Holidays are hard enough without the added grief of experiencing them for the first time alone. There are so many things Mandi would do to make each holiday special, and I miss them so much it hurts. I might add the house is no where near as festive as the neighbors, decorating was one of Mandi’s specialties. I do feel like I should pull some decorations out, but find it incredibly hard to do without stirring up emotions.
It has been a while since I last posted, I have mainly been focusing on work and trying to keep my time occupied with friends and family. I did end up doing a toast for the Advancing the Promise – The Mandi Hudson award at the Komen Pink Tie event, it was beyond difficult for me. I can speak in front of crowds but something about pouring your heart out in front of everyone is different. I had to go walk shortly after and cry in hallway away from people.
I have been doing my best to keep the traditions Mandi and I had going, there are a lot of little things and it will never be the same. Her birthday was a roller coaster of emotions, but I threw a party like she would have wanted and kept my game face on. I actually did better on my birthday than hers, days dedicated to Mandi are the ones I struggle with the most. The waves of grief that were slowly subsiding came back in full force for the holidays.
Work promoted me to the Director of IT which has come with a bunch of new things to stress about. The good news is I am focusing better and Mandi would have been super proud of me. The bad news is I am busy all the time and have had less time to write and keep people posted on how things are going. As things settle I will have more time to tend to the things I have been neglecting. I am hoping this will be around June so I can go back to traveling. On a side note, I do have to go to Romania for work so that should be interesting.
I was able to get on a plane recently to visit San Diego, but I will admit it was hard. I still struggle a bit with PTSD, but it is slowly getting better. I was lucky to have an amazing friend with me to keep my mind off of things and to cheer me up when I was down. I did miss out on a lot of family activities for Christmas, but I figured it would be better to do something completely different this year so that I didn’t have a massive breakdown.
I still have some really tough days and it is incredibly hard to motivate myself to get moving, but they are getting to be less frequent. Sleep has still been hard to accomplish, I have the most vivid dreams and I can’t seem to stay asleep longer than an hour or two before I wake up. I am able to go back to sleep but I continue to wake up in one to two hour intervals, less than ideal that is for sure. Insomnia has become a new thing in my life, I could stay up all night and never be tired. I know sleep is important, so I am trying my best to meditate at night to help shut my brain off.
I still have Mandi’s clothes in the closet and I was thinking of putting them in boxes with the rest of her stuff. Mandi wanted me to get things like this done, it was important to her that I didn’t dwell on what happened. This is a task that is easier when you have someone helping you, so I might reach out soon to get it done. There are still drawers and cabinets full of little things of hers, and part of me feels like she is still here when I see them. However, at the same time I am crushed the minute my brain reminds me of the reality of things.
I have a room downstairs dedicated to her, and I find myself wandering in there a lot to cry. It has all sorts of things we shared together, her accomplishments and awards, wedding stuff, you name it, it’s there. Once I get the diamond I made from her ashes I was going to put it in a nice pendant or ring and hang it in a shadow box in her office. I guess it is not really an office anymore, it is a shrine dedicated to the most amazing woman I have ever met in my entire life.
As things slow down I will start posting regularly again, hopefully more adventures are on the horizon so that I can spread more of her ashes around. It is strange how time passes so quickly, yet this all still feels like yesterday to me. I still cannot believe this has happened, we have been together for so long life still does not feel normal to me. I will get there, someday.
I miss you Mandi. My love, my light, my everything.