When Megan died, i went into full sensory deprivation mode. I could no longer see her face, hear her voice, taste her lips, smell her body wash, or touch her skin. When suddenly, all five of my senses were deprived of their primary stimulant, I became numb. I would venture to say that this is the case for most widows and widowers.
Largely, I believe this explains the “fog” that so many of us have and are experiencing. We become lethargic, depressed, stressed, absent-minded, and unaware of our own surroundings. Place anyone in an isolation chamber, widowed or not, and eventually, a similar fog will creep in.
These senses are independent of each other, and each of them are 20% of a whole experience. When all I wished for was to talk to Megan and hear her voice, I honestly would have been just as happy to see her smile or feel her hug. But it’s never enough. I could sit and fantasize about her returning to visit from the other side, all the while knowing that whether she was here for 5 minutes, 5 days, or 5 years, it would never have been enough time or sensory stimulation.
Thursday, August 6th, would have been Megan and I’s 10th wedding anniversary. A full decade. When I sit quietly to reflect on this, I suppose it would be a fitting end to the gauntlet I’ve been running the past few weeks. After a few months of relatively no significant milestones; her birthday, a trip to Myrtle Beach to spread her ashes, and the date her brother passed, ten years ago, all occurred in the span of 8 days. 4 days after his death, Megan and I were married. Our wedding was in the same church that his funeral was occurring in, two days later.
I’m finding however, that our anniversary is something that I alone have to work through. Yes, our parents and Shelby obviously celebrated it, but not to the emotional level that we did. This was a day for us. Chances are, we would have one of the grandparents watch Shelby, and her and I would have went out for a nice date, just the two of us.
That, frankly, is no longer possible.
Any other day, I would have opened my eyes at 6:00 A.M., sleepily rubbed my eyes, and shifted my way to the edge of the bed. I would have woken Shelby up, as always, and gone about the mindless morning routine of feeding the dogs, making coffee, watching the news, and determining what clothes I would be wearing to work.
Today isn’t any other day.
I’ve noted a shift in my overall attitude since Megan’s death. I was somewhat of a pessimist in years past; always finding the bad news in any nugget of information that may have come my way. Perhaps it was the shock of losing my wife that finally changed my outlook in everyday life. I now take events or news with a different eye, one where I step back, and try to find the silver lining in anything. It has made me a happier person overall, and it serves to suppress the stress of living in a way I had never thought possible. While at first, this philosophy was a conscious effort, I’ve found that it has become habit, to where I no longer need to force myself to find a silver lining.
I’ve reached somewhat of an odd stage in my journey over the past few weeks. I’m having some significant anniversaries coming up, but they are not events that would normally have been celebrated. The month of June has been surprisingly significant to me, and it wasn’t something i could have planned for or expected.
June 2014 was when reality hit, and Megan started dying. I took her to the emergency room on June 8th. She was intubated on the 9th, and given a tracheotomy on the 12th. She was listed on the 14th, and taken off of full sedation on the 19th, allowing us to interact, if only slightly. I know all these dates because I sent her a daily email from the 9th forward, summarizing the events of that day. It would be almost 6 months before she ultimately could fight no longer.
Today, as I sit down to write with tired eyes, I must admit that although I miss Megan as much now as before, it has shifted over these past few months from an intense grief at the thought of her death to more of a longing for her to be present to witness where life has taken me since that time.
I have just returned from an extended weekend in Kentucky with an amazing woman named Sarah, who also happens to be the same Sarah the writes here on Widow's Voice every Sunday. We met at Camp Widow East in February, completely by chance and/or fate, depending on your beliefs. Neither of us had any intention of finding someone new at that time, but here we are. Three months after meeting, Sarah and I are a couple. Not a day has passed since February 5th that we have not talked, and this past weekend, we were finally able to close the 1400 miles of distance, and bring our lives into the same physical space for a few days. It was wonderful.