Today is my birthday, I’m 54. My birthday hasn’t really meant much for a long time now, since before Derek died. Nobody has ever really made a big deal out of my birthday so I’ve learned to make sure I have a great day. My daughter will make me a delicious dinner tonight and then my birthday will be over.
Last year I was in Italy on my birthday and that’s the best birthday gift I’ve ever had and I gave it to myself! I’ve bought myself cakes and balloons and gifts over the years but I don’t really do that anymore. Maybe I’ll deliver myself flowers today for my birthday.
I’m doing ok right now, moving into my daughter’s has been really good for me. Being around her and the kids is a good thing and I haven’t been isolating. I feel happy and my therapist said that I look very happy.
However, I have to learn how to find a balance, a balance between work, Derek’s Place and ME. It seems like I’m always running around doing things for Derek’s Place and I don’t take the time to take care of ME. I need to do that more or I’m not going to be any good to anyone. It’s so hard to do that though, I’ve always given all of myself to other people and not given a second thought to me and my needs. That’s what needs to change, I’ve gotten it backwards I have to take care of me first and then I can give my time and self to other people. I’m definitely a work in progress.
I miss Derek every second of every day but I am learning how to live without him here, I have laughed and not felt guilty and that was a good feeling. I have gone to a dinner party and had wine with friends and family and I didn’t feel guilty and that was a good feeling. I have cried for Derek too and know that that’s part of my grieving process and I don’t feel guilty for it.
I miss Derek’s boys like crazy; I’ve just been busy on the weekends and haven’t been able to see them. Alexander is going to be a big brother and I think he’s going to make a great big brother! I need to make time this weekend to see both of them. It will be good for me to spend some time with them, maybe we can carve pumpkins.
Derek’s Place is moving right along; we have 3 new Board members that I think are going to do great things! I’m going to look at a space, tomorrow, after work and I think it’s going to be perfect for starting out in! I’m hoping to be open in the first quarter of next year and I’m going to do everything I can to make that happen. This Saturday is our monthly lunch at Heartside Park and we’re having a chili cook off and handing out winter items. Who knows maybe I’ll find someone else to help. Patrick has a place to live and a job and he’s so happy. I hope I can help someone else get their life back.
I’m so excited for Derek’s Place to be open; I can’t wait to show our members that they are loved and that they deserve the life that they want so badly! Killian told a story about the first location of Recovery Cafe, it was only 1700 sq ft and someone had donated carpet and pads for their space and she picked out a beautiful carpet. She came by as the contractors were finishing up laying the carpet and it was a zebra print! Not what she had picked out at all. She told them that it was all wrong and that she was sorry but they were going to have to tear it out and put down the carpet that she picked out. They were not happy about this and one of them said well isn’t this just a place for homeless people? She said yes it is and that’s why it has to be perfect! These people have been told for far too long that they don’t matter, that their lives don’t matter and that’s why this needs to be perfect and the carpet has to be perfect. I love that story and this is the feeling that Derek’s Place will have, one that lets our member know that THEY matter and their lives matter.
The closer it gets to having Derek’s Place open, the closer I am to leaving my current job. I’m sad about that because I like the people that I work with, my job isn’t nearly challenging enough and doesn’t keep me focused but it has been a great job for the last 3 1/2 years. Although I’m sad to be leaving this job I am overjoyed that I will be able to do what I’ve always wanted to do! They say if you’re doing what you love you will never work a day in your life, I’m about to find out if that’s true!
So 651 days into my life, after Derek, I’m doing well for the most part and I’m able to laugh and find joy in things and that makes me happy. I will always grieve for my Son, I will always miss him and I will always love him…ALWAYS, however, I think I’m learning to adapt to this new life and what I need to do to find that balance that I need. There will be days that those waves are going to be 100 ft high and I feel like I’m drowning but I know that it’s not going to last and that I can make it through them. I have to for Derek, for my Girls, for my grandkids, for my friends, for Derek’s Place but most importantly…for myself.