I'm a widow and I'm not afraid!!
Today I felt like I reached a new milestone in my grief process (if there’s such a thing, but whatever!!) I’m no longer afraid or scared to look at the door where you don’t exist. I’m able face my new reality without terror or being paralyzed or frozen from fear or feeling like I’m going to break into a million pieces. I might not be ready to do much else but look at the door and know it’s there, but it’s the first step! (Hey, I have to celebrate every small progress I make...because it’s about the baby steps!)
I told you Babe, I will recalibrate when needed. I know I jumped into a lot of things fast and quickly, but like I said before, sometimes you just have to rip the bandaid off and jump off the cliff. You won’t know how it will feel unless you do it. Once you know how it feels, you can recalibrate accordingly, and that’s what I’ve been doing in April--recalibrating! I decided I needed more time for myself, so I said no to invites to go out or do things and was more selective on how I spent my time if I decided to go out. (Let me tell you, my social calendar in March was on overdrive, I guess you become very popular when you’re a newly widowed person.) I also requested more remote days from work since I felt overwhelmed by all the pain and grief that was being bottled up from having my ‘game face’ on at work. And, I was just exhausted from the travel also. (Travel requires being ‘on’ literally all day since you tend to go out to dinner / happy hour with coworkers after the work day is over coupled with the timezone and working two shifts (US and China shifts), it’s just exhausting. Whoever said there’s glamour and glory in work travel hasn’t worked traveled enough.) So, I’ve been fortunate to have a sympathetic boss and workplace; not everybody has the luxury. And, of course the baby steps...wheat bread, organic milk, lentil soup, telling strangers and lyft drivers that my husband died, and giving away your things to family / friends. At the time, it just felt like I was going through the motions. It didn’t feel meaningful, and it definitely didn’t make me feel any better; if anything, it made me feel worse!! Honestly, I was going to tell my therapist this week that none of it has helped. I still get paralyzed and frozen with fear and I still feel like I will break into a million pieces whenever I think about you not coming home. I was going to tell her that I refuse to continue doing these things because they make me feel worse, and they don’t seem to be helping me in any way. But, somehow it all clicked on Sunday night. It was like my heart and my mind synced at that moment (but it doesn’t mean they won’t get out of sync again, just that they synced at that moment in time)! So, now that the fear is gone, my therapist says I can just focus on grieving. I was coupling the two emotions together, thinking that they were linked, but they’re not. They’re two different emotions that just happened coincidentally at the same time after you passed. Now, I can breathe again. I can focus on what my new reality will look and feel like, and I can continue writing my story and celebrating your life.
Does this mean I won’t be afraid again at some point in time through this grief process?! Nope! Fear is always around the corner, but now I know it doesn’t have to become the boundary that holds me hostage or imprisons me. Does this mean I’m okay and I’m over you? Far from it! This just means I’m okay with not being okay. That I will cry when I need to and not be afraid that I can’t stop or that I will fall into pieces. That I’m not afraid to say this is my story and it HELLA sucks, and I hate and curse the universe. But, this is my story; the ending to this chapter has been written in stone, I can’t change it, and I can’t escape it. But, I don’t have to be afraid of it. I don’t have to let it take me down. I don’t have to let it break me.
My therapist took this time to remind me that the pain never really goes away. It doesn’t end or disappear. I don’t wake up one day and it’s gone. It just becomes a part of me, of who I am. It’s a scar that permanently resides in my heart that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I just learn how to manage and control the pain, so it doesn’t become all-consuming and catastrophic everytime it hits me. Now, I can see why the Mandy Moore character in This is Us wanted to say, “I’m hanging in there” even after 8+ years later. I have to constantly remind myself that I’ve barely scratched the surface and that my journey has only just begun.
So, in summary, my secret recipe for grief so far is:
I’m sure there’s more, but this is all I can think of right now!
P.S. Thanks for letting me know where your safe deposit key is. Since you passed away, I’ve been thinking of all the possible places you could have put your key. To be quite honest, I would never have guessed it would be where it was. I’ve driven your Mini twice a week for the last few months, and for some odd reason, something told me to open this compartment in your Mini after I pulled into a parking spot at the grocery store last Sunday. I just sat there and thought to myself, why do I feel the urge to open this compartment that I’ve never noticed or cared about since I’ve been driving the car?! But, you know, I can’t resist the temptation, so I opened it. And there it was, our safe deposit box key. I just smiled and said, “Thanks Babe! You knew I was looking for it.” Now, all I need to know is the six-digit code to unlock your iPhone. I’ll be waiting for you to tell me, but don’t take as long as it took for you to tell me where the safe deposit key was.
4/30/2018 09:26:37 pm
Did you try your wedding date?
5/9/2018 10:40:39 pm
Yes I did...but it didn't work!!!
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A grieving widow who is trying to find meaning and purpose from her tragic event.