Well - it looks like I’m taking a last minute trip to China for work! I guess being home for five consecutive weeks was getting antsy for me that I didn’t mind going last minute! Literally purchased my ticket today and leaving on Sunday! **SIGH** Sometimes it’s so hard to be home but in all honestly grief has followed me on my travels, so it’s not like I’m taking a break or vacation from grief anymore when I’m away! It feels the same as if I was home or anywhere in the world now. I feel just being on the move gives me solace that I’m somehow moving and not just standing still. I don’t know if the antsiness will ever go away or if I will ever settle into widowhood, but I guess this antsiness was always a part of me before I met you. I’m not sure if I ever mentioned that some of the traits I didn’t like about myself before meeting you has started to resurface again. But, they have, much to my dismay, and it’s been a struggle to fight or suppress these unwanted traits. There are times where I can’t believe how much of myself and identity has become so wrapped up with you! When you pride yourself on being an independent woman of the millennium, you can’t help but be so shocked when you are going through an identity crisis after your husband drops dead on you suddenly and unexpectedly, with almost no rhyme or reason. I feel like all I’ve been doing the last year or so is mourn your death and mourn the loss of my identity as a wife and partner while trying to figure who I am and what my life should look like now that I’m by myself. It hasn’t been easy, and some days, I feel like I’m trapped in hell or a really bad nightmare that I’m struggling to wake up from but cannot. Over time, it has gotten easier to manage the pain and it no longer monopolizes my life anymore, but it never really feels better and the pain never really goes away either. If anything, I still go through days where I’m still in disbelief and shock that you are not here anymore, while other days, it’s like our life is what feels distant and imaginary; like it never even happened; like it was just a figment of my imagination; a dream that I finally woke up from. A fairytale that doesn't exist in real life.
I feel like I’m constantly straddling two worlds where neither life makes sense nor feels right. It’s almost like I’m just going through the motions of living this life, while I’m waiting for something to happen. What?! I have no clue, but I always feel like I’m in a holding pattern. Like I’m just chillin’ in purgatory until I can get reincarnated or something. Although the struggles have become less frequent and more manageable, the pain and emotions still hasn’t changed. Things that used to be hard or was a struggle has started to become more second nature now. I no longer feel the immense pain or longing or emptiness but I also know that the pain, longing, and emptiness will never ever go away either. Even though I see the same person staring at me in the mirror, I know she’s not the same person anymore. Even if I have no clue who she is just yet, I know she is different, and she will never ever be the same again. There are moments where I still can’t believe this is my life, but then there are other moments where I’m fully aware that this is my life and situation. It’s been hard to live with so much unknown and uncertainty when all I knew before seemed to be so sure and definite. When “‘til death do us part” seemed so far away, yet came way too early.
Last night was quite an ordeal with the animals. I let the dogs out like normal at around midnight for about fifteen minutes and when it was time to come back in, Pebbles was MIA. I kept calling her and she didn’t come back. I even went to the backyard and yelled over the fence (you know how she loves hopping the fence and running around in the slope area) but there was no response, which is totally not like her at all. This went on for about 15-20 minutes. So, I started to get worried that maybe she got attacked by a wild animal or something. I went to get a flashlight to see if I can see something since it was so dark back there. When I shined the light in the direction she likes to run at, I see these two glowing eyeballs staring at me. I call her name but still nothing. The glowing eyeballs just keep staring at me, and I’m not sure if it’s her or a wild animal staring at me. I know it’s not a fixture cause it’s moving and blinking but always staring directly at me. I didn’t know what to do, as it’s kind of scary back there.. It dark, and those glowing eyeballs staring at me could be anything, and we do live in the woods. I’m scared to even hop the fence in broad daylight, so imagine the fear I had to quell to contemplate hopping the fence in the pitch dark at like 12:30 at night!! I wouldn’t even hop that fence in broad daylight to chase after Jesse when he goes back there. But, I decided that I had to hop the fence and go find her, even if it scared me shitless to think about it, just in case she was hurt since this was definitely not like her to not come back when I call her after 30 mins and also be radio silent (not even a bark or any signs of her even being anywhere nearby except for those glowing eyeballs staring back at me.) As you know, if something like this happened when you were still alive, it would be you with the headlamp on your head who would hop the fence and venture out on these types of rescue / reconnaissance missions while I stay in the house and say, “Be careful Babe!!”) So, I went back inside the house to put on my tennis shoes (yes, you trained me well since the old SYC would have just hopped the fence with her flip flops on and probably lose traction and rolled down the hillside and break something), grabbed a broom (because you always tell me I should never go out at night without some sort of protection to ward off the mountain lions), and I put the headlamp on so I can have at least one hand free to hold on to something as I walk around so I don’t fall and roll down the slope and break something. Yes, I know you’re probably thinking, “SY, why didn’t you bring your