We have been living in California now for almost four months, and while I miss the family and friends I left behind on the East coast very much, I have not felt regret with my decision. In fact, I keep getting little reinforcements here and there that I made the right (albeit admittedly rash) decision to move across the country.
There is no way I can go back to the life I enjoyed. It ceased existence on November 15, 2008. It could never be good for me there anymore without Matt to share it with. I can't run away from grief, but at least now I get a break from it here and there. There was an association everywhere I turned - in the house we built together, the places we went together, the people we hung out with regularly, the traditions we had for holidays.
Standing with the kids in front of his aunt and uncle's tree without Matt was pure torture last year as we posed for the traditional holiday picture that each individual family does on Christmas day. So was sitting at their dinner table with the whole gang and not have Matt sitting next to me.
I would have loved to have carried on the tradition my maternal grandmother had of having a party every Christmas Eve, but living out in the country - and in snow country - made it less likely that our family could all make it out because that's when travel conditions get dicey. And the ones that could make it might not be able to leave if they don't have snow tires to get up my 200 foot uphill driveway.
We are starting new traditions now... Thanksgivings will mostly be spent with Matt's family. We are thankful to have been put in each other's lives and I plan to keep the kids and I a part of them. I am going to have an annual Christmas Eve party. I would like to open my home to not just family, but friends - including the new ones who have been so wonderful to me the moment the kids and I hit California soil, and anyone we know who don't already have plans.
This year, instead of worrying about shoveling/plowing snow and applying ice melt, I can look at the beautiful snow-capped mountains nearby. I can hang Christmas lights outside without freezing my fingers off. I don't have to bundle the kids up in a million layers, only to have to peel all the layers off when someone has to go potty. I can still enjoy wearing winter clothes because my blood has already thinned to California standards and I am officially cold when it hits the 50's (lows in the 30's right now!). Last week, we went to a birthday party for one of the neighbors' kids which was outside. In December. And it was great!
When I was getting the kids in the van this morning to take Jacob to school, I was surprised to see that some of the rain from yesterday froze onto the van. I had a brief moment of panic remembering that I had gotten rid of all my ice scrapers, but realized that all I needed to do was warm up the van for a few extra minutes. I love it.
I also feel like fate was an integral part of getting me out here. I know other young widowed people who live in California that I can get together with. That, to me, is so comforting. Just tonight, I learned of another recently widowed young woman with four children. A mutual friend of ours is going to see that we meet. I am anxious to be a support to this woman and her children.
I think we are out here for a reason...