Valentines day, a lesson learnt in expecting the unexpected...
It's a week since Valentines day and with it not being a first that I'd been particularly anxious about, it really taught me to expect the unexpected and the importance of something my counsellor had advised me in the past.
Valentines day wasn't something that Lauren and I were particularly over the top about, in the earlier days of our relationship we'd celebrate it a little more, but over recent years it was more just a small gift, card and an excuse for an indulgent dinner.
Having tackled much bigger firsts and survived, I suppose I'd been lured into a false sense of security about Valentines day and how I'd cope. I hadn't really given it a thought and I certainly wasn't worried about how I was going to feel. I woke up in the morning to my usual wake up call from Molly and her request for breakfast and even though I'd bought her a little valentines gift, giving it to her didn't trigger anything and I still felt okay about it.
Then I sat with a coffee and started to browse through social media and began to see the expressions of love in abundance, it seemed like there were so many more this year than ever before and each one was like a woodpecker pecking away at my resilience until it broke through and I was floored and ended up going back to bed feeling really sorry for myself and ghosting anyone who tried to call.
I've waited til now to share this blog, because I wanted people to enjoy their Valentines day without me putting a dampener on it. Actually I encourage people to embrace and express their love, I'm one of the many living examples of how you need to make the most of the time you have and hold on to happiness (reference to the song shared at the end), because you really don't know what's around the corner.
I've recently started to feel that even though this journey is painful, even though it's hard and even though it's a journey I'd prefer not to be on, there is no way l that I'll travel it and not become a better version of me. I'm learning an incredible amount about myself, about empathy, about parenting and about life in general and with it I'm developing a skill set that is enabling to survive grief, but will also enable to face anything life throws up in the future.
However, Valentines day was an example of a lesson learnt in expecting the unexpected and the importance of having a support plan in place. In the build up to Christmas, my counsellor advised me to create and put in place an emergency support plan, what she meant was, arrange with a person/ people to be on hand should I need them. Whether that need be company for a distraction, or childcare for a chance to work through some feelings, or even just a phone call for a bit of moral support.
At Christmas I found I didn't actually need the plan, but on Valentines day after 2 hours of laying in bed and feeling sorry for myself, I decided I needed to get Molly and I out of the house. It was then that I realised I should have made a plan, because I honestly felt like I didn't know where to go or who to turn to. I felt as though being the lonely widow would have put a downer on peoples valentines day and I really didn't want to be a burden. Whereas, if I'd pre-agreed with someone that on the chance I feel a bit rubbish to expect a call that bit of anguish wouldn't have existed and I'd have probably acted earlier.
Anyway Molly and I ended up going for a walk and a coffee (Molly had a babyccino) around the park and to my in-laws for the afternoon and like all of the things we've faced, we carried on our 100% success rate of getting through them. But, it would have perhaps been a bit kinder on me, if I'd expected the unexpected and put a support plan in place.
So, my aim going forward for any day that could remind me of Lauren's absence and the life we've lost, I'll have a plan in place. As mentioned earlier, it's really important to hold on to happiness and whilst the content on social media that day triggered something in me, I'm not at all resentful to those that are fortunate to have their loved ones with them, I'm just gutted that I don't.
Thanks for reading and being a part of our journey!