This new version of life.
This life that exists in the now.
The one where my husband,
is no longer my husband,
Because he is dead.
And you can't be married
to a dead person.
You might still FEEL married,
like I did,
for almost 4 years,
after his death.
You might feel as if even looking
at another man
and it feels wrong
and you feel like a terrible wife,
like I did.
I have a lot going on these days. In the past year, things have speeded up for me. I am working on a new career, and further schooling to that end started this week, as the first course is ending. Working another job in the meantime. And looking at the inevitable change that will come when the house goes.
Amidst all of that are the quiet moments. Sitting on my lanai, doing all kinds of work on my iPad, suddenly it will come over me.
He’s not here.
I don't really have any words this week.
I miss my husband more than any words can convey.
I am 36 years old. Soon to be 37. Although I’ve held the titles of Marine (6 years), Lifeguard (3 years), Father (10 years), Widower (3 years), Husband (9 years), Boyfriend (9 years, cumulatively), and Student (13 years...I never went to college), the title that has been with me the longest, up to this day, is “Employee” (21 years).
I have been employed since I was 15 years old. I started as a lifeguard in high school, then on to the Marine Corps. After that, I worked retail for a few months, and as an iron pourer in a foundry for the better part of a year before finally landing a job in IT...my “career” field.
The longest stretch of time I’ve had “off” since I was 15 years old was 10 days.
Summer is winding down and I have no idea where the time went. And when I say I have no idea, I mean it both figuratively and literally. Figuratively, because the time has flown by as it always does, and literally because I cannot remember what I did for the last two months. Honestly. I feel like my brain doesn’t work anymore at all. Is this to be a life long by product of Ben’s death?
Ben’s gone forever. Did he have to take my brain with him?Read more
I think one of the hardest things about losing people we love, is that in a way, we lose a part of our own history when they die. Or at least, we lose one of our living, breathing connections to that history. Without those connections to the history of ourselves, I’m learning it can be easy to get lost. I think this has been especially hard because both of my parents are gone along with Drew. I simply do not have a wealth of people in my life that I'm in touch with often who remember all the many moments of my history with me.
There are pieces of me that I wish so badly to reconnect to - parts of myself I’ve struggled to nurture in this new environment because of stress, busyness, my own self-critical nature… who knows what exactly. Parts of me that I think I was beginning to finally nurture a few years ago, but the upheaval of moving I guess interrupted that more than I could have known it would.
They are pieces of me I wish for Mike to know also. Sometimes it feels like all he has known is this person who is constantly battling overwhelm, feeling homesick, trying to make order out of everything, while periodically having complete meltdowns about her inability to cope pretty much all adulting. I’m certain he would disagree of course, but quite honestly I don’t always feel like he is getting to have the best version of me, at least not right now. I know there is so much more in there. I know because I remember her.
For a while now, I think I’ve believed that losing my parents, my fiance, and proximity to my friends and family and the culture of my state back home meant I lost me too. No doubt, it's left me questioning... without any of that around me to help define me anymore… who am I supposed to be now?Read more
It’s one of those days where my thoughts are everywhere, nowhere, and make no sense.
Just a jumble of strange randomness. The kind of thoughts where you can’t sleep, because you can’t stop thinking. But you don’t really know what on earth you are thinking about.
Everything and nothing. That’s what I’m thinking about.Read more
Do you want to know the best thing that happened to me since my husband died?
Meeting other widows.
When I realized I was a widow…the day he died…it floored me. It felt unreal. Surreal.
I was planning, this morning, to write about the total solar eclipse that Sarah, Shelby and I witnessed just a week ago. As we sat on the banks of the Oconoluftee River in North Carolina, at the foot of the Smoky Mountains and watched the sun disappear, I was speechless, awed, and felt transcendent.
That was the plan, at least. We had a family vacation to those mountains, topped off by the eclipse, and I was sure it would still be at the forefront of my mind when I sat down to write.
But it’s not. The memories and pure joy at what I witnessed are still present, certainly, but a little rain storm has consumed my heart and thoughts since last week.
Two years ago on August 31, 2015, Ben wrote these words on our personal blog ...
"My visits to the BC Cancer Agency only serve to re-enforce my suspicions that by this time next year I’ll be nothing but a memory to everyone. A fond one perhaps, but only a memory. Don’t get me wrong, the people at the BCCA are very kind and helpful but they still leave me with the feeling that I’m going to die. And because of that, I haven’t been feeling very upbeat and positive."
Ben was right. By August 31st 2016 he was exactly that .... a fond memory.
(Insert long ugly cry here.)