Touched by loss. Empowered through community.

Up Next: Real Life

Monday, March 17, 2014
Posted By: 
Eden Maheras

Today is St. Patrick’s Day, and we all know that Chicago does St. Patrick’s Day as well as any city - the green river, parade, and of course the masses decked out in green, packing bars and sloppily spilling out onto the streets.  On Sunday morning as I carefully navigated my way through the evidence of Saturday night’s festivities, feeling old, I reflected on St. Patrick’s Day weekend of 2008.
At the time, JP and I were living in DC, and getting ready to move back to Chicago.  We came into the city for the weekend to do some house hunting.  We were engaged, getting married in 6 months, and it was all just fun and exciting.  I felt like I was on the precipice of becoming an adult, and was so thrilled to start our new adventure.
Now, on the same holiday 6 years later, I find myself again teetering on the edge of a new adventure, and new milestones.  This time, though, it’s all a bit less thrilling.  Again, I am reaching out to our realtor, gearing up for home ownership and a move.  But this time, I’ll be doing it alone.  This time, the life behind the door of wherever I end up is looking a little more daunting. 
After two years of renting an apartment with my parents, Max and I will be living on our own.  I’ll be graduating from my Master’s program, and will be working full-time, which I haven’t done since before Max was born.  And on top of all this, I’m also still trying to figure out how to be in a relationship – how to truly open up and share myself with someone else.  There are times when just thinking about what comes next practically paralyzes me with anxiety.  Other times, I feel, if not ready, at least confident that it’s time for me to take this step into independent adulthood.  My parents will still be here to help with Max, and I have the best support system I could ask for with my amazing friends.  I’m not going to be alone.  But…I am.
This experience is certainly not something that is singular to me.  Every widow/widower has to go through massive transitions, whether they have to do with changes in career, selling a home or moving, figuring out parenthood alone, dating…and it may happen all at once, gradually, or in stages, but we all have to go through it.  And it is a strange thing, as an adult, to go through such significant changes that you feel like you have become a different person from who you were just a short while back.  In my school program, we take many personality assessments, and I have seen firsthand how supposed “fixed traits” can fluctuate in me over time.  Now, if someone asks me “is this how you were, is this how you acted?” it feels like they might as well ask me if the way I am now is very similar to a character I once read about in a book. 
I’m not sure when I will get to the point where I can say, “this is who I am now.”  Again, I’m sure that’s different for each of us.  But I think that my next phase will bring me one step closer.  Being in school, living with my parents – this phase has had such a temporary feel to it.  And what I’ve been waiting and preparing for is what comes next – our real life, and the true start of Chapter 2.


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