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.