Last night was my company holiday party. They always do a very nice job at a lovely venue, so though I skipped it last year (too soon!) I decided to attend this time. I've been with the same company since before T and I were together, and he and I went to the event every year. So many memories of T and me dressing up, chatting with co-workers, eating and drinking, dancing at our one annual opportunity ... roundabout mid-day yesterday, I was beginning to doubt my resolve.
But sometimes the outfit makes all the difference. I was thinking I would wear the same skirt and festive taffeta blouse I've worn several times before. The blouse was a favorite of T's, and I was having trouble facing the thought of wearing the same thing, just without the chic accessory of a husband. Luckily as I was trolling my closet, I came across a shimmery gold cowl neck sweater set. It wasn't something I associated with T, and it was seasonal and not too out of date. It immediately turned my mood around.
Riding on the company-provided bus up to the party, almost everyone was part of a couple. I felt conspicuously alone. But then I realized everyone had a different story, was in a different place in relationship with their partner. There were a few other single people, and the pair in front of me seemed to be just friends attending the party together. Not everyone was a happily married couple attending the way T and I had so many times.
I am very glad I went. And in some ways, it's easier alone: no one to negotiate with about where to go, when and with whom to engage in conversation, and for how long. I decided I was expressing my courage -- acknowledging it was hard, there were demons to face, but as a friend at the event said, "Avoid avoiding". Talking to good friends, the tears came easily. But they dried easily, too. At times during the night, I felt out of place, an impostor. But at other times, I was genuinely enjoying myself. And I had my picture taken, alone but with my chin up and a smile on my face.