The last time I revisited these questions I had after you passed was on the 4th of July. I thought it would be fitting to review them again as we are closing out 2018 and just a week or so away from your one year deathversary. Again, I can’t believe it’s almost a year since you passed. Where has the time gone and where am I now? Have I gotten any better or wiser since January 7th, 2018?? I have no clue, but what I do know is that I’m starting to grow more comfortable in in my new skin and widowhood status. I’m slowly starting to find my voice and speak more vocally about grief and the challenges of widowhood on a broader scale. I’m not sure what came over me within the last month or so, but I started to be very active on Facebook. I started posting more about what I was doing, my thoughts on grief and widowhood, stories about us, articles and videos I read and watched that I liked. I couldn’t explain why I had the urge to do any of these things but I just kept doing them since it was what I wanted to do at the time and it felt right even if it was contrary to who I am (posting on social media wasn’t our forte, but I guess I needed to figure out if it wasn’t my forte either or if it was just something you didn’t like and I just respected it and never posted anything about us). As I went back and started analyzing my posts, I realize that these were things that we would have done together or things I would have shared with you via text messages or email. I guess, without realizing it, I was using Facebook as an outlet to substitute what I would have shared with you. I guess, I felt like I needed to give my circle of family and friends (who have been serving as your surrogate) a break from these mundane updates in my life that I would normally share with you. I know nobody would be ever say that I was bothering them with these minutiae updates but sometimes I do feel like I need to find a different outlet for these things, but I’m also positive that Facebook or social media is not the right outlet for them either. So, I guess I will continue to figure this part out...I think this is one of the reasons why I think dating and wanting to find a new partner makes sense in my mind, but at the same time, rationally speaking, I know dating will not solve this need or urge either. Not only because it takes time and years to develop this type of relationship with someone, but also because if and when I decide to start dating again, I have to truly be comfortable with myself, where I am on my grief journey, and I have to truly understand and grasp that this new person is not a surrogate or replacement for you. You can never be replaced, and honestly, I don’t think I will ever stop loving you. How can I, when every fabric of my being is in someway a direct result of loving you? I can’t image a day where you wouldn’t be in my heart, even if I remarried or have a new life partner. What I need to learn how to do is to “expand” my heart (this is what all the widow groups and blogs call it, “expanding” your heart to be able to love and let someone new in your life and heart while also still loving and honoring your deceased spouse). I guess this is another thing to set as a goal but I think the two I already have for 2019 is enough for me to work on without adding this one just yet. I think this part of the journey will have its own challenges and struggles when it comes, so I’m not even going to worry about it until it’s time to think and worry about it. Yes, I’m trying out your philosophy of “Just roll with it!” (Just so we are clear, it used to annoy the hell out of me whenever you told me to “Just roll with it, SY!” You know my control freakish nature could never let anything to chance, but this is the new me and I’m trying out some of your philosophies in life to see if they would work in my “new normal” because the only thing that got me through the first few months after you passed was your voice telling me over and over again like a broken record in my head (of course this isn’t verbatim, just my interpretation of your words), “SY, not everything in life has to be rational and make sense. Sometimes, there are things you can’t control and there are no answers to your questions. You just have to accept there are things in life that just can’t be fixed or controlled or answered.” So, in essence, this is how I’ve gotten this far on my journey, by not asking questions that have no answers and by surrendering control to a higher power called grief and letting it take me wherever it takes me (I know that I’m not always good with surrendering control to grief, but I will always admit when I’m wrong and should have just listened to grief instead of trying to resist or control it! Honestly, I don’t think this will change as it will always be a challenge and struggle for me to let go completely...you know what type of a person I am!! I can never let go of the reins completely...it’s just not in my nature!! And yes, I know this just makes the process harder, but what can I do?! I’m trying!!)
Alright, onwards to reflecting on the questions I asked myself after you passed. The red was from March 25th and the blue is from July 4th. Green will be from today...so let’s go!! Let’s see if I’ve gotten any wiser since you passed.
nothing’s changed here!
