We leave in 6 days time.
Our spare room is full of packed-up boxes and our hallway is full of empty ones. Sometimes I’m filled with a creeping terror that something bad is going to happen while we’re away… sometimes I’m so excited I could cry.
I’ve been dreaming about sunsets on the Great Ocean Road and the ice cream I’m going to eat after the Auckland Half. Training runs on the seafront at St Kilda and a meeting a school friend in Lake Taupo. The ridiculous hug I am going to give my brother when we meet him off the plane. Boring things, like our first supermarket shop.
And to add to all this… it’s my hen do on Saturday.
6 months after it should have been, it’s finally happening. Not a snowflake in sight.
It’s easy to say that I haven’t been thinking about it much because we’ve had so much else going on. Which is true – but only partly true. It’s still very difficult for me to think about that weekend. I almost can’t believe it was 6 months ago – half a year ago! Was that really my life? I guess it’s true that time passes, life goes on. Surely that’s the only thing we can really count on, in the end.
I was so caught up in the hurricane that weekend, I honestly couldn’t fathom something like 6 months’ time. It was a completely alien concept to me. I still don’t really know how I got from there to here. Looking back now, I think I was shell-shocked. And Mum came home from hospital so quickly after, by the time I was starting to process what was going on it was straight on to the next.
So I think I’ve been holding it at arm’s length because I still find it quite upsetting. I can tell people, I can say the sentence, “My hen do was cancelled because of all the snow”, but I can’t unpack the context, the everything else. And when I’m saying the sentence, I’m thinking to myself, “you don’t know everything else that was happening; you don’t get how bad it was.” I’m feeling the ache in my bones.
I’m a bit scared to get excited about it. Not because I think it’ll be cancelled again (I’ve checked the weather; in fact, I think it’s due to get warmer again this weekend). But because it’s so intrinsically linked to that other weekend, and I don’t want to get upset. I don’t want to fall down that hole again.
I’ve also never been to a hen do after the fact. A post-wedding hen. Will it be weird?
I don’t think it will. I think I’ll go and have an amazing time. I think I’ll be surprised at how loved I am, and probably wonder why on earth have these people gone to so much effort, for one day, for me?
Part of me doesn’t want to draw the line under that other weekend because the pain of it, of all of it, will always be there, and I don’t want to deny that. I will always be able to say, “this happened to me, and it was awful”. But part of me knows not to overthink it. Not to live in the past. Knows that I deserve this and am allowed it.
Deep breath. It’ll be great. This isn’t 6 months ago. This is now.
On our wedding day I was really proud at myself for the way I was “in the moment”. It’s honestly not something I am good at in day-to-day life, but on the day I felt really calm and clear-headed and was just soaking it all in. I wasn’t there pointing out to people everything that had happened in the lead-up, explaining the Everything Else – I didn’t need to or want to. I just enjoyed it.
I think this year has changed me. I’m a bit calmer now; I don’t tie myself up in knots if little things go “wrong”, I’m more able to step back and realise it’s not the end of the world. Maybe because I got so close to it before. I’m more… grateful? Appreciative? Maybe I’ve just got a bit more perspective. Counselling helped so much and in so many ways.
Saturday is going to be brilliant. I am going to be with my friends and people I love and the only objective is to be together and have a wonderful time. I’ll come home glowing, I’m sure. Same for our trip. I can’t go into it on eggshells, ever-dragging the last six months around with me, paranoid something is going to go wrong. I’ve just got to try and relax. And enjoy it.