Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Oh, Connecticut

My best friend got engaged just over a month before Rick took his own life, therefore the wedding planning process has coincided with my first year as a widow. My grieving timeline, therefore, can be chronicled by my trips to Connecticut.

I actually drove to Connecticut just 3 weeks after Rick died. In a haze of sorrow, just 2 and a half weeks after the funeral, I found myself in dress shops with my best friend Sarah while she looked for her perfect wedding gown. I struggle to recall most details of the weekend, but I was glad I was there. One thing I do remember from that weekend is sitting on a bench at the beach with my best friend, pouring my tears out over the ocean in the dark of the night. In fact, I read my own words from that linked post above, and it amazes me that I was even able to write it then.

My friend Jennifer gave me the amazing gift of a comedy CD for my car that weekend, because I wasn't able to listen to any music so early on without crying while I drove. I remember how I used to wonder how I'd handle wedding things so soon after losing a husband. 

July saw me in Connecticut again, less than 2 months after the death and still somewhat reeling. That time, we picked out bridesmaid dresses, attended their engagement party, and I was finally able to listen to music on the long drive without crying. 

[back in July - 7 weeks a widow - before the engagement party]

By October, when I found myself back in Connecticut for the bridal shower, I wrote about the world going on with life and how it was actually a wonderful thing. I felt somewhat off my game having to help plan a shower for my best friend in the first months since Rick died. I wanted so much to be better than I was for her. But though I wasn't up to my own standards, I had definitely given grief a run for its money at that point.

In December, I was back in Connecticut again, though this time celebrating my best friend's birthday. The theme was fearlessness by then - I was embracing the new mantra of "Do One Thing Every Day that Scares You" and I was on fire.

By January, partying in NYC with the Bachelorette, I compared time and revered friendship, back in the swing of everything fun. 

And now, here we are at the very end of March. Sarah gets married on Saturday and I'm one full day away from heading to Connecticut once again, this time for a long weekend. I've blogged from Connecticut many a time this past year. There was a time I slept better there than in my own bed, somehow stripped of nightmares when I spent the night away from my house. 

This exciting and awesome journey I've been taking with my best friend and her fiancĂ© is not one I ever imagined I would be taking simultaneously with my journey of grief. It just worked out that way. I've done my best to make my tragedy fade into the background, even at the beginning, and that's the thing about real friendship - when you're with someone who gets you, you can let the bad stuff very easily be covered by the good stuff so you can't see it anymore. And it works. These days, I'm no longer contending with grief the way I was early on... the journey has progressed and morphed... it's given way to bigger and better things. It's never held me back. And I'm happy...in some ways happier than I've ever been...perfect timing for my frame of mind and my buoyant heart as this wedding fast approaches. 

So off I go, day after tomorrow, to visit Connecticut, my old friend that's seen me through one tumultuous year. And to see the best woman I know - my very best friend Sarah - marry the love of her life and gain two beautiful step-daughters at the same time. 

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