Yup, nothing has changed here. You just have to push yourself to keep going even when you don’t want to or aren’t comfortable with it. The only way to survive this journey is to keep pushing your boundaries and living in the “uncomfortable.” It will feel shitty at first and sometimes for a long time, but over time, it becomes comfortable again. You just need a lot of patience, resolve, and resilience.
I will never wake up from this nightmare. This is my life now, my story, whether I like it not. I didn’t have a choice in the matter, but I have choices on how I choose to move forward, continue living, and celebrating our story and your life. I will take it slow and one step at a time. I’m learning to be patient and forgiving of myself, I will fall and I will move backward, but the goal is to always find the warrior inside of me, so I can continue to pick myself up and fight. I’ve also come to learn that strength and vulnerability are intertwined and that’s the beauty of life’s dualities. I have to always remember that “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning how to dance in the rain.”
Nothing has changed from July 4th, except that I believe this more and more. Sometimes, I felt like I said a lot of things that I knew I needed to say but I wasn't sure if I believed I could do them or not. I think now I truly believe that everything I said above from July 4th is possible, even if I don’t have a plan or know how to tackle the issue, I just know I can and will. When it’s time, it will happen and fall into place like its supposed to. I just have to put my faith in fate and trust that what is meant to be will be and be patient and forgiving with myself if things don’t always happen or fall into place in the timeline I set out for myself (I know, I have control issues, you don’t need to remind me!!)
see above comment
I don’t necessarily think the nightmare is over, but I’m not as scared as I used to be. I don’t know if I will ever wake up from this nightmare, but I hope that I will always continue to find ways to keep learning whatever lessons I’m supposed to learn from this experience and to continue finding positive and healing ways to navigate and manage my life, pain, and grief. I hope to never succumb to the void or let the pain and anger consume me. I will never give up fighting for this life we built together, even if it’s just me now. I will continue living for the both of us. I will continue telling our story and living the best life I can. This is the only way I know how to honor your memory and legacy.
Earth 1 doesn’t exist anymore. Earth 2 is my only reality now, and I’m learning how to adjust in this new world. Even though I know that only Earth 2 exist, I can’t help but always look back and yearn for life in Earth 1 again. Even when I’m forging forward and trying to figure who I am and where I want to go in Earth 2, all I really want is you and life in Earth 1 back. Every part of me knows that it’s impossible, but that hasn’t stopped me to still want and yearn for it everyday.
I don’t think of Earth 1 as much anymore. I can honestly say that Earth 1 doesn’t exist anymore and it’s completely impossible to get back to, so I’ve decided to focus my energy on other things that are within my control. But that doesn’t mean I don’t struggle with the thought that Earth 1 doesn’t exist anymore. I struggle with it everyday and with every breath I take. Most of the time, I feel like I’m in some Chinese melodrama watching our life played back in my head on a recurring loop by way of flashbacks. I know from reading posts on the widow support group and blogs that flashbacks are definitely a common side effects of widowhood!! The flashbacks come and go as they please, they never end, they can be very vicious, and they always leave me feeling very sad and depressed. Most of the time, I just close my eyes and fight back the tears because I can’t be having an emotional meltdown while I’m waiting in line to pay for groceries or while I’m sitting at my desk at work. Now, I know why Chinese movies love using flashbacks, they can invoke so much emotion if done right!! Yes, I know I have goals, that at some point these flashbacks will invoke a smile instead of tears. Yes, I know I still have a long way to go towards mastering this goal.
see comment above
I’ve given up on trying to find ways to get back to Earth 1.
