Whether I knew it or not (or should I say, whether I was willing to admit it or not), I was going through a very traumatic experience after you died. There were many times where my therapist had to remind me, “You’re a victim.” My mind refused to believe I was a victim, so it was very hard to grasp or even process the words, “You’re a victim.” But, as I look back now, I realize that I was a victim, or should I say, I’m a victim of this traumatic experience. Each day after you passed so unexpectedly and tragically, I’ve been struggling to survive. I have to constantly remind myself I’m a survivor!! Even if there are days where I still struggle, I realize that I’m still surviving and making the best and most of the life I have. I know this is the only way you would want and wish for me to live without you.
Shortly after you passed, I felt like I was drowning and drifting endlessly in the tempestuous ocean of grief without an anchor to hold me down, so I was always floundering and wasn’t able to find my bearings. If I wasn’t drowning or drifting endlessly in the tempestuous ocean of grief, I was stuck in a very deep and dark ditch with no way out or trapped in quicksand that was quickly pulling me in and swallowing me alive. Everyday felt surreal, futile, and desolate. I felt uncomfortable in my own skin, and I suffered from PTSD for a long time after you passed. My mind kept replaying over and over again in a continuous loop different parts of the day you died and the aftermath. Most mornings, I woke up gasping for air and in a state of panic and confusion. I was stuck in a cloud so thick that I couldn’t even discern what was real or what was a dream. As I was going through the daily monotonous routine of life, I felt like I was trapped in an alternate universe of a really bad sci-fi movie. Looking at all of our things and personal belongings, there was nothing amiss, everything looked the same, as if nothing happened and you were just on a very far and extended business trip and forgot to pack your bags. Although everything and everybody around me was the same and familiar, they also felt eerily strange and unfamiliar. When I look at the mirror, the person staring back at me looked just like me but she wasn’t me. She was a stranger – someone who looked just like me, but wasn’t me. I always wondered when I would wake up from this nightmare and return to the universe where everything was right. You don’t know how long, hard, and often I willed for that day to come or how much my heart aches now when I realize it will never come. I didn’t think I could exist in a world where you didn’t exist. Even breathing was hard after you died, and I was scared of everything. The thought of leaving the house gave me extreme anxiety. My world became so small and everybody felt like a stranger to me, even though I’ve known them for a long time. I was paralyzed, stuck in time, unable and fearful of taking even one step without you. Each morning I woke up, I always thought that dying was better than the immense pain and grief I was feeling and experiencing. If I couldn’t die, then I wanted the world to feel the pain and grief I was feeling. Every day, I wanted to scream and shout at the top of my lungs and punch and throw things. I also wanted the world to stop like how my world stopped. If the world couldn’t stop, I wished it would all burn down to ashes. Yes, these were all the things I wished and hoped for after you passed, but none of them came true. I didn’t die. I didn’t scream or shout at the top of lungs. I didn’t punch or throw things. The world didn’t stop or burn down. Everything was the same. Nothing changed. The world and everything and everybody in it, kept moving as usual, as if nothing happened while my world crashed and burned and my life was turned upside. I was standing still, paralyzed, scared, and trapped in this alternate universe that neither make sense nor felt real or right even though everything and everybody was exactly the same. I spent countless hours plotting my great escape from this horrendous alternate universe I was trapped in while pondering, “How could everything around me be exactly the same when nothing will ever be the same again?!”
After living in this alternate universe for the last three and half years, I was reminded last week that somehow, without realizing it or even believing it could ever happen, this alternate universe has become somewhat “normal” and commonplace to me now. I’ve learned to adapt and adjust to this new universe – even if it’s not where I want to be and it always feels like a terrible consolation prize – I’ve somehow found the strength, courage, and resilience to breathe again, take a step forward, and slowly reintegrate myself into this unfamiliar yet very familiar universe. There are days where I can’t even believe I’ve made it this far without you. There are even moments where I can’t distinguish whether our life together was real or not. Somehow, during these moments, our life feels like a complete fantasy, a figment of my imagination, a made-up story I conjured in my mind. There are even moments, when I see a photo of you and it feels like I’m looking at a stranger, someone I’m meeting for the first time. You look so unfamiliar and out of reach. Then, there are days, even years later, where I’m transported back to the first few days and weeks after you died and all the anguish and painful emotions come flooding back and wipes me out like a tsunami, and my heart aches to a point of no return and my yearning for you becomes so unbearable, debilitating, and paralyzing. On days like this, I can’t help but feel like there’s still so much left undone and unfinished between us. There are still so many more words, feelings, emotions, moments, and memories to be shared between us. I have all these unfinished feelings and emotions with no place to go, so over time, they collect and well up in my heart and sorrowfully overflows and culminates into an unbearable heartache and yearning.
I don’t know if alternate universes actually exists or not, but if they do, I hope there’s an alternate universe out there somewhere where you and I exist as husband and wife, and we have the opportunity to continue writing our story where we grow old and live to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary together.
Happy Birthday Babe! I love you so much!!
10/9/2022 07:57:26 am
Guess out sing whatever let serious school.
10/28/2022 01:17:51 pm
Happen effort near happen yet myself.
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A grieving widow who is trying to find meaning and purpose from her tragic event.