When my husband and I were 'new', and so full of love for each other, he would caution me that this aspect of our relationship, the euphoria and the intensity, would change. "It won't always feel like this," he would say. Extremist that I am, my heart opened and softened by his attentiveness, I did not believe it for a moment. I had found, finally, the love of my life, I thought, and the boundless love I felt for him would remain, and express itself, always, in exactly this way.
But, as with so many things, Stan was right. Our relationship shifted. We became more comfortable with each other, and able to focus on other parts of our lives. We grew to understand each other's rhythms and ways. We learned each other's triggers and soft spots. We shared past and present joys and sorrows. We learned how to live life, not gazing, constantly, into each other's eyes, but hand in hand, and facing the world. Together. Our relationship changed. It deepened. It grew, and developed, and got better, with the passage of time.
We didn't have enough time together. Only three and a half years. I so wanted to grow old with him by my side, to enrich our relationship as we aged. As the first anniversary of his death nears, I grieve, not only for him, but for us, and for all that we could have been.Read more
My goal is to live as simply as possible. To own things that do not own me. To give things to our kids now so that they don't need to wonder about what to do with these things of mine when I'm dead.
Much of this is an easy process for me, since Chuck and I sold most of our belongings when we hit the road in 2009. Since his death, I've either donated or given his things to our kids and kept only a few items of clothing and mementos. And by few I mean maybe 5.
Our older son got married recently and I gave him and his now wife my and Chuck's wedding rings. Its' beautiful to see Chuck's ring on our eldest son's hand and I know Chuck would smile too. It is part of his legacy of love.
For two years and nine months now... I have had one of those weird widow "things" that I have done. Or really that I haven't done. For all of these days, weeks, months, and years... I have not cleaned the bathroom mirror. Not once. The reason for this is simple, and anyone widowed will likely understand. When I shower every morning, I get out and look up at the fogged glass of that mirror... and across it are the faint streaks of a hand that once wiped it clean. A hand much bigger than mine.
For two years and nine months, I have been comforted by this... every time the mirror fogs up, there he appears again. For that moment, I can still believe that my fiancé is somehow right around the corner. I can believe that he is nearby even though I can't see him - just like his handprint on the mirror has been there all along, even when I can't see it. It has been a daily reminder to believe his love and his spirit still exist despite his body not being here anymore.
Before my mum and step-dad passed in 2008, they would often have discussions about the stuff in their farmhouse and outbuildings.
My mum would always say "we need to consolidate", to which my step-dad would reply "you mean throw out". Yep, that's exactly what she meant. But he just couldn't do it, so it never happened and it was left to my sister and I to sort through. The amount we've subsequently held on to is still considerable. So I had all this hanging over me when Ian died, and 15 months later, his mother died.
I have been here in England for almost a week, having left my ‘home’, in Indiana, where I grew up, on Tuesday night. Slowly, I am settling back into this space that Stan and I shared.
I love this place, this century old cottage, with its wood floors and cabinets, its quirky, misshapen rooms, perched at the top of a hill, just a few feet from the countryside paths that I walk, most days. It is small, as most homes are, in England, but it was enough for the two of us.
I remember the first time I came here, shortly after I met him. I was so impressed by the beauty of it—the stone fireplace, the artwork he had chosen to adorn his walls, the overgrown garden in the back.Read more
We all arrive at that time after our loved one dies where we look around and see what remains. What remains of a person who filled our lives in one way or another or so completely that we look at their physical belongings and are struck with disbelief that this is it. The sum of their existence.
My husband and I specialized in not being attached to external things. In 2009 we sold our home in Jersey and most of our belongings. A few special things we put in storage while we figured out what direction our lives would take us. And then we decided to stay on the road, adventuring, and we donated more and more of what was in storage.
After Chuck died, I spent a day going through that storage unit. I held his clothes against my heart, inhaling, striving to find some remaining scent of the man who impacted my life so hugely. His scent was gone, of course, and, one by one, I placed his clothes in a bag for donation. Piece by piece, memory by memory. It wasn't easy, but with each article I thought well, if he were here, he'd want me to donate these rather than keep them in a storage unit. So I took a deep breath and gave them away.
Today I changed my relationship status on Facebook from "married" to "widowed". I have been staring at that line on the page for many long months now. For whatever strange reason, it has given me great comfort to see it posted this way. Facebook may be a silly, meaningless network in many respects, but that status was still not something I could give up easily. In my heart, I have felt married to him still, and perhaps in a way, I will always feel married to him; he will always be with me. Giving up that label just seemed so...final. But I realize in this bizarro world of social media that maybe it had become appropriate to make this change. No matter where my life may take me now, I am in fact widowed. That is the simple, heart-breaking truth.
I'm not married anymore, and it was no choice of mine.Read more