Yesterday I dropped Madison off at college. Although I knew this day was coming, my head and heart were full of conflicting emotions. I was excited because I knew this was the next right step for her - she was fulfilling one of her dreams. I could see the excitement on her face and hear it in her voice. I was so incredibly proud of all she has overcome, all she has achieved and all the hard work she has put into this moment. This was well deserved and her chance to spread her wings and fly.
But my heart was heavy with sadness, loss and (more) change. When someone close to you dies that loss comes back again and again. Yesterday was one of those days. I started the day with a journal entry to Paul. One of my practices has been to write him letters in my journal sharing things with him. It keeps me close to him. I wrote how proud I was and how proud I knew he would be. And then I got mad at him, as I sometimes do.
I know it wasn't Paul's choice to die but sometimes dealing with life alone, without your person by your side can be really hard. Yes, you heal. Yes, you move forward but some days are easier than others. That is what others don't get. They think time has gone by and you should be "over" the grief. I want to be, but sometimes it is undeniably there and it rears it's head. Yesterday was one of those days. I have learned to allow myself the gift of feeling my feelings. Of being honest with myself. This is all part of my process.
When I dropped Madison off, she was anxious for me to leave. She was ready to start this new life, in a new place. I wasn't ready to leave but I wanted to respect her process. This day wasn't about me and my sadness (at least not in that moment), it was about her and her next steps. This was her time to turn the page.
In my heart I know Madison needs this change so much. She will not only get a fabulous education and begin to build her future but she will find herself. She will most likely discover love and she will learn what true friendship is all about. This new beginning for her is full of positive change. Seeing that on her face made it easier for me to say goodbye.
People remind me that she isn't gone forever and I will see her again. Yes, this is true but the page has turned in our relationship and she will begin to break free and build a life outside of me and our core family. Very normal and I have been through this before with my older children but this is different.
The last 6 years (the start of Paul's diagnosis) has brought a lot of changes. Changes I wasn't ready for, changes I didn't like but I had to flex and adjust with each one. One of my friends referred to me as the "Queen of Resilience". She meant it as a compliment but I thought, "I don't want to be that anymore". But here I am once again.
This morning when I woke up, I started my day with intentions, as I always do. I thought to myself, I have a choice. I can throw (another) pity party or I can begin to turn the page in my new chapter of life. The last 6 years either Paul or Madison (appropriately so) have been the focus of my attention but now I can (and need) to shift that to me. What that looks like, I can't tell you but my goal is to figure that out.
This morning the house felt empty, I felt sad but I know I will settle into that. I am excited, sad and terrified all at the same time, but that is okay. It is all part of the process. I don't know what the future holds for me but I do know that I have a new chapter where I get to write my own narrative.
So...there I go...turn the page.