I am hoping that reflecting on each month as they pass will allow me to reflect on the year with a greater ability to appreciate how the time passed, rather than just exclaiming ‘wow, that went so quickly!’.
January was a difficult month. The first five days slipped by with my husband still on his annual leave, spending days at the beach, reading, working in the garden, eating at the local restaurants and generally enjoying being at home. We tried the Thai place in town for the first time, it was delicious, and ate at the new street food themed fish and chips place right on the beach.
It is painful to reflect on those days, as that was the few leading up to the death of my dog.
So, then, a trip up to mum’s and drive back home the next day and a small funeral, almost laughably stereotypical, in the rain. An evening crying, the next day spent in bed, and then two weeks of working hard to stop myself from crying, distracting myself with addictive like behavior and mainlining internet. I watched a billion beauty videos and rubbish tv.
Only in the last week did I return to see mum, visit with friends, go back out to the beach and return to work. Normal.
So, January, what did you teach me?
That loss and grief suck. They don’t heal so much as the pain loses its sharper edges and with greater distance and complex distractions, you learn to live with a gap in your routine and experience. I still miss him every day. And I honestly still feel like I let him down. I remember reading Fiona Apple’s letter to her dog as it died, and sobbing, holding my dog so tightly, like I could protect him from death… and now I feel like I know how she feels. How animal companions can get so under our skin is beyond me, and I miss a part of our family.
I learned that sometimes, wasting time is not a waste. Yes I wish I had written more. Read more. But my garden got the bulk of my attention, and I believe it was a worthwhile way to spend my time. We planted fruit trees, herbs, marigolds, small flowering annuals, made two more garden beds, chipped the grass out of key future planting areas, made composting holes for future planting, potted up mint, ignored dying parsley. We started saving the water from our showers and putting it out where it was needed in this dry month. We grew the turf in, watched gardenias blossom and made wild plans for being self sufficient in vegetables off our block.
So the time I spent looking after myself and allowing myself to grieve was well worth it.
I was also on a spending ban in January – luckily my husband supports my beauty addiction and gave my some Real Techniques brushes and other exciting things came in the mail. The spending ban taught me what I wanted to know – that I don’t need to spend, and that spending and buying don’t make me happy! And my mind is quieter, more focused and reaches moments of greater understanding when I am not clouding my thoughts with ideas of what to buy next. It is peaceful, and I think I am going to put myself on a February ban, in anticipation of a trip to Melbourne in March! Also… being on a spending ban is easy when you can avoid the shops like crazy! J
Here is to a great February. It’s started with a sleep in, a lovely breakfast, and a little bit of housework peppering my reading time.
Thanks January. You sucked, and I would give everything to be able to go back and change things, but there you go. Looking for the bright side.