Today is 19 months and one week since Mike died.
How long am I going to count like this? Forever? Is this just the widowed way to measure time? I seem unable to think about it any other way, and I have yet to hear any other widow's experience being any different. So many of my conversations these days start with either when Mike was alive... or since Mike died... I guess there's a third one too: before I met Mike... Is it like being in some treatment program where people say it's been thus-and-so long since my last drink...?
No matter what other things I have in my life now, everything still relates back to him, my marriage, the life we shared and the life I find myself in now, without him. It all still revolves around my lost life, like there was a before, and now an after. If I were to start my own calendar, the day Mike died would be day zero, and I would now be in the eighth month of year two. I sometimes have to stop and think that we are actually in the year 2014, headed for 2015; time flies by and we get older and we do sometimes even forget how old we are, for a moment, now and then. But how long Mike has been gone? Always right there in the front of my brain. Like there is a clock now etched on my forehead, counting from a moment that Sunday morning February before last when I found him. The moment everything changed for me forever.
Most of the people around me are probably not aware of exactly how much time has gone by. Of course a few people are - his daughters, and a few other family and friends who were very close to him. But most people have long since gone back to their own lives, perhaps counting time in ways that are meaningful to their own experiences.
But for me, the life I knew died when he died, and the days, weeks and months I've been here since then are part of a brand new life. A shockingly strange, new reality that I must forge without the person I thought would be by my side for many more years. It's like living in another world; maybe, another dimension of time. When he died, reality seemed to fork off somehow. I can't figure any way else to explain the feeling. I sometimes wonder if there is another time line in which he didn't die that day, and we are still together...
I consider myself fortunate that I can say though, now, it's not all been horrible...I do have much to be grateful for, I know, and I am working hard to envision what this future will become for me. But it's not easy. Some days are pure torture. And the tears still come. But others have been, especially as this calendar continues to stretch forth, surprisingly ok too.
Either way, I carry him with me. The missing him, and for now anyway, the counting of the days doesn't seem like it will ever end.