I feel compelled, now that I’ve passed the 3 year mark of my widowhood (as of April 21), to write one of those numbered lists of what helped me get through to this mark...
Really, honestly, though, I couldn’t tell you how I’ve gotten here. All I can tell you is that I look in the mirror at myself and ask how the FUCK have you done this? How have you survived for 3 fucking years with Chuck’s absence when you couldn’t imagine one fucking minute without him?
How have you done this?
I could say its because I’ve always had hope, but, quite frankly, I haven’t. And I don’t. I don’t even know what hope looks like. At least if hope means thinking that my future will ever be brighter, or better. Or less filled with missing-ness. It might, but it might not. Who knows? I don’t look to the future. I look at today, this minute. I’m a perfect fucking Buddhist since Chuck died: living only in the here and now.
I could say its because I have gratitude that at least I’m alive (that’s the default position of gratitude, I believe), but I don’t have gratitude for being alive. I find life without him very difficult emotionally, and questionable financially and practically. I’d much rather be with him, wherever he is, if he’s somewhere.
I could say its because there is the small comfort that I’ll see him again when I die, so that keeps me going, but I don’t know what I believe about an afterlife so have nothing to hold onto in that respect.
I could say its because I know he would want me to live a full life but, seriously, that really doesn’t do it for me and I feel no disloyalty to him for saying that. If he were here to tell me that in person I’d tell him you know what? You have NO fucking clue what life without you is like so just please don’t tell me what you’d want for me when you aren’t even here to tell me that in person.
So, you might ask, what has brought you here, these 3 years later of life without him?
Sheer grit and determination, that’s what. There is, apparently, in me, a damn fucking flame that refuses to die out, no matter how much shit gets thrown at it, and it’s like some damn reflex that keeps getting me back on my feet every morning. I hate that flame; it’s kind of like the birthday candles that keep flaming even after you blow them out. Up the flame comes again, no matter what.
I write this plainly to you because I know that there are others out there in this widowhood who feel that you don’t have anything to fall back on, nothing to gird you up to get through this battlefield of grief, you who don’t feel strong, who feel dislocated and disoriented. Sometimes...often...all that we have going for us is sheer grit and determination and that’s enough.
You (we) don’t have to force ourselves to be anything other than what we are, to be where we are. You (we) don’t have to force ourselves to believe anything or be anything other than what we are.
All I’ve ever told myself that I need to do, since April 21, 2013, is what Chuck always said to do: Suit up and show up and let the day unfold.
If you’re struggling and judging yourself for struggling, just take that one step.
That one step can be your step out the door-and there's a slew of us waiting to walk this walk with you~