July 4th, Independence Day. It’s a day for celebration. With the day landing on a Wednesday this year everyone’s undecided about whether the weekend before or the weekend after is the holiday weekend. When you own your own business, often it’s neither. Our neighbors decide to have a get together on the eve of the day since most will be back at work on July 5th. So, we head over, grill hamburgers, and do what we do now that we are mostly empty-nesters.
When we return home, I realize I have a text from a friend I haven’t seen in a while. He’s inviting me to go boating on the 4th. We haven’t been boating with them in years. I’m going to guess nearly ten years. I reply with a “Yes”. That is assuming it’s not too late to accept because he wants to go at 9:30 AM and it’s nearly midnight by the time I reply. When I wake up on the 4th, he’s texted changing the time to this afternoon. I’ve slept in. It’s nearly 8:00 AM. I think better of taking the entire day off. I’ve got a deadline on Friday that will cost roughly $400 if I miss it. I write him back and tell him I can’t make it today. I need to work. I cannot miss this deadline. There’s no World Cup soccer today. I don’t have that excuse to take the day off. Work it is.
Yesterday, I got an email inviting me to be on a panel at a symposium that people assume I will be attending. The email triggers a mixture of emotions. Tywana and I, well I, have decided to pass on the symposium this year unless we get a sign before then. I cannot justify the expenditure to go to a fourth symposium in two years when we’re in the financial shape we’re in. Tywana says maybe this is the sign. I clarify we need an economic sign. As soon as I send the email declining a fantastic opportunity, a step in the direction I want to go in, I start to have regrets. Damned if I do, damned if I don’t. If I go, I’ll stress about the expenditure. If I don’t, I’ll have regrets about passing on what could be a door opening. Oh well, maybe there will be another opportunity.
I have to focus on where I am now. All through the day, I say my affirmations.I do my meditation. I set my intentions to manifest the life I desire to have. A friend texts to ask me how I’m doing. How to put a positive spin on this? I can’t say negative stuff. It’s not allowed. She’s helping me manifest and corrects me when I say negative things. “The universe is teaching me patience.” I write back. How’s that? This isn’t happening to me. It’s happening for me. One day I’ll be grateful. So, today, I am grateful for the inevitable gratitude of that one fine day.
Today is the fourth fourth of July since Shayna passed. All of the milestones that were the first in 2015 are now the fourth in 2018. I think back to the first one. The milestones still matter. I still count them. I remember that first fourth, just a few days after Shayna’s Service, going to Champp’s (which is no longer there) with Tywana. Kayla had gone out with friends for the first time on Independence Day. I had never gone to dinner on the 4th of July. Would it be packed? Would it be empty? I felt guilty. Shayna hated it when we would go out without her. I remember saying to her (in my mind), “I’d bring you with me if I could.” It would be a while before I’d adjust to asking for a table for just two or just three. Three years later and I’m still adjusting.
This fourth, since Kayla’s back at Toledo, Tywana and I have a quiet day at home. I try to not overthink about the way things were when we had barbecues with the girls and watched fireworks. We grill brats for dinner and we watch a little TV. The fireworks are nothing but a nuisance now. The dogs hate them. I can’t take them out for the final time until well after 11 PM because all they want to do is get back into the house. Finally, the fireworks slow to the point where they are far enough away and infrequent enough that Stevie manages to do her business and I can rest knowing she won’t wake me in the middle of the night to go out.
Four fourth of Julys without Shayna. Where am I compared to then? Better in some ways. I’m still undecided whether the pain lessens or our capacity to bear it expands. It seemed unbearable at first. It’s not unbearable anymore. I can endure. I will endure, somehow.