With the New Year just behind us, I can’t help but miss Matthew and having a companion. Seeing my friends celebrate the holidays with their families was tough. I am lonelier than I thought I would be. I know I can pick myself up, but for now I want to wallow a little longer.
So you might wonder “What do I hope for in 2016?” here it is!
I hope to focus on taking care of me.
I want to start putting my needs first. I am going to be a little selfish this year.
If I don’t feel up to doing something, I might cancel or just say no. My friends and family will need to understand. I still get overwhelmed taking everyone out at once and prefer to stay in.
I will take time for myself. I plan to find a therapist to help me with practical strategies for moving on and dealing with every day stresses.
On a lighter note, I will read a magazine for 30 minutes alone at the coffee shop. I will drive with the music blaring in my car and sing along. I will socialize with friends or coworkers during my lunch hour.
I hope to stop putting pressure on myself to see everyone.
My friends love me and will understand that as a single parent it is hard to see them during the week. All I want to do after a long day is go home, see the kids, have dinner and relax. It might be weeks before seeing some of them. I will continue to stay in touch via text and not feel guilty. It is my own insecurity and not pressure from anyone.
I hope to laugh every day.
Laughter really is the best medicine. It has kept me from falling apart. In 2016 I promise to make someone laugh every day. Despite all my complaints and stressors, I do find myself smiling more often. I love joking around at work and sharing stories about the kids. I even find myself feeling proud of small accomplishments like having a calm morning, remembering to put a note in the kids’ lunches or having a patient at the hospital thank me.
I hope to be Heidi again and not just Heidi without a husband.
I miss Matthew all the time and I always will. Memories flood in and out, but I am hoping with time they won’t bring as much sorrow. I still get sad when I hear a funny story I know Matthew would have gotten a kick out of or when the kids have done something amazing. Having said this, I am slowly stopping to think of myself as Heidi with the sick husband who passed away. I am starting to be Heidi a single mom trying to find a new happy and peaceful normal. Maybe even a new love one day. My hope for a brighter and less lonely future is slowly returning.
I hope to sleep more comfortably.
I am getting used to sleeping alone and waking up by myself. I will try and enjoy the peace that comes with solitude. I will bring my morning coffee to bed and watch television by myself in those quiet hours before the kids get up.
I hope to continue to connect with other widows.
These women have really helped me not feel alone. While I appreciate everyone’s love, empathy and support, the support of other widows is different. I don’t have to answer the same questions over and over again and they can relate to how I am feeling on a different level. They don’t judge me or make me feel out of control for losing control.
I hope to stay calm with the kids.
This has been so challenging and will likely be a constant struggle for me as a parent. I get overwhelmed and find it hard to control my temper. It starts as soon as I walk in the door to a ton of demands before I can take off my coat: “Mummy get me water, a new television show, a snack….” I want to stop my yelling and explain that Mummy needs a moment. I want to be honest with my kids that I need their help and cooperation because I am alone.
I hope to incorporate acts of kindness in my everyday life.
I want to help others because I know firsthand how much this can mean. I want to make people feel good and brighten their day. It can be as simple as saying hi in the morning or asking how they are. Matthew did this so well, he never judged anyone and was a wonderful listener. He made everyone feel special and important. I want to do the same and teach my kids to do the same too.
I hope to continue to bond with my daughter.
Brooke has been doing so well. She has matured a lot over the last few months. Likely a combination of what she has gone through and simply growing up. When I could not make it to Zachary’s Chanukah play Brooke stepped in and cheered him on. Brooke often reads to Joshua and puts him to bed the way Matthew did – Joshua loves it. Matthew would be so proud of her. In 2016 I will find more one-on-one time with Brooke and tell her how proud I am of her.
Finally, I hope to stop the timelines.
I hope to stop trying to be the perfect person, mother and friend. I will do what feels right. If Zachary has to wait another year to start hockey or Brooke cannot do every program she wants or Joshua stays home a little more this winter, it is all okay. In the long run it won’t matter. What matters is being happy and enjoying the small things. Something Matthew always instilled in us. For now I wait for a really big snowfall so we can walk across the street and squeal down the mountain on our toboggans or just make snow angels. All the things Matthew loved most.
I will continue replaying my new motto for 2016:
One day at a time, one moment at a time and one breath at a time.
I wish everyone a Happy and Healthy New Year!