Lately I have been asked by more than one person when I think I might be done with this whole, "widow thing." Hmmm...done. Well I guess that depends on the definition of done.
See the thing is, I will always be widowed. Remarriage doesn't erase my widowhood. Being happy doesn't erase the memories I have of lying in bed dry heaving as I screamed in agony over the news that the man I loved was dead. Loving a different man doesn't make me stop loving Phil. There is no such thing in my mind as replacement, and I can't figure out what done would look like.
Maybe I struggle with this concept because I have fallen into the trap of being done more than once. The first year was done, which meant all those awful firsts were done, right? I have lived through five holiday seasons without Phil which means I am done being sad that he can't complain about all the Christmas boxes, right? Phil hasn't ever stepped foot into the gym I now belong to, which means I am done thinking I saw him around that corner, right? Here's the big one, I will be getting married in seven weeks, so I should definitely be done, yes? Done crying? Done mourning? Done wishing Phil weren't dead? Not exactly, because done and healing or healed are not the same thing for me. Happiness, rebuilding, getting married, facing the world with a little different shade of lens...all these things coexist with my widowhood.
One thing I am done with is trying to predict the course of my life. I can promise you that I never thought I would lead a group of widowed people through an amazing weekend designed expressly for them. I never thought my kids would understand the nuances and subtleties of grief before they reached adulthood. And I definitely never would have imagined that I would walk down the aisle of the grocery store wearing a tee shirt that I created simply stating,"Death Sucks."
What I know for sure is that my widowhood has changed me. I can't tell you if or when I will be done, but I can say with confidence that I will never again be the same.