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Waking up to dread almost every morning. With people and activities to look forward to, still I wake up to dread. Like this rocky shore, I know I will traverse it. But I must go through the dread first.

In the beginning, the emotion was disbelief, followed by inconsolable tears, for hours. That time rendered me incapacitated to act, interact or connect, except with a few. Next came panic, not for the emergencies of cancer and chemo and inexorable death, but the panic of who am I and how do I live on without David to love me, bicker with me, make me laugh, and have my back. The panic of a wasteland of I don’t know what comes next. Get up, build my consulting business, connect with friends and family, pay bills, clean the apartment, problem-solve practical and emotional breakdowns, seek joy. Go to a memorial service for a wife, for a dog and get pulled back down to tears.

And now there’s dread. Even though I spent the weekend with my best friend, went to the Mermaid Parade in the rain and ate delicious food. I had a weird dream about a man and a cat, feeling like I needed to hide the cat in a drawer or a closet, perhaps an innocuous dream about desire or even sex – disturbing. And today, there’s fun ahead – sending out a sold painting, finishing my Uncaged book chapter, seeing my friends, inviting potential clients to work with me, dancing swing in the park, doing a livestream, singing at the Thalia.

So I need to troubleshoot a solution for this waking up moment I do NOT enjoy. It has to happen before I go to sleep. A bath, writing letters or gratitudes, studying my vision board, dreaming of travel and song, getting myself to peaceful before I sleep. Perhaps tomorrow I will wake up to a new emotion. If you have been here, waking up to dread too, feel free to share YOUR solutions with me. Grateful! The only way out is through.