So much has happened in the last year and half since I stopped writing that I don’t even know where to start sometimes. Sometimes, I just want to start where we left off but then there are other times where I wonder if all that craziness really needs to be shared at all!! 😂🤣 Most of the time, I’m tired and exhausted of the reruns of my life over the last 3+ years that constantly replays in a continuous loop in my head, but it’s not something I can escape either. Trust me, I’ve tried so many times, and I’ve failed miserably each time. I just hope and pray that at some point the reruns stop, but I’ve also come to learn that I shouldn’t have any expectations on this journey either since it only ends in heartache and pain.
I guess I was going through a period of emotional reclusiveness and avoidance. It was over a year and a half and I didn’t understand how I could be still such a HOT mess?! I didn’t understand why I was still feeling so much pain, grief, and angst still. I thought I was supposed to get magically better after a year, but it never happened. (I know, there I go again, always trying to benchmark myself to some magical grief timeline even when I know that doesn’t exist…I guess I can’t help myself!!). There were so many days where the pain still felt so raw and unbearable that feel nothing would be better than what I was I feeling and going through. I just wanted to be “normal” again – whatever that meant post-Sean, I didn’t care. I just desperately wanted it and I wanted it now!! Even though it seemed like I had my shit together and adjusting well to my “new life circumstances,” there was nothing fine about me internally and I was a complete HOT MESS on the inside. I felt a lot of angst and frustration. I felt like I was stuck, trapped, and lost, but at the same time, I also felt like I was drifting endlessly in the dark with no direction. How can one person feel stuck in one place but drifting endlessly at the same time?! I have no clue, but that was me all the time. But it was not something I wanted the world to know. So, I worked really hard to main the façade that I was okay. I went to work, hung out with friends, and ensured I was nothing but a productive member of society even if I always felt empty, dead, and devoid of any emotions and feelings on the inside. My life felt like it had no meaning or purpose anymore; like it didn’t matter whether I was dead or alive. Lots of widow groups recommend volunteering and community service to help fill the void. So, I tried to filled the void with a lot of different things. One of which was leading the women’s group and launching an education program at work that hosted students from under resourced communities around the Bay Area for on-site field trips to our campuses to learn more about careers in tech. I threw myself into these altruistic endeavors in the hopes that I would awaken my heart and soul again and didn’t feel so devoid of meaning and purpose, but honestly, nothing really helped. I just was felt so empty and a deep sense of void all the time. I was just a shell of a person that had no other choice or option but to keep living and breathing even if I felt like dying would be better than the hell I was in. I didn’t know what I was living for or why I was still living. Even when I had brief moments of joy and accomplishments in my life, they were fleeting and always bittersweet since they constantly reminded of how alone I was since I had anyone to share these moments with anymore. They felt more like slaps in the face reminding me of my new harsh reality.
Also, during this time, I started to make more conscious decisions to transition “our life” to “my life.” On the online widow’s support group, a lot of the widows talked about how they redecorated their bedroom and did things with their wedding rings. When I read these things initially, I didn’t understand why they were necessary. But what I’ve come to realize on this journey is that you can’t see or hear anything until you are ready to see and hear them. When I read about widows re-decorating their bedrooms and making new jewelry out of their wedding rings, I never even gave it a second thought nor did I ever find it important or necessary. However, as I’ve continued on my widowhood journey (one which I had previously expected to have already end at this point), I remembered these stories and thought to myself, maybe if I got a new bedroom set, I would feel less angst, frustrated, empty, stuck, and trapped. So, in November of 2019, I bought new bedroom furniture. I remember showing it to a friend from college and she said, “Wow, it’s so different from your old set. This feels more like you the person I knew in college.” It was definitely not something you would have picked or even agreed to, trust me I know because I’ve tried so many times to buy furniture like this before and you always said no. In the 6-8 weeks I waited for the furniture to be delivered, I went through a lot of anguish and distress as to what to do with our old bedroom furniture. I wasn’t ready to “let go” of the bedroom set yet, so I figure I would set-up another guest bedroom in your man-room even though there was already two guest bedrooms, a third one wouldn’t hurt, right?!. So, that was the plan.
But as time wore on, I thought to myself, do I really need a third guest bedroom?! Like how often will I have enough guests that would require the use of three bedrooms at one time?! Then, I thought about all your belongings that I’ve already “let go” of and how I felt afterwards. The very first thing I have away was your SUV. I remember you mentioning days before you died how you wanted to give your brother the SUV if you were to buy another car. So, giving your bother the SUV felt right since it was like I was fulfilling a wish you had. As an exercise, a few months after you passed, my therapist suggested I have your family and friends come and take whatever keepsake or mementos they that was yours. I decided everything was fair game, even if it was something I wanted to keep, I told myself, I was not going to say anything and just let them have it. When it was family members and friends, it felt good since I know they would love and cherish your items as much as I would. Then I allowed our cleaning lady and her family to take anything they wanted from your closet since it was going to be donated at some point anyways. That was a lot harder than I had expected. A few months later, I allowed your family to come again for round 2 and I did this a few more times. At one point, I finally told them it was last call since I was planning to clean out your closet soon. (Of course, “soon” was loosely used choice of word, since it probably took another six to eight months before I finally cleaned out your closet.). Overtime, even this became easier and almost anti-climactic. Then one random trash day when I was taking the trash cans out to the curb after work, I don’t know what came over me, but I just marched into our bathroom and grabbed all your toiletries and put them in trash bag and threw them out. They were always just sitting there on the bathroom countertop just staring at me – even at times, I felt like they were mocking me. Why are you keeping us still?! It’s not like you’re ever going to use aftershave or that razor?! I would just stare at them each morning I started my day and each night I ended my day. I guess I finally got fed up with all the staring and mocking. So, without even a thought, I just threw them out. Honestly, I think it was just a way for me to curse at you since I was upset that you died and left me to take care of all your house chores like lugging the trash can to the curb every week. There were a few times that night that I told myself to grab them all from the crash can before I regret it. I’m positive I cried myself to sleep that night since this was the first time I threw anything of yours away (I don’t even think I threw away your snacks and candy in the pantry yet at this point in time, even though they were perishable). 😂🤣 Around the 9- or 10-month mark, I made a conscious effort to stop wearing my wedding ring. I remember I was always staring and fixating on the empty ring finger for a very long time. I would go to touch or move it around my fingers out of habit and freak out a bit when I realized there was no ring on my finger. to only realize it wasn’t there anymore. Taking off my wedding ring was actually really hard, and it took a really long time to get used, but with everything else and in due time, an empty ring finger because the “new norm” and I stopped fixating and looking for a nonexistent ring. Well, we don’t need to revisit the closet again, right?! I think we all know it was kicking my ass for over a year and a half before I was able to beat it and reign supreme. Even though I had planned to clean out your closet so many times, I was never able to do it. But like the toiletries, I literally woke up one morning on the weekend, and I decided this was the day and just did it. I didn’t even think twice about it. I literally got out of bed, closed my eyes, turned off any emotions or feelings I had, and just threw all your things into boxes that were sitting in the bedroom for probably six months by this time. Although it took a few more months before I found the courage to donate your things, I did when the opportunity came whether I was ready or not. As I looked back on all your things I had to “let go” of, I realized one thing – whether I was ready or not, I did “let go” and I survived, even if it was hard – I survived and I’m still standing. So, in essence, I don’t need a third guest bedroom, and I ended up getting rid of the bedroom we had for over 10 years. And yes, of course, with my eyes closed and without a second thought.
A grieving widow who is trying to find meaning and purpose from her tragic event.