I certainly needed to reconstruct myself and several aspects of my life. I had avoided and pushed some people out of my life, for no real good reason at all. I had pushed church out of my life, as well. Not because I was angry with God or anything like that. I certainly recognize that Craig was a gift to me and time with any gift is limited.
No, I pushed away the church and the church people, my friends, because I felt that had been Craig's home and Craig's friends. He had been a member at The Old Stone Church for over twenty-five years. He married his first wife there and raised his two children in that church. It was their home for far longer than it had been mine. Craig had been a deacon and trustee at his church and was a respected member and friend to many.
It was bad enough I was literally living in the home Craig had with his first wife and children, but to continue in his church just seemed odd. Dr. Mark, the head Pastor, reached out to me a number of times and even had my sisters take me to service about a month or so after Craig's funeral. It was an awful experience for me. I fought tears the entire service. The memories of Craig holding my hand in service hurt. The whole experience hurt and made me want to cry, but of course, I did not want to cry and hurt, so I avoided the church the rest of the year.
I avoided those friends last year, as well. In my head, I was just simplifying my life and going back to my foundation of friends and family to get through the year. Thankfully, one church member continued to reach out to me. For this, I am grateful. She gave me the strength and courage to respond favorably to a church party invitation. It would have been simple to decline, real simple, but the right thing to do was to stop hiding and start healing.
I knew that seeing these friends was going to cause a lot of heartache and pain. I actually felt some anxiety and fought tears the day of the party. My boyfriend encouraged me to just cry and allow myself to feel the pain. He reiterated that at some point I am going to have to stop celebrating my husband and start feeling the pain of my loss. I agreed. I also agreed that this was not the time for me to be introducing him to this group of friends. I needed to reconnect with my church friends first and then I could move forward with them and him.
I am grateful that I was given the courage to attend this party. The hostesses and guests were beyond gracious to me. I felt right at home and like I hadn't actually missed an entire year with all of them. They welcomed me and all wanted to know more about my new life. They had followed me on Facebook and inquired about my dog, my fun summer, school and some other friends who they had met from Craig and me. They were so warm and carrying to me. For this, I am grateful.
I even had an opportunity to catch up with the pastor, who is by far the best pastor I ever met. I miss hearing his weekly messages, but just am not ready to go back to that church. It was Craig's home. Part of me wants a fresh start in another church. I certainly want a fresh start in another house, which will hopefully happen this summer.
I need to redefine me. Just me. I am no longer Craig's wife. I am just me. I need to rediscover my faith, who I am and what I want to do with the rest of my life. I am eagerly embracing this new journey. I do Believe this year of reconstruction will be a good year.