This morning I began the slow drive to Moncton, in the snow, without winter tires. Frustrated because I had waited too long to get them, but relieved because at least I was working towards getting them on today.
I began to wonder a bit about why I had put off such an important part of our lives, this particular year. In the time since Pat’s death, I had been right on such things, safe in the knowledge that I was doing right by him, and that he would be pleased and proud of how I had taken on the challenge of working out the stuff for which he had always been responsible.
And then I realized I had been in that tight spiral of survival mode when those early decisions and behaviors existed. All I could do was function how Pat would function, had he still been with us; because to me, he had all the answers and did so much for our relationship, family, and home. The little and the big. To succeed, in my mind, was to follow his lead. It was definitely what I needed to do.
Spiral, by definition, means “winding in a continuous and gradually widening (or tightening) curve”. It’s a pattern, and I do love patterns.
So, as I unwound from the only life I thought I ever knew, so did my patterns begin to change. At times I rather threw caution to the wind and was dangerously close to spontaneous combustion .
And the spiral widened and widened. and I had a most enjoyable time road tripping and buying and renovating. Selling and Salvation Army dropping and purging.
Silencing. Listening. Settling.
Do you know the feeling when you enter a roundabout or traffic circle? Especially for the first time, by yourself? The cautious following of signs, doing everything right, and the feeling of exhilaration when you get though to the other side, unscathed?
It is an amazing feeling.
So, the next time you get a bit cocky, go a little faster, and miss a few cues, so that someone blasts a horn at you or flips you the bird.
If you are me, when those things happen, you retreat for awhile, take a different route, or perhaps do not go at all.
The spiral may tighten again, for awhile. But not forever. Not for long.
I have had a long history of running, hiding, and closing up when I feel hurt or scared. I will do anything in the world not to feel that way again. But I have done nothing but harm myself and Bea when I have behaved this way.
There are all kinds of ways to a favorable end. Patrick’s was often a straight, unwavering line. So he would not be traveling on snowy roads in late November to have snow tires installed, with a spouse and child under his watch. He faced those kinds of things head on and simply got them done.
Me? I have an innate fear of car service departments as well as money management. They are old fears based on insecurity and ignorance. And a little bit of procrastination. It’s a pattern that needs a bit of altering, in my mind.
So today, here I am, set up in the light filled car dealership where I bought my first car, all on my own. I am looking after my little family. I made it. Albeit, a month too late in my books. Lesson learned.
But I made a plan, fixed my little mess, and got to where I needed to be.
And more than that, I challenged my ways of thinking and believing. An exercise that can be a lot of hard work. And another reason why it may take longer to get to the desired end. But I will tell you something, this whole process taught me how I can still be successful as I navigate the spiral of life.
Baby girl, that is humongous progress.