Nov. 13, 2015. Tom died nine months ago today—on Friday, February 13th. Today is the first Friday the 13th since he died. My friend, Bridget, thought he might wait to die until Valentine’s Day as some sort of parting gift to me, but he must’ve known I would’ve hated that—having the love of my life leave me on a day when the world is celebrating love. No, far better to go on a day known for bad luck and weird happenings, for what could be weirder or worse than losing him just 8 months after his cancer diagnosis when we had been “promised” 2-3 years.
He was a talented watercolorist among a thousand other skills (my daughter, Alyssa, once asked if it bothered me that he was better than I was at absolutely everything) and his 4 part rendering of the cottage view is hanging on the wall. I have recently taken up painting and am now even more impressed with his work. I almost feel as if he is cheering me on in this new artistic outlet. I have an enthusiasm and energy for it that borders on obsession. I woke up at 4:00 one recent morning thinking about how to approach the painting of a Honey Crisp apple I had been studying.
I am also writing songs for the first time ever, have committed to singing a solo at my new church, am working on a children’s book and made fall leaf collages for everyone I know and sent them off to far flung points. It is as if Tom’s creative spirit has been sent to me on a moonbeam. I awaken each day with more projects than I have time to complete and am getting a little resentful of anything that keeps me from them—work, chores, people.
I’m not sure where it will lead. It may be busy work that is keeping me from the harder task of sitting quietly with my grief. There is no doubt that I am prone to occasional manic episodes when inspired. But I feel happy and useful for the first time since Tom died. I have a list of exciting projects I want to complete and I wake up enthusiastic. I have spent what feels like a long time being sorrowful, crying and reading and writing and crying some more. Maybe my grief walk will be like Chicago Math and will circle back to that place again. I don’t know, but for now I am glad that nine months later the sun is shining again and life feels full of promise.