The feeling was completely unexpected-maybe I had just forgotten what it was like, but at some point in the last month I looked around and realized that I don't feel completely stressed anymore. That jaw clenching, knots in the shoulders, impending doom feeling was just...gone.
It's weird, really. You get so used to living every day, waiting for the other shoe to drop when suddenly, you look up and realize the shoe isn't even there anymore. There's nobody to take care of. Nobody is sick or dying. There's no bags of medication to get from the store, or visits to the hospital. There's no house to pack or moving truck to book, ferry to catch, or nosy people to avoid.
There's also nothing familiar, here. With the exception of our personal possessions and the stories on this blog, our old life in Sechelt, which vanished within a few short months, is all but a distant memory. In some ways, it's a blessing. In those early days after Anne passed away, when my grief was fresh and raw, I know I wouldn't have been able to handle the daily reminders of her absence.
Life in the Fraser Valley has settled into a predictable, and yet exciting, routine.
Going from a place where there were few shops and services to one where we have almost every store I could want within a 30 minute drive is a little strange. We get a thrill at the shops being open after 8pm, and that there's more than five restaurants to choose from. There's so much to do and see that we often forget that it's there, and then are pleasantly surprised when we realize it is. Often I joke that my "small town-ness is showing" when we squeal over the fact that we can just go to Purdy's Chocolate anytime we want. For the first few months, whenever I'd see a killer sale on something it took everything in my not to want to buy out the store. Yes, toilet paper is this cheap. Yes, it will go on sale again.
You don't need to load up the car anymore, Karen. And Costco is only 20 minutes away now! Changes haven't just affected me, there's been big changes for Kevin, too.
In January after a year and a half of online school, Kevin returned to public school. We weren't really sure how it would go-after all, his last school had 650 students from grades 8-12 and the new one is more than double that with students from grades 10-12. Much to our delight, he has settled in so well and is loving it so much that I think he even surprised himself.
"I've never, ever, loved school this much," he commented the other day. I asked him if it was the courses or the hot girls, and of course he said something about how awesome his teachers are, how their view on technology is way more in line with this century, and how there's less small town drama, but I think hot girls still had something to do with it because honestly? He keeps mentioning them.
There's been all sorts of fun adventures and outings that I need to share with you, from farms to gelato making classes, and the time that my car got a flat tire in downtown Vancouver late at night. It was awesome! We got lost on the way home and almost ended up at the airport. In March we plan a visit to Ethical Bean headquarters, a teaching session for my new smartphone with Telus, the Vancouver Art Gallery, a well known kitchen store in Langley, and our favourite fish monger One Fish Two Fish. There's also the matter of some movies we want to see (Jack the Giant Killer, The Great and Powerful Oz, and that new Star Trek movie), and food trucks we need to try. Bit by bit, we've ventured out of the house, blinking as though we are awakening from a deep slumber.
For the first time, in a very, very long time, things are happy and peaceful. Stories are now coming back into my head in fits and bursts where once there was silence. It's almost like storytelling is a muscle. Back when John was sick and Anne was dying, I desperately wanted to tell those stories but couldn't, so I squashed them deep, deep down and buried them. Bit by bit, I became so used to quashing every story that eventually, they didn't come anymore. I'd sit in front of the screen and couldn't get more than a paragraph onto the screen before deleting it. These days, they flood into my brain as I'm driving to work, or when a song comes on the radio. They dance on the edges while I tidy the kitchen or fold laundry.
At one point, when I declared I needed a break, I wasn't sure if they'd ever come back. That was frightening. What I do know now is that day by day, I'm slowly getting back my old fire that made me start this blog in the beginning all those years ago, and excited to continue to write in this space. While I plan to continue to explore, to heal, and enjoy my family and life off the blog, I can tell you this:
I will be back. You can count on that.
PS.. I recently have become the owner of a swanky new Blackberry z10! My twitter feed is going to have a LOT more food photos, as well as pictures as we're out and about. As soon as I set up an Instagram account, you'll be able to follow me to see what we're up to. March is going to be a fun month at my house, that's for sure!