Did you know that being a widow requires a lot of “active” work and self-reflection?! You really need to work at it – like a lot of hard work!! It’s like taking care of a garden!! You have to water it (but not just any amount of water – if you’re not careful, over- or underwatering will cause the plants to die), then you have to constantly pull out the weeds, fight off parasites from eating the plants, fertilize, and don’t forget all the pruning and landscaping you need to do to if you want the garden to grow and flourish into a beautiful and lush garden. Now, I remember why plants never survived under my care – even drought resistant plants like succulents and air plants die on my watch!!! 🤣😂
You were always the gardener in our relationship. You had the patience and temperament to do all the work necessary to keep the garden and yard alive. You actually like gardening and tending to our yard. You said it was your stress reliver and you enjoyed watching all your hard work come to fruition. Honestly, I always thought you were crazy sweating bullets outside in the heat mowing the lawn, pulling weeds, and laying down fertilizer. You always tried to get me to help you and I always refused (You know, I’m just not built for physical labor). But, on a few very rare occasions when I helped, you would usually make me stop after 15 minutes since I was always in your way, doing things wrong, or getting hurt since I refused to wear tennis shoes or gardening gloves (yes, I’m definitely a flip flop year-round and get her hands dirty kinda girl!!). You also had a really hard time letting go of dead plants. You always got mad at me when I threw away the dead plants. You’d pick the dead plant out of the trash can and say you’re going to revive it and bring it back to life – your motto was “There isn’t anything that Miracle Grow couldn’t revive.”
Maybe that’s why I really suck at being a widow!! 🤣😂 There are days, where I just don’t want to put in the work. Honestly, I’m definitely sure I’m not the only widow in the world who thinks this way. I mean, who in their right mind would want to put in the hard work at being a GOOD widow?! Most widows just wished they weren’t widows, but if they had to be a widow, they would much prefer to be a BAD widow who acts out and throws a tantrum like 5-year-old at the store when they don’t get what they want!! Now that I’m thinking about it, being a widow is actually a lot harder and requires more work than being married. Why?! Because, when you’re married, you at least have someone else to pass the blame to when things aren’t going right in the relationship. When you’re a widow, there’s no one else to blame but yourself when things aren’t going right!! 🤣😂 (Yup, there’s really no upside to being a widow!!)
After you passed, I tried really hard to always focus on the silver lining and all the things I still had and was thankful for in my life. In retrospect, this was partly a survival mechanism for me. I didn’t think I would be able to dig myself out of the deep hole I would be in if I allowed myself to fully look at my life and focus on all the things I’ve lost after you passed. All the broken promises and unfulfilled plans. Everything I know to be true and real about me and my life. Your smile, your kind eyes, your beer belly 🤣😂, your boisterous laughter, your jokes and silly ways, your scent, and all the hugs and kisses I no longer get to see, touch, feel, smell, or hear. I literally woke up one day, and without any warning or explanation, you disappeared into thin air. I didn’t even get a chance to say good bye or even try to save you. At times, it feels like you never even existed, and I just made you up in my mind, like you were just a figment of my imagination.
So, in order to survive and self-preserve, I always kept my feelings and emotions in check and at bay. I was so scared that if I let myself go there – I would never be able to come out alive. I would be stuck in a very deep and dark hole with no way out. But, over the last few months, all I can do is look at everything that is missing, changed, or different in my life since you passed. But, when I look back and reflect on my life after you passed, it’s not like I’m looking at it from a first-person perspective. Instead, it’s more like I’m watching a very long 100-episode melodramatic K-drama (my new pandemic addiction😊). Most of the time, it doesn’t even feel like it’s my life that I’m watching. (And, because it’s 100 episodes, a lot of breaks are needed to stay engaged in the story line. 🤣). Instead, it often feels like I’m a bystander on the sidelines watching a stranger’s life unfold before my eyes, and I can’t help but stare and gawk at the roadkill that is the main character’s life. I can’t help but cry and feel sorry for her when I think about how sad, lonely, and painful her life has become. How she is constantly forced to keep giving up and letting go of everything that she loves, knows, and is familiar with about herself and her life. How there’s still a never-ending war that is constantly raging on inside of her. How, even after years, she can’t believe how far she’s come and all the things she’s, for lack of a better word, “accomplished,” yet how she still struggles at times like it was the first day her husband passed. That each day she lives, she is constantly forced to keep fighting to just survive another day, but all the world sees is her smile and a seemingly “well-adjusted” widow who somewhat seems to have her “shit together” despite her trauma, loss, and grief.
Gosh, who knew I was this good at “faking it until I make it!” 🤣😂
P.S. Don’t worry, I thought I was going through some sort of dissociative identity disorder also, but my therapist says this “dissociative” experience I’m going through right now is normal for someone who’s experienced a traumatic grief and loss like myself. We’re not quite ready to “own” and “accept” our traumatic experience yet, but we’re no longer afraid to look at its “realness” or feel the “rawness” of the emotions but from a very safe distance. I guess the “dissociative” part of the experience helps to ensure one doesn’t fall into a very deep and dark ditch when looking back at one’s traumatic experience since it feels like you’re watching someone else’s life and not your own. Who knew?! 🤷🏻♀️ 🤷🏻♀️ 🤷🏻♀️
A grieving widow who is trying to find meaning and purpose from her tragic event.