02/21/2014 12:10 pm ET Updated Apr 23, 2014

A Reprieve From Grieving the Death of My Husband

fStop Images - Vladimir Godnik via Getty Images

I took a trip -- four whole days away from my daily life. It was a big deal; flying, renting a car and driving two hours by myself to meet up with "virtual" friends. I have lots of "virtual" friends, people I've met online or only know from the phone. People I had never met in person. And here I was planning on sharing a hotel room with two of them.

In the days leading up to the weekend I alternated between abject terror -- how could I do this?!?! And feeling that I would be fine. And I promised myself that if on the morning of the flight, if completely overwhelmed I would just stay home.

And then I found myself at the airport. Navigating the signage to find my flight and gate. And I felt OK. Even having my bag pulled out and inspected did not upset me. It just served as an interesting distraction.

Something had changed. I don't know what, a shift of some sort. I was doing fine. Oh, I cried in the car during those two hours of driving. Passed through an area Robert and I had driven, and I got to wondering why we had not done more exploring. A moment of regrets.

When I was planning this adventure I kept thinking this "was the first time". The first time I was flying alone, the first time renting a car alone, the first time checking into a hotel alone. All alone. I had taken the first time to mean ever, not just the first time since his death.

But as I was driving I remembered doing all of these things numerous times in the past. It was like my memory only went back two and a half years, to the hospital room after Rob's original surgery, waiting for him to wake up. That is my image. With amnesia for any life of my own before that moment. And now the memories are coming back. Filling the blank spaces in me.

I checked into the hotel with a reservation made by someone I did not know and who was not even going to be there. Much to the confusion of the person at the desk. My friends arrived and it was like we had known each other forever.

We laughed, talked, went to dinner, to bed, and to the horse event. What amazes me was that I was able to be and stay in the moment. Be with my friends. Enjoy myself. Experience what was going on around me. And never feel alone. Or abandoned.

And with this awareness of being whole, I now felt guilty. How could I be enjoying myself? How could I manage to travel on my own? How could I laugh? How could I feel okay? Was this a betrayal of Robert?

I was in uncharted territory. Yes I cried several times during the four days. But it was never that overwhelming grief. That did not hit until I was back in familiar territory. Back home. Stopping at the supermarket and seeing the handicap parking space I used to pull into for Rob.

So yes the grief is still there. I am still trying to make sense of what happened to me on this trip. Guess I got a few days off from grieving.