My 20-Something Self
Hey Babe -
Today is your 2 month deathversary -- it’s only been 2 months but it feels like an eternity. This past week has been rough; I feel like I’ve regressed, but it’s a constant reminder that this journey is a marathon and not a sprint (and there are times where it feels like I’m running in circles and even backwards, but I can't get discouraged or frustrated--even though it's really easy to do both). I have to learn to pace myself or else I won’t make it. People have said this grieving process can takes years to ‘get over,’ making me realize I’ve barely scratched the surface. My therapist reassured me that I shouldn’t expect to get ‘better,’ since it will never get better, it will just be different! (At least she is setting expectations, and I know what I’m working towards--different and not better.) It’s like Sheryl Sandberg said in her book, “When option A is no longer available, you kick the shit out of Option B.”
After you passed, a couple of my college friends came to stay with me for a few days. We ended up going through boxes of old photos, cards, momentos, and journals from when I was in my 20’s. I also found quotes on post-it notes that I used to display in my room for inspiration and encouragement. I even found old photos of when we first started dating and a Valentine’s Day card from you that was signed “Big Dog” (this was probably before you were ‘real’ about your sentiments on Valentine’s Day!) I had forgotten you used to call yourself "Big Dog!" It also reminded me of when you used to call me “Shorty.” I always thought it was because I was short, but later you told me it was from a song (but I can’t remember which song it was from). The photos and momentos transported me back to memories of when we first started dating. I remember there was a time I told you that I would be late to pick you up from the airport because I was tutoring, but at the last minute, I ended the tutoring session early, so I could be at the airport when you arrived. When you saw me in the waiting area as you came down the escalator, you told me, “I knew you would be waiting for me.” I remember how excited I would get when I knew you were coming to visit or when I heard your voice on the the phone. Come to think of it, I still feel that same excitement even to this day when I get to see you or hear your voice, especially after being away for an extended period.
When I was going through an old journal, RS (yes, the person you said was never allowed in our house because he’s a Cavs fan) says, “Open to a random page in the journal and read it.” Let’s just say, looking back at your 20-something self doesn’t always bring back fond memories of the ‘glory days’ as you remembered them! If anything, it makes you realize how sappy you used to be! I also found a journal entry of the guys I’ve dated with notes and ranking--OMG, I couldn’t believe I kept a little black book. It was probably an idea that resulted from watching the Little Black Book movie with Brittany Murphy. The term "little black book" is rarely used nowadays, maybe because people don’t write in books anymore. (I guess for the millennials, it’s like a yelp review of the guys I dated!) Anyways, I realized you were the next guy I met after the last guy listed (I guess taking note of what I liked and disliked helped me to find you--my future husband and life partner), so you didn't make it into the little black book. The last guy listed was someone I dated after college to the first quarter of grad school. I remembered when we (the other guy, not you) broke up, this was the first time I really understood what the term “heartbreak” meant. I literally felt my heart breaking into pieces and shattering on the ground when I was mourning that break-up (see, this is how my sappy 20-something self would explain heartbreak).
I remember the first few sessions of therapy after you passed, I told my therapist that I don’t even feel my heart breaking like it did when I broke up with boyfriends in the past. Instead, I just felt empty and hollow (maybe, this is how my realist almost 40-something self would explain heartbreak). Now that my mind is clearer, I can’t even believe I compared your death to breaking up with boyfriends in the past. But, it also goes to show that I have no other life experience to compare this to either. (My therapist reassured me that my heart is breaking, it’s just happening in a super slower motion than a break-up that’s why I can’t feel it breaking or shattering, but I will in due time. Great, more wonderful things to look forward to in widowhood!!)
These last few weeks, I feel like I’ve transported back to my 20-something self where I’m trying to figure out life and the future is unknown, uncertain, and unsure. Two months and one day ago, my future wasn’t unknown, uncertain, or unsure. I may not have known what the future holds, but I knew it wasn’t unknown, uncertain, or unsure. Now, when I look into the future, all I see is darkness, unknown, and uncertainty like when I was 20-something, except the future isn’t as bright or promising. The world is no longer my oyster. Instead, our life is shattered into pieces and I’m left to put it back together by myself. I’ve started gathering all the pieces and laying them on the table, but it’s like a puzzle I have to put together without a picture to reference. I don’t know where to start or what it will look like when I’m done or if I can even put it all back together.
P.S. If I were to rate you in my little black book, I’d give you 4.5 stars. You’re probably thinking, "WTH SY?! I only get 4.5 stars?!" Well babe, I did say “I’m going to find a new and improves S 2.0” a lot, so obviously it means you weren’t perfect and there was still room for improvement. 😂😂😂
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A grieving widow who is trying to find meaning and purpose from her tragic event.