phone with you, just in case you needed to call for reinforcement. I know I trained you better than this!!” In all honesty, I did looked at my phone when I was about to head out, and thought to myself, “I really should bring my phone with me just in case I roll down the hill and need to call for help,” but I decided against it since I needed one hand free to hold myself steady while walking around the slopey area so I don’t fall, and I had no pockets to put the phone in and didn’t want to drop it while I’m trekking along a hillside slope in the middle of the night (one less problem to solve...because you know me, it would happen since I’m such a klutz!!). So, I reluctantly hop the fence and walk towards those glowing eyes, not sure what to expect. As I’m getting close, I still can’t make out whether it’s Pebbles or not since it was so dark back there. As I get closer, I see the shape of an animal that doesn’t seem scared or alarmed that I’m approaching, so I’m hopeful it’s Pebbles but still not sure why she is just standing there staring at me with those glowing eyes and not come or even bark when I call her. When I finally approach her, she is just standing there staring at me and it turns out she got the clasp part of her collar that holds her name tag stuck on some chicken wire (why there is chicken wire back there is an anomaly to me also!). The poor baby was probably scared shitless, which is probably why she wouldn’t bark or make a peep when I called her. She only stared at me with those frightened glowing eyes in hopes that mommy knew she was in danger and would come save her. I couldn’t get the clasp free from the chicken wire and I didn’t want to roll down the hill, since Pebbles would be the only one who could probably survive the fall and be able to get back up while I would be stuck at the bottom with a broken bone or something like that, so I had to take the collar of of her. Once I freed her, she took off towards the house but she did wait to make sure I was safe and behind her before she hopped back into our backyard (I know, so nice of her right?!) I was able to finally get the collar off the chicken wire when she wasn’t wearing it anymore.
Overall, I thought it was quite a successful mission. I didn’t even breakdown or have an emotional meltdown before, during, or after the ordeal. I didn’t curse you for leaving me behind to deal with this kind of stuff by myself, and I didn’t even think about you until I got back inside the house and went to go bed. I just took care of business and powered through it. When I was laying in bed, I thought to myself, “Sean would be proud of me today!” and I fell asleep. It didn’t occur to me until this morning that this event can be considered a #widowhoodmilestone moment since this was the first time I was able to “manage” a difficult situation that you would normally take care of without incident or some sort of mental and / or emotional breakdown. It must mean I’m starting to get accustomed to “life without you,” which is so awesome yet so sad and painful at the same time. There are so many times where I feel like I’m living in two completely different worlds but I’ve always known, with any major shift or change in a person’s life, the two different worlds will eventually collide and start to merge and align until it becomes the same reality. It’s always something I wanted to come as quickly as possible, but now that it’s slowly start to surface, it’s also a very sad and painful realization as well that I can actually forge this world alone, without you in my life.
This incident was completely different from the “flat tire” incident I had after I got back from Spain in late January. I don’t even know if I ever told you about it, but let’s just say it did not end as well. I tried to be as calm, cool, rational, independent and self-sufficient as I could be and was determined to handle it all by myself. Even when LH offered to help, I told him, “I’m a big girl now and I can take care of this by myself.” But the ordeal ended up being a lot harder and more complicated than I had expected and took over a week to resolve. Yes, I know it was just a flat tire right?! Well it turns out, the technical term for my “flat tire” was not only a “blowout” since the tire was in shreds, but I also damaged two of the wheels to the point they needed to be replaced completely, and damaged the other two that it also needed repair. Mind you, I didn’t even know the difference between the tire and the wheel when I first started on this venture and what it meant when the technician said “the inner lip of the wheel is bent and needs to be replaced!!” (In my mind, what is the lip of the wheel and why would it being bent mean I have to replace the entire thing?!) I also lost it and yelled at the triple A representative in the middle of the night while standing in the parking lot of Wheel Works in my PJ’s when the tow truck driver refused to tow the car to the BMW dealership unless I ride with him all the way to Pleasanton after being 2 hours late for the third time. (Yup, the car had to be towed multiple times between Wheel Works and the dealership.) By this time, the whole ordeal had gone on for about 3 or 4 days already between Wheel Works, the BMW dealership, and Triple A. I drove off that night in tears all the way home. I was so frustrated with the whole incident, with Triple A for being 2-3 hours late on multiple occasions, with the tow truck driver for being an A**HOLE, with myself for not being able to maintain my “cool” and being able to solve this on my own, and with you for leaving me here all alone to deal with S*** like this. I was so mad at you when I was driving home and I was cursing the universe and wondered when I will ever stop feeling like S*** all the time. I even had a spat with the Lyft driver who picked me up to take me to the dealership to pick up the car a week later. The whole ordeal took almost two weeks to resolve, and it made me realized how lucky I was to have a partner who took of these types of things for me that I had no clue how to deal with it myself at all.
