I am sitting here, marvelling at how far I’ve come since March 1, 2010; I am a different person with the same heart.
I can now look back and remember the sharp, stabbing grief of that day. The insanity.
The weeks and months directly afterward where I alternated between shrieking pain and dense fog; I rocked and cried or I floated behind a thin wall, a sense of being elsewhere and detached.
The forced smile at work and the tears as I left the gate each day.
The craziness at home. My children .. my poor children.
The first BirthdaysFathersDayChristmasNewYear without him. All the firsts. I distinctly remember the first day I brought my children back to school afterwards and broke down at the gate, and the angel of a friend who saw me and walked me in. She knew.
That first, aching anniversary of his death.
The depression of the seemingly endless blackhole that stretched in front of me.
The hideous instability caused by my old boss who made it harder for me than it needed to be (because he is a petty, stupid man).
The desperation that I never spoke of. To anyone.
The feeling that I was repeating history: I would repeat my grandmother’s and my great-grandmother’s long, lonely widowhood for decades to come.
The hopelessness. The feeling of Just Not Bothering to do more than exist for the sake of my children; there were days that their presence stood (unknowingly) between me and oblivion. I couldn’t hurt them, so I continued on.
The reaching out to others in the widower community. The voice that would weave across an ocean and give me ways to distract myself from misery. The women and men who wrote about their experiences and I realised that I was not alone in this pain.
Then a chink of light with a friend offering me work at a new school. This move has changed my life for the better. I now have a permanent job as my new boss is made of clever and awesome and fought to keep me.
And then... and then .... the confidence to once again try dating. For real.
....and the meeting of a person whose mind is like my own. Whose situation is like my own and whose heart is like my own. Healing slowly, together.
The realisation that my life is not over and that I can see a new future. A future built on hard-won battles and scars of resilience. A future that acknowledges the injuries of the past and weaves them into its beautiful tapestry.
I have come so far since March 1, 2010.