I remember talking to Michele about 4 and a half years ago about a widow she had met. The woman in question had been a widow for 5 years and she was in a MUCH different place than we were (we were at about 6 months). I very distinctly remember saying I couldn't imagine surviving this horrible life for 5 years. I remember thinking in my head that there was no way I'd be in a better place - EVER. I was certain I would feel hellish, wrung out, unbearably sad and subject to fits of rage (at the world in general) for years. Pan forward 4 and a half years, and I have the opportunity to assess my progress.
In part, I was right. I did, and do feel all of those things sometimes still. The good news is that it isn't all day every day. I remember realizing, with relief and also a terrible sadness, that I was beginning to feel better the majority of the time, and only terrible sometimes. It felt great, but it also felt awful. How could I feel better? He's dead. My brain sometimes told me I was a terrible wife. I shouldn't be capable of happy laughter or quiet contentment....I should be roasting forever over the pyre of grief. I should be miserable for eternity - only that misery would truly honor my husband. Only the daily, repeated, physical evidence of my agony would truly show the world what a great husband he was, and how much he was missed.
Fortunately for me, my heart intervened. My heart told me that the only way to truly honor him was to live a life he would have loved for me and Grayson. My heart kept telling me that he meant it when he said he hoped I could find a way to be happy. My head finally started hearing his words "if you're not having a good time, it's your own damned fault." Finally my heart prevailed and my head believed it.
It's funny to be in the place of the 5 year widow now. It's still unthinkable that it has been 5 years, and I do have the terrible days. What ISN'T unthinkable is that I can have a happy life. I can, and I will. If I'm not having a good time, it's my own damned fault.