There were many things I could have done differently to save you, and I could have pushed you harder, but at the end of the day, I know that you will always be you and there’s nothing I could have done differently that would change your fate. The only person that could have changed your fate was you, and you decided that you knew better than the signs your body was telling you. So, you paid the ultimate price. I can be mad and angry at you (which I think I am in some small way deep down inside), but ultimately it changes nothing but makes me an angry and bitter person. And I rather not be an angry and bitter person, it would just be very unbecoming of me, you know what I mean?!
There’s nothing I could have done differently. If you were meant to live, you would be alive now. After you passed, you don’t know how many times I played the events leading up to your passing over and over again in my head. I would also imagine alternate endings to our story. The one that occured the most was where you wake up in the hospital room with me by your bedside, holding your hand, and you ask me, “What happened? Where am I?!”, you know like the movies!! Ultimately, I’ve decided that this is a question with no answer, so I stopped asking myself this question for awhile now.
See above comment
I can’t know what you were feeling or what was going on in your mind when you were experiencing any of the symptoms, so how could I pick up on any of the signs if you didn’t see them yourself? I can only know what you tell me, and I don’t think you really knew how serious they were. I truly believe that if you knew they could have been deadly, there’s no way you wouldn’t take them seriously. I think you had a logical explanation for all of them, so you rationalize any seriousness away. Do I hate you for doing this, yes a lot time, but as I said earlier, being angry and bitter is very unbecoming. So, I try not to focus or dwell on this anymore. I’ve relegated it to another question without an answer.
This is how our story ends, Babe! I thought I had to write a few more chapters before it really ended and leave our life behind and start a new one by myself, but what I’ve come to realize is that our story ended, but your presence and memory will never die or end in some chapter of my story, you will always and forever be a part of my story and my life. I just need to figure out what that means and looks like as I progressed through the rest of my journey and story. I’m fairly certain our relationship will never end. It will always continue to evolve and forever be a work in progress until the day I die.
Nothing has changed here from July 4th. I’m still struggling to figure what this new life of mine and what it will look like without you in it. I don’t think I know or even figured it out, but I guess I will die trying. I just know that it won’t be easy, and there’s a very high probability that it will be messy and very gray, and it will probably be something that I will struggle with for the rest of my life. I guess I better get really comfortable with living in the “discomfort” and gray areas where life and emotions are messy, entangled, and can’t be organized into neatly labeled boxes. (Yes, Konmari is cringing as I write this!!)
I can’t seem to find the strikeout feature so I can finally strike this comment out.
Oh look, I finally figured out how to strike out that question!! As Peter Kavinsky would say, “Progress!”
The pain will never end or go away. It will always reside in my heart and soul forever. It’s a part of who I am now. It’s a part of me. It’s a part of my journey and my story. The more I’ve come to accept this, the easier it’s become to love myself and be more patient and forgiving with myself. I don’t think I feel empty now, but what I do feel constantly is loneliness. It’s hard to go from having a life partner to share your entire life and world with to having nobody. Just wanting to go watch a movie or have someone to hang out with or do something with requires thought and work now. It’s not as simple as, “Hey Babe, let’s go do the movies!!” or “Hey Babe, do you want to go try that new restaurant that just opened up down the street?”
Yup, nothing has changed here and I’ve concluded that widowhood sucks big time (just in case you didn’t get the memo, I wanted to make sure we’re on the same page!!) I guess I’ve gotten to point where I don’t expect the pain to ever go away. It will always be something that I will carry inside of me forever. I think if anything, the pain is even sharper and more pronounced now that my eyes are wide open. Without the insulation from the fog of denial and numbness, I can feel the rawness and depth of the pain and grief at a level that I didn’t know I was capable of feeling. But, instead of feeling sad and empty, I feel bolder and more alive. I’m starting to learn that if I want to survive this experience, I really have to let go and surrender myself fully and completely to grief. I cannot control it or put a timetable on it. I have to kneel down before it and call grief my master. I also have to promise to not resist or question it. (Yes, I know I problems with with authority and someone trying to tell me what I should and should not do, that’s why this part is so hard and challenging for me!! I struggle with it every minute and second of the day.)
