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Saturday, January 31, 2015

A New Beginning

Every broken heart has at one time asked, 
"What is important to me now?"
Shannon Alder


When you are married for such a long time, it is as if you each become a part of the other, personalities and incidents weaving together to form an intricate tapestry that is your life. I do so miss those glances where you did not have to speak to know what the other was thinking or feeling, the shared humor, the warmth of hugs and smiles. So with him gone it is as if half of me is missing and I need to redefine myself.  Some things were important only because of him.  Other things that did not seem important when he was here are now of major importance.  And so I blunder on through this rebirth wondering what to retain and cling to and what to shed and leave behind me.  

And where will bicycling fall into all this change?  Is it time to find new avenues of exploration and activity or should I cling to my cycling more fiercely than before hoping to find happiness and absolution there, to find a way to make peace with the cards that have been dealt to me and that I cannot alter?  

Before he died, my husband had gotten my Christmas presents.  My son and his wife wrapped them and I opened them on Christmas morning:  tail lights for my bike and a new Garmin 605, the model he knew I liked so much more than the new Edge Touring.  Where did he find  this discontinued treasure?  And as I open the gifts,  his arm briefly, one last time, settles gently and lovingly around my shoulders pointing the way.  For he knew he was dying.  A few days before he passed he told someone that he was dying, and he told me that he was going to try to make it through Christmas but did not know if he could.  I know he worried about me and how I would go on.  So I know these gifts had a special meaning to  him and were not something randomly picked off my "I'd Like to Have This" list.

I am on my own when I ride in a way that I have never been before, and I am totally dependent upon the kindness of strangers if my bike should break or if I should have a bad fall and be unable to ride home.  For a moment, I hesitate, but only for a moment. 

And so despite the 17 degree feel like temperature that the weather woman talks about, I dress, grit my teeth, set my jaw, and head out the door.  I have to meet my daughter this afternoon so it is not a long ride, but I get in fifty miles.  The weight I have gained during the past couple of months makes each hill I encounter hurt like the dickens and feel like a mountain, but I push through knowing that it will only make me stronger and that I will need all the strength that I can muster in the upcoming year for  birthing is a difficult process.  I remember giving birth and the pain that sawed through every fiber of my being as my body strained and heaved to bring new life into the world, but I do not remember the pains of being born.  So while this is not new to me, it is.  And cycling will, I believe, be a part of it.  It is comforting to know that he knew this and approved and gave me a new Garmin so that I will not lose my way.