think it is weighing on me now because of the time of year. After Tony died, it was really just survival mode for awhile. When summer came, the girls and I took many opportunities to travel and explore... things we couldn't do when Tony was not well. But now school is starting again... the focus of my days (the girls) will be gone much more, and I'll have much more time to myself. This is both thrilling (I can take a nap!) and scary (what the hell will I do with myself all day?). I'm certainly not worried about the first few weeks of school, because I have plenty to do... but what about January, February? Those months are already rough to drag yourself through.
This is also the first autumn in a series of firsts without Tony. Even after I was no longer gearing up to go back to work, I was shuttling Tony to and from soccer practice... and now that is gone too. I really want to maintain my relationship with VMI soccer and its families, but it will be more peripheral. That's only natural because I'm no longer married to a coach... but I will always be a friendly face for the players and families, and the mother of their most adoring fans.
I have a place with my family, and of course as a mother to the girls... and with my friends, far and near... but none of those is close to replacing the vacuum left by an abandoned career and a departed soul mate. I find myself with a toehold in a few places, but never a firm footing.
I am far from outgoing, and social events are really not my natural habitat. Making new friends is difficult, and right now being around couples can feel very isolating. In short, I have quite an uphill climb in front of me.
It's part of the process, I know. And while I knew Tony was going to leave me, this is one of those subtle shifts in life that I could not predict. I'm sure there will be more unanticipated hurdles, and I'll do my best to clear them. In the meantime, if you see me out somewhere, forgive my awkward small talk!