I read somewhere that grief is just another form of love. It’s a way to keep the love between two people alive when one passes. It’s all the love you want to give but cannot, so it forms into a well at the corner of your eyes because it has no place to go. I also read an article by a lady who was diagnosed with terminal cancer that writes, “Grief is a genesis, not a finale. It gives life.” She concluded that fear closes your heart, while grief keeps your heart open, if you can turn towards it and confront it because grief’s sole purpose is to keep love alive. I guess there are many different interpretations of grief. For me, it’s good to know that there’s more to grief than just pain and sadness. I will continue exploring my grief journey, and hopefully one day it will manifest itself beyond pain and sadness to life and an extension of love where the memory of you will bring a smile to my face instead of tears.
Empty - not really anymore
Numb - not really anymore
But I do feel lonely most of the time now, even when I’m in a room full of people or doing things with family and friends. What I miss is the connection we had, the laughs we shared, the looks we would give each other that require no words but we knew exactly what they means. But, nowadays, I just feel incomplete, like I’ve left a piece of my heart and soul somewhere, and I can’t seem to find it anywhere. Even without saying a word, we knew what the other person was thinking. We used to say to each other, “I know you better than you know yourself.” And the more I think about it, the more I realize how true that is. Now, when I think about having to start all over again to build what he had with someone else, it just seems so daunting.
I don’t feel empty or numbness anymore. Loneliness, I still feel but on a different level. I think the loneliness I left earlier was a yearning and desire to fill the void I felt in my heart as quickly as possible. The void is still there but now I know it’s not about filling the void as quickly as possible, it’s about living with the void until I can feel comfortable in my own skin and widowhood status. The void will never be filled if I don’t take care of those two things first.
Happy to announce I don’t feel this way anymore. I think the feeling is still there though, but it’s less pronounced and manifests as a skip in my heartbeat.
My heart still skips a beat whenever it hits me that you are no longer living on earth anymore, but the episodes aren’t as strong or as frequent as before. But it still happens, and it’s still very hard for me to grasp that you aren’t here anymore (even though I know this to be true in my mind and heart).
this is still ¯\_(ツ)_/. I know I’m in the ‘I’m not okay and that’s okay’ phase of this journey. I’ve also come to realize that ‘okay’ may mean something very different to me now than what it did before. I may never be okay like before, but that doesn’t mean I’m not okay. It just means my ‘I’m okay’ now looks different than before. I may not know what “I’m okay” in this new world order looks like yet, but I will die trying to figure it out.
I think I’m doing better but not sure if “I’m okay” yet. I think I’m still trying to figure out what “okay” will look like in this “new normal” I’m in. But, I think I’m closer to figuring it out than before. At least I’ve come up with two things that can be used as gauges and barometers to measure against. As Peter Kavinsky would say, “Progress!!”
Nothing’s changed here
Nothing’s changed here
I don’t think I’m going to die soon, but I still do miss you and want to see you again. But at least now that I’ve finished my estate planning, I at least know my affairs are in order and I don’t have that feeling like there are loose ends to tie.
I’m not waiting to die, but I’m still glad I finished my estate planning. I’ve decided that the only way to honor your memory and legacy is to keep living fully this beautiful life we created and built together. I will try very hard to let go, not resist, not ask questions that don’t have answers, to keep my heart and mind open to whatever comes my way, and most importantly, I will “Just roll with it!”
I will never know the answer to this question. I just have to keep living each day to the fullest and be open to whatever the universe has in store for me.
Again, a question without an answer.
Well, except for Samy, I’m making it work with the fur babies! Although they are going ‘rogue’ as you would like to call it! Hey, something’s gotta give and discipline is it when you’re a single parent of five needy, high maintenance fur babies!!!
