“Can you write this down?” she said to one of the friends standing beside her, nearly holding her up. “There’s no way I’ll remember this. And I just have to remember this.” One of the girlfriends took out her phone and opened to a note taking app. Her thumbs were at the ready, but suddenly I had thought of a more personal idea that could work for both of us.
“Here, how about this: can I make a video on your phone?”
The beauty of smart phones is that we all know what we’re doing (even though our kids can do it faster). Hers is just like mine, so I tapped the photo icon and reversed the camera to look at me.
“Hi, June. We’ve just met, and your friends brought you to meet me since we’re in the same club: the widows club. I am just a little ahead of you on the journey, and I have three things for you to know and remember. You can watch this anytime you need to remember.
First of all, you’re doing this thing, girlfriend. Don’t worry about how you’re going to do this, because you’re already doing this. There is no dress rehearsal and there is no practice. There is only this and now, and you’re doing it. You’re living this moment, and that’s all you need to do right now.
Second, when you don’t know what to do, just do the next thing. That’s all. Ask yourself what’s next, and do that one thing. Maybe it’s tying your shoes. Maybe it’s getting the mail. Maybe it’s pouring yourself a glass of water. And when you are overwhelmed and it all takes you down and you have to go back to bed, then go back to bed. Feel how you feel, and when you’re ready to get up, just do the next thing.
And third, my dear friend, when you wake up on the morning after the first year, don’t expect rainbows and sunshine or anything different. There is nothing different from day 365 to 366; if anything, it’s a lap, but not a finish line. I say this not to discourage you, but to let you off the hook. Don’t let anyone expect anything from you. The first year is for your head, and the second year is for your heart. Go easy on yourself, dear one. Your heart is still broken.
You’re a hero and a fighter. And I’m proud of you.”
She can watch it never again or several times a day. But when she needs to remember that she’s more than just breathing, she can press play and I can tell her again.
* * *
Some of you have asked for a Three Things Video for yourself or someone you love. Here you go, my friends.