Hey Babe -
So, I’ve kept myself very “un-busy” these last couple of months! I guess I was exhausted from all the “running” and “avoiding” I was doing the last few months and just need a break to recharge for the next sprint...J/K!! But in all seriousness, I’ve taken this downtime to really reflect on where I am, how I got here, and where I want to go next.
Where am I?
I’m a 40 year old widow (some might even call me a renegade widow since I refuse to fit into the widow stereotype, but then again, when did I ever let myself conform to any of societal labels, so I guess this is just me being me!!), who is trying to find herself and her place in the world after the most tragic and traumatic experience she has ever had to experience in her life. Although I’ve been touched and moved by the kindness, love, and support I’ve received on this incredibly hard and shitty ass journey, I also know it’s a journey I have to walk alone in order to come out the other end...I want to say unscathed but we both know that is definitely not going to happen! If anything, I’ve been scathed and banged up and down multiple times over already, wondering if the wound and pain will ever heal and end (that’s still a question that remains unanswered, but I’m also guessing I already know the answer to that question even if I don’t want to admit it).
How did I get here?
I fell in love with a tall, dark, and charming prince who died suddenly and unexpectedly at the ripe age of 49 and left me widowed at the age of 39. I didn’t even get to say goodbye, except for in my dreams. I was swimming (or at least trying to swim and stay afloat, which proved to be a lot harder than it would appear most of the time) in the ocean of grief. Most of the time, I was stuck out in the deep end without a life jacket, drowning and fighting for dear life. When I thought I finally found some bearing and footing in the ocean of grief and able to finally come up for air, my grandmother passed after a very long and excruciating battle with old age. I was unable to feel the magnitude of this pain and loss because I was still coping and struggling with such a larger pain and loss that was swallowing me up. When I finally felt the sand beneath my feet, I thought I finally made it out alive, but only to find out that even though I was in the shallow end of the ocean of grief, I still had to mourn the death of yet another person, your wife. She held your hand and laid down besides you in the hospital bed. I may have walked out of the hospital that day, but she never left your side. She died that same day also, even if I didn’t know it yet (and it’s still something that I’m grappling with on a daily basis). Slowly but surely, I eventually made it to shore and I finally thought to myself, “I’ve made it. I’m a survivor and my journey on this trail of grief is finally over (I mean, how much more can anyone take, right?!).” But, what I didn’t realize is that grief was only the first step on this very long and shitty ass journey. Come to think of it, it’s actually the easiest part of this journey.
I look around, and everything looks and feels exactly the same, but I know nothing will ever be the same again. No matter how hard I try to glue back the broken pieces, there will be some pieces that will never fit back the same way again and other pieces that just won’t fit anymore. Even after all the hard work of trying to put back together all the broken pieces, there’s still the cracks. Although the cracks will fade and become less visible over time, they will never ever go away. They will always be there, a constant reminder of a life broken, shattered, and irreplaceable.
Let me tell you, widowhood tests every part of your being; emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically. It’s not for the faint of heart!! Even when you think you’re done, you quickly realize you’ve barely scratched the surface and there’s still so many more hurdles to overcome, and grief, unfortunately, is only the first step on this journey. And so far, I would have to say, it’s a lot easier than the rebuilding stage (which is the current stage I’m on).
Where am I going next?!
Who eff’in knows where I’m going next!! I think this question has caused so much anxiety in my life that I’ve been running at lightning speed; somehow thinking if I run fast enough, I can outrun widowhood. But, it always catches up to you. Let me tell you, you can never outrun widowhood!! Trust me! I know!! I’ve tried and failed many times already. I know I just have to learn how to sit with it, to be comfortable with it, to accept it. But, who would ever want to be comfortable with widowhood. Let me just say loud and clear, “NOT I!!!”
At the end of the day, what I realize is that I'm writing my story each day I live. It’s uncovering and being written everyday as I continue to fight and survive, to pick up the broken pieces and rebuild, to “move forward” and learn how to “expand my heart.” I can choose to be a victim or a heroine in my story. Whatever I decide, it’s up to me, and only me, and nobody else.
P.S. Happy Birthday Babe!! I love you very much, so much it hurts!!
A grieving widow who is trying to find meaning and purpose from her tragic event.