I’m making it work, and the animals are still going “rogue.” (Yes, my definition of “making it work” means outsourcing some of the responsibilities to others!! Hey, it is what it is - no judgement needed from you! Yes, it’s like when I say I did the dishes, what it really means is that I loaded the dishwasher, which is still doing the dishes babe!)
With a lot of help and support is the only way I can manage this house (and my life) right now!
Well, I’m doing the best I can, even though widow brain gets the best of me sometimes. We do have a serious plumbing issue that needs to be resolved within the next year so, but that’s a story for another time.
Nothing’s changed here
Well, one thing I know for sure is that I’m not ready to sell the house, despite what anyone thinks or say. It’s the one thing I can say with confidence right now.
Nothing’s changed here
For now, I want to keep the house. I don’t want to sell or move. I love living in our home, even though I really need to figure out what to do with your stuff and whether I can live with a roommate or not.
I’m more comfortable in the house now and getting used to being alone and it always being quiet. Your stuff is still here, I haven’t really done much but organized the utility room with all your tools and stuff. I tell myself I’m almost already to start going through your things, but whenever I think about it, I just lose all willpower and desire, so everything is as it was before you passed.
I can definitely say I can live at the house alone. If anything, I’m getting more and more comfortable with living alone, which makes it even harder to contemplate having a roommate.
I’m not ready for a roommate is what I’ve come to realize unless it’s somebody I know I can get along with and live in harmony with.
I think I want a roommate to help share in the expenses, since it’s a massive mortgage and property tax. I feel like I’m just throwing away money by living here by myself and not having a roommate to share in the expenses. I know, the rational and pragmatic SY is back!
Nothing’s changed here
Who knows?! This isn’t a question that doesn’t have an answer, but it’s a question that lacks sufficient data points to justify one way or the other. So, I guess I will only know when I know, and hopefully, it won’t be a roommate from hell type of situation.
Work is my only solace right now. It’s the only place where I feel like everything is the same and nothing has changed (maybe the only thing that has changed is me at work, but other than that, it’s business as usual!)
Nothing has changed here but I’ve started to notice that work can get to me from time to time now that I’m in a better mental state!! Before, I was happy to go back to work, but now i’m like UGH! At least I have the women’s group to keep work balanced and worth going to. (Oh, did I ever tell you?! I co-lead the women’s group at work?!)
Nothing’s changed here
Nothing’s changed here
I have to start casting a wider net of people to start looking after the animals when I travel for work or pleasure! I still need to travel for work, and of course all the soul-searching spiritual journeys I want to go on, so I better starting making some new friends that can help out with the babies! I’ve even asked my dad to come up here and take care of them for an upcoming trip. You know I’m desperate if I’m asking my dad to come look after the babies! He might burn the house down or kill one of the animals!!
I’ve found a very reliable and affordable pet sitter whose given me the freedom to roam the world for work and quests for self-discovery and self-exploration.
This hasn’t even crossed my mind. But some days, I do feel like selling everything and just roaming the planet like a nomad though!! At times, I feel so confined and constricted with life and ‘adulting.’ Why bother doing any of it when we all end up in the same place anyways. Why do we subject ourselves to this rat race?! What is it all for?! We can’t take anything with us when we die!!
I honestly believe that if I didn’t have the animals, I would have sold everything, become nomad, and roam the world in search of the meaning of life! Damn the animals, they are always holding me back!!
The answer to this is still I hope I will figure something out sooner than later. As for right now, it’s later!!
Well, this is still something I need to figure out, although some of your stuff have already been given away to family and friends. But I’ve yet to really get rid of anything. I don’t know why I’m lagging, but it’s definitely not high on my priority list, even though it’s something I think about all the time. I even brought moving boxes from work to put your stuff in. It’s not like I don’t think about it, because I do. I just haven’t done anything about it. **SIGH** #widowhoodstruggles
I can breathe now, and I continue to forge forward even on days when moving forward seems futile. I’ve come to realize there are two types of widows(ers) in the world (after reading more and more articles on widowhood), those who get consumed by the void or those who continue to embrace life and take it by the horns. I’m striving to be the latter, even on days when I can’t. I just think about you and how you would never ever want me to get stuck in the void. You love me too much to want that for me and I love you too much to not keep living for the both of us.
