In exactly one week, I will be on my way to St. Simon’s Island, GA to speak at the Scribbler’s Retreat Writers’ Conference. It’s been a long time coming — I was originally scheduled for last August, but I had to postpone due to the illness and then the death of my life mate. These past months I’ve been looking to this conference as a borderline of sorts, a life-changing experience, maybe because it’s something concrete to plan for rather than a hazy future of aloneness to drift into.
And now the conference is only a few days away.
Several people asked me recently if I’m excited, others asked if I’m scared, but the truth is, I’m just tired. I’m tired of grieving, tired of trying to make sense of life, and most of all, I’m tired of shopping.
Shopping? Yep. Of all the subjects I never expected to discuss on this blog, shopping would head the list. I’ve never liked shopping for clothes, and the truth is, I never had to. When one is a virtual hermit, one doesn’t need very much. But a world-class author (according to the Scribbler’s Retreat people, anyway) does need more than a simple top to throw over comfortable slacks when she is being introduced at a banquet, giving a presentation, attending a reception. I’ve been lucky in that a couple of weeks ago, two friends took me shopping to pick out the clothes they think I look best in, and then this past week, my sister came and picked the things she liked on me. This leaves me with a wardrobe that is not me. Or at least not the pre-death me. Perhaps it’s who I’ll become — a bit classy, a bit dramatic, a bit arty. Not a bad image if I can pull it off. And there’s no reason I can’t. I’ve survived fifty-eight weeks of grief. I can do anything.
It’s strange to think I’m going somewhere my life mate never visited, stranger to think I’m going without a single article of clothing he ever saw. There will be nothing on this trip (except my lingering sadness) to remind me of what I lost. There will be just me, heading out on an adventure, accepting whatever comes my way.
May 3, 2011 at 10:54 pm
Pat, I have a sad smile on my face as I read what you’ve written. I never met J of course but I suspect that he would have encouraged you to take this step, to head out on an adventure and accepting whatever might come your way.
I’ve followed your journey, sending support and encouragement, as a friend even though we’ve only ever met online. But I feel like I’ve known you for a long time and I only envision the best for you.
This is such a positive step on your journey. I wish you well and I can’t wait to hear all about this conference.
Give’em heck Pat!
May 3, 2011 at 11:14 pm
Ah, Wanda. You always know the right thing to say. Thank you.
As for J., he told me that things would come together for me after he was gone. Maybe they will.
May 4, 2011 at 3:57 am
Have a great trip. 🙂 Will be waiting to hear all about it when you get back.
We adjust…I’m still adjusting. I imagine I will be for a very long time.
Thinking of you. 🙂
May 4, 2011 at 5:47 am
It’s a step forward into the future that I’m sure he would be proud of you for.
Have a great trip and knock their socks off.
May 4, 2011 at 6:37 am
You will be a wonderful speaker. I wish I could see you up at the podium! I’m glad you’re adventuring – there’s no telling where this will lead. I look at this as the beginning of the beginnings for you; may you have many more.
May 4, 2011 at 9:59 am
“I’ve survived fifty-eight weeks of grief. I can do anything.”
I like your statement, and I agree with it. You can do this. Blessings to you, Pat…
May 4, 2011 at 11:28 am
I hope it’s a rewarding trip, Pat. I hope you meet terrific like-minded writers. I hope you take lots of photos. It’s the only way I’m going to be able to experience the retreat with you. After the fact.
May 4, 2011 at 5:51 pm
Pat: I just have to echo what Carol Ann pointed out – “I’ve survived fifty-eight weeks of grief. I can do anything.” Heartwrenching to be sure, but powerful stuff! Safe travels to you, and HAVE FUN OUT THERE. My guess is your mate would have wanted you to….And we’ll all look forward to hearing whatever details you decide to share upon your return. My best wishes and warmest regards. And big hugs.
May 8, 2011 at 2:39 pm
I’m a little late getting here, but my good wishes go with you for a wonderful conference experience, Pat. As others have said… bring back photos for us! And make sure you hand the camera to someone else so we get to see you in some of your new finery. 🙂
Our lives are a constant journey… a series of steps into an unknown future. As you continue to move ahead I pray you’ll find new joy in your tomorrows.
May 8, 2011 at 7:41 pm
Thank you all for your best wishes. Odd to think that a week from tonight it will be all over, and I’ll be back here.