Every once in awhile I am shocked by the fact that Phil has been dead almost five years. This week I met several new people, and shared a bit of my widow story with each of them. Every time I told someone how long it has been since Phil died a little voice in my head asked, has it really been that long?
Believing that 56 months have passed since Phil flashed his beautiful smile at me is difficult when I can still clearly conjure the image of him laughing at a joke only he thought was funny. There are still moments now and then when I shake my head in disbelief that THIS is my life. When I hear a newly widowed person's voice I am taken back to a time when I could not imagine a life that did not include Phil. The kids and I speak often of his crazy tricks, ridiculous nicknames, and the fun-filled adventures he gleefully led for anyone he could talk into joining the game. All these memories recall a man overflowing with life. I still have a difficult time reconciling the larger than life image I have of the man I love with the daily reality that he still isn't coming home.
As I thought this week about the early stages of my own widowhood, I started taking stock of the ways my life has changed over the last five years. How do I view my widowhood now, and how does looking back make me feel?
The last five years have taught me that widowed people are warriors, and I am proud to be a widow warrior. I have fought despair, I have battled with depression, I have guarded my family with a fierce determination, and even in the face of a beast called grief, I did not quit. Over the past 56 months I have laughed more than I cried (which is a feat as you all know!); I have reached out more than I retreated; I have allowed my feelings to have a voice even when I didn't like what they had to say; I have tried new things, and taken some chances; I have risked loving again knowing that this love may also be lost; and I have allowed the lessons that loving Phil taught me to impact my daily life. Looking around me I have discovered that the view from year 4.8 is positive, hope filled, and actually, lovely.
There was a day some 1,680 days ago when I was certain this would not be the case. I am here to tell you that survival is possible, and that a life you may not be able to imagine right now is somewhere down the road. You get there by taking just one step at a time.