I can breathe, even on days where I don’t want to. But nothing has changed here. I just keep getting up everyday and putting one foot in front of the other and hope there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. This is all I can do. I will not give up. I will continue to honor your memory and legacy by living the best life I can.
My happiness and joy currently comes in the form of connecting with you through the blog and journaling, sharing our story and keeping your memory alive, and continuing to fulfill the plans we made together.
I think I’m still trying to figure out what happiness and joy will look like without you.
see comment above
Who knows? This is still ¯\_(ツ)_/
This has definitely been hard. There are times where I feel like I can do it and then there are other times where I’m just overtaken by grief. All I can do is continue to put one foot in front of the other. Baby steps until I can walk and run again.
Nothing has changed here. It’s still very hard, and I continue to put one foot in front of the other. The best way to describe widowhood is like learning how to walk again. I need to crawl and find my balance before I can walk again. I think I’m in the trying to find my balance before I can walk again stage. It’s like I have to re-learn everything in order to live a life without you. Most of the time, I don’t even know who I am anymore. I struggle with my identity and what type of future I want for myself. Everything I know and have planned has you in it. I didn’t have a contingency plan for what if you died at 49 and I’m a widow at 39. So, I guess I’m trying to figure out my contingency plan as I’m living it.
Nothing’s changed here
Nothing’s changed here
Nothing’s changed here
I’ve been thinking a lot about what to do with your ashes. I’ve alway thought I would just keep it but now I’m not sure I want to keep it anymore. I’m not connected to your urn in any way. I barely even look at it or even realize it’s there. I’ve been thinking about reaching out to your parents to see how they felt about spreading your ashes somewhere. Where?! I have no clue since you never told me what to do with your ashes. I guess it’s just like you - you never think far enough to put in place a plan to make my life easier!!
Nothing’s changed here
Nothing’s changed here
I think the answer to this is yes, but when I’m ready and when it feels right! I’ve started thinking about this more and more by reading articles on dating as a widow and what it’s like to be dating in your 40’s. Some of the stories and experiences being shared are funny and hopeful, while others make it seem like I’m doomed before I start!! One widow relates her re-entry to the dating scene to a NASA spaceship re-entering earth. Some live to tell about it while others crash and burn!! Daunting, right?!
I still think the answer to this question is yes, but no clue as to when I will start. I feel like mentally and abstractly, I’m ready to start dating but emotionally, I’m probably not even close to being ready. But, what I do know is that I will never know until I try and with everything else on this journey, sometimes I have to push myself into the discomfort zone before it can become comfortable. But, for now, I will continue relishing in the comfort zone since this isn’t something I want to rush, especially since it will involve another person, I should tread lightly and get comfortable in my own skin first.
Someone asked me the other day if I was ready to start dating. I said abstractly and mentally I think I’m ready and I won’t know until I try. But really, I don’t even know how or where to start. I only know how to be someone’s wife and life partner. I know how to share my life with someone. I know what love looks and feels like. I what it takes to have a healthy and meaningful relationship. But, I have no clue what casually dating looks or feels like. So, before I can even fathom dating, I need a mental shift in my perspectives on relationships from being someone’s wife and sharing a life with someone to casual dating. I don’t even know what would go on a list of examples of what casual dating looks like. Gosh, I have a lot to learn and worry about!!
I think this is one of those questions that requires a lot of balance and more experience before I can even begin to answer. But, it all goes back to the idea of “expanding” your heart to include a new love while also loving your deceased spouse. I think this is one of those questions that only experience and time can answer, there’s no amount of soul searching I can do to figure this one out!!
A grieving widow who is trying to find meaning and purpose from her tragic event.