Oh yeah, another thing I have to quickly learn how to do is a smog check!! Your mini needs a smog check this year!! I don’t even remember the last time I did a smog check! Probably 20 years ago at the very least!! I guess I better figure it out since the registration is due next week!! eekkkk….
The journey is never-ending...
The other day, I had a dream I was falling back and someone caught me from behind, but I didn’t know who it was. It felt so real that it woke me up. I could feel the person’s hand on my back as I fell into their hand and chest, but I never turned around to look at who it was, I just woke up. I didn’t need to look because because I already know who it was you. You were trying to tell me that you will always catch me whenever I fall, whether you are here or not.
It’s been hard lately Babe. I feel like I’m falling, spiraling out of control, unraveling, and there’s nothing I can do to make it stop. I just keep falling, spiraling, and unraveling. I feel like I’m watching a movie where the audience is saying, “OMG, What is she doing?! Why can’t she just grab the life and happiness that’s right in front of her. Why does she keep torturing herself like that?!” That’s the thing, I realize that I don’t know how to grab what’s right in front of me. I don’t know how to move forward. I’ve concluded that “moving forward” is a lot harder than moving on since there was no finality to the relationship. There was no break-up, no argument or fight, no agreement to separate or end the relationship. There was no “ending” or “conclusion” to our parting. We didn’t choose it or want it. It was forced upon us and decided without our consent. We had no control over it and it’s so hard to fathom and accept at times, especially when it was something you didn’t choose or having any control over and it seems so senseless and untimely at the same time. So, moving forward has been a lot harder than I expected. It’s not because I don’t want to move forward; it’s because I just don’t know how to. I don’t know how to stick out my hand and reach for it. I don’t even know where to start or what I’m supposed to do. I don’t even know how to be “single” or live a “single” life. I don’t even know how to #adulting without you since I’ve never “adulted” without you. It’s hard to believe that I’ve spent my entire adult life with you. I was in grad school when we met, so I was just living an extension of “college life.” I never really had to be an adult until I left grad school, so all of my “adulting” life was with you by my side.
I feel like I’ve been trying to get comfortable and settled into my widowhood skin, but whenever I start to feel comfortable or settled, I realize I don’t ever want to be comfortable or settle. I never want to be comfortable or settled in widowhood. All I want to do is to rip it off, piece by piece. I want nothing to do with it. I just want you back. So, I start getting antsy and anxious when I’m still (aka “comfortable” or “settled”) for too long. All I want to do is just keep moving since “moving” makes me feel like I’m somehow going forward on this journey, even if I’m deluding myself, since all I’m doing is actually running in circles or in one place and not really going anywhere. At times, I feel like if I stop, everything will fall apart and break into a million pieces again. So, I have to keep going; running, moving, trying to get ahead of grief so it can’t catch up to me and take over my life again. I refuse to stop running because I can’t bear the pain anymore. The pain can be so unbearable at times that all I want to do is scream and yell at the universe, but all that comes out is tears. Tears of pain and sorrow, so deep that I’ve yet to hit bottom. Tears of loss and grief, so great it’s literally unbearable. Tears for all the lost memories and unfulfilled plans. Tears for all the yearning and desire that nothing in the world can satisfy. Tears for the wife that is husbandless but doesn’t know how to be anything else but a wife. Tears for the 40-something person who’s relegated back to her 20-something unsure and insecure self. I feel like all I do now is cry. I cry for myself. I cry for your mom. I cry for all your family and friends. I cry for all the people who lost their spouse too early, when “til death do us part” came way too early. I cry for all the parents who lost their child. I feel like all I do is cry and it never ends. The tears never stop coming. I can’t even remember a day where my life feels complete anymore. Most days, I feel stuck and drifting at the same time. How can someone be stuck and drifting at the same time?! I don’t know but that’s how I feel.
A grieving widow who is trying to find meaning and purpose from her tragic event.