It’s your 16th month deathversary!! 16 months ago, I could barely breathe, let alone ever think that I would survive this trauma and be able to function in a world where you didn’t exist. Before, everything seemed like it was standing still and time was passing by at a painstakingly slow speed. Now, everything feels like it’s whirling by and moving at the speed of light. There are times, where I feel like I’m chasing after time and can’t keep up. But, as we all know, time moves at the same speed. It never changes. It's constant.
I’m sure you’re wondering what I’ve been up to lately since I barely write. Well, to be quite honest, I’ve written you pages and pages of letters in my head. The words and stories have never stopped. We’re chatting everyday, but now our conversations are in my head. I try to write, but the words just don’t want to come out anymore. I remember reading Option B where Sheryl Sandberg says that you write until you are done, and you will know when you are done! I don’t know if I’m done. I just think it’s progressed to a different level where the grief process has extended beyond just the pain and sadness, so it’s more difficult to write when you have no clue how you’re feeling or what’s going on in your life. I’m in the part of the grief process where I’m trying to figure out who I am without you and where I want to go next without all the eyes staring and watching me, even though I know more than ever, I’m still living in a fishbowl. Even if people want me to think they’re not watching anymore, they are. Everybody is still watching and even more curious with what’s going on with me. Is she “really” okay? Will she be able to move on? When is she going to start dating? (Even your mom was curious about the last question. Apparently, so is my mom. She told my sister that she hopes I start dating soon so I’m not so lonely by myself up there were her exact words.)
I think people want some sort of marker or sign that I’m better and ready to move on with my life, and somehow that marker for widow(er)s is dating. But, what people don’t understand is that there’s no such thing as “better” or “moving on” from widowhood. Your death isn’t ever going to leave me or go away. To my dismay, I’m starting to learn there’s never really going to be a “better” and I’m never going to “move on” with my life. There’s no such thing, even if I’m dating or get remarried. I don’t think people really understand that there's no finish line in this journey unless they’re a widow(er) themselves. Even I have a hard time accepting that there’s no finish line in this journey. If anything, I feel like I'm always trying to rush to the finish line myself. Your death and my widowhood journey has essentially become a part of who I am. It's my story now. It’s in every breath I take. It’s forever changed who I am and all the relationships around me, even the ones that started out without you and / or didn’t even involve you. There are even friends who will be changed forever as a result of your passing. We have all forever changed, whether they know it or not and even if they all go through their lives as if nothing has happened. We’re different. Our perspectives have changed. Our value system has been disrupted, turned upside down, and changed. Who I am now is not who I was when you were alive. I will never be the person that I was when you were alive. I know I’m still far from “becoming” the person I’m meant to be and I’m still undergoing my metamorphosis, but even the person that stands before me in the mirror is drastically different from the person I was when you were alive. I don’t know, maybe you might like this SY better!! 🤣😂🤣😂 She’s finally becoming the person you’ve always wanted her to be. She may have resisted when you were alive, but now she has surrendered to it. Sometimes, it takes a traumatic and earth shattering event to put things in perspective and truly understand and see what’s important in life.
To a certain extent, I am “better” but not in the way people think. Better in that the pain and sadness no longer consumes my life, even if it hurts the same today as it did 16 months ago. I’ve gotten better at coping and managing the grief and not letting it take me down or slow me down. With anything else in life, there’s a learning curve with coping and managing pain and grief. It doesn’t get better with time, you just get better at managing it and not letting it affect you the way it used to when it first happened. You get better at putting on a show for the world to see and gracing the world with this “I’m okay” and “grief ain’t got nothing on me” persona, but when the curtain goes down and you’re at home in the quiet of the night, there’s a different persona that emerges; one where there’s still great pain and sadness in your heart. Where you still long and ache for your dying husband to come home. Where you still sleep on your side of the bed and stare at his side, wondering when he will come back. Where every moment of happiness you experience is even harder, sadder, and more painful than the pain and grief you’re going through because you’re not able to share it with your person. You feel even sadder and more alone than before because the world thinks you’re doing better than you really are and you can’t really tell anybody that you’re really not that “better” since you’ve worked so hard to make sure the world thinks and believe you’re better, so they would stop staring at you, but later you figured out that even if they’re not staring at you like they did before, they still haven’t really taken you out of their line of sight yet. Instead, they’re watching you from afar and at their peripheral. They’re still watching and curious to see what you will do next and whether you’ve really landed on your feet or not.
I wish I can say I’ve picked up the pieces of my broken life and somehow put them back together. I wish I can say with confidence that I am “better” or “strong” or “so put together after such a tragic experience,” but, in all honesty, nothing has been picked up or put back together. I am not better and I’m definitely not strong. And obviously, I’m very good at faking it until I make it. If anything, I’ve been distracting myself and closing my eyes to all the pieces that lay broken and scattered all over the floor around me. (I’ve come to learn that avoidance is one of my best coping mechanisms.) I don’t even know where to begin or how to start picking up the broken pieces of my life around me; let alone sorting them into logical piles so I can start making sense of it all and put them back together. So, the broken pieces lay scattered all over the floor while I carry on with my life. I've been closing my eyes and walking over them on a daily basis. I figure when I'm ready, I will know and there’s no need to force myself or set some sort of timeline or schedule of when they need to be done or in what order they should be done, especially since the timeline and schedule just adds undue and unwarranted stress and pressure. So, let’s see what still needs to be sorted and “catalogued” in my life:
Even though most of my life is still one big fat question mark...there are a few things that I know definitely to be true so far on my journey.
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A grieving widow who is trying to find meaning and purpose from her tragic event.