Part of me died with him. And, more importantly a big part of me survived his death. This part of me is fighting to live forward.
Since early on, I have chosen to focus on the living part of me. The part of me that was not buried with Mike. Sure, absolutely, I miss the person I used to be, but the life in which that woman existed died with him. It's over. It is gone.
All of it - everything we were together - simply vanished when Mike died. Our life was built on solid ground, but when he died, everything imploded and what was once solid quickly turned into a quagmire of uncertainty. I lost Mike and my identity. Everything that I thought was certain disappeared. My life was no longer recognizable to me. And, in truth, it still isn’t nearly three years later.
I lost my footing when Mike died and I have been fighting to recover it. Every day I fight to live forward without the man I love. It’s been a long, long road - and this is understating it. Grief has been my constant companion since the moment I heard “he’s dead”. Those two small words changed my life completely. However, I try hard not to focus on Mike’s deadness, Instead I try to be grateful for his life. A life he chose to share part of with me. For me, there is no point in perseverating about what has been lost. It’s gone. Nothing can reverse any of it. He is dead. He is gone and I am left here without him. Blunt. Maybe. But, what other way is there to describe the situation?
Today Mike and I are writing together about a topic that our Friday writer Kelley asked about recently. Most people assume it is easier to be in a relationship with another widowed person when you are widowed. And it's true, a lot of things are simplified when you understand each other's loss. Kelley was curious to know what some of the specific challenges are when you have two widowed people in a relationship, so we thought we'd write a few posts on the topic...
The first thing I thought of in relation to this question is that your widow card is basically canceled out. There is no way to leverage that card to your advantage during a fight when your partner has been through exactly as horrible of a loss too. I do know from others who have dated or married someone non-widowed, that it’s extremely tempting to use that widow card to trump their arguments and opinions. When I was with Drew, there were times that I used my “dead parents card” to trump him in fights or conjure up some extra pity and attention for myself. They aren’t proud moments, but I think it’s a very normal temptation to want to use victim tactics when you’ve been through a lot.
That doesn’t work in a relationship with two widowed people. Even at times when we do try to lay down the widow card to trump each other, it doesn't really fly. We both have experienced losses in very different ways that are unfathomable to the other person… so there’s no hiding behind trump cards to manipulate a situation in our favor.
These past few weeks have been incredibly hard for me. I’ve been reliving what happened last year. It’s not that I welcome these thoughts, it’s that my brain keeps bringing them up. I remember the last lunch that we had as a family, just the day before my husband’s accident. I remember my daughter and I went to go have lunch with at his work. It bothered me that day that he didn’t like the color of my lipstick and made a joke out of it. Which seems so ridiculous now. It was a beautiful day though. We sat together in the courtyard and we had Asian cuisine. He held our baby girl and fed her, as we shared our last lunch. We joked and talked about our plans for that weekend. Life seemed so beautiful.
That evening, when we all got home, he made me our last dinner together. He made me shrimp with a quinoa salad. It was delicious! He read a book to our baby girl and put her down for the very last time. After our daughter was down for the night, we went outside to our backyard and enjoyed a nice glass of wine. That night he told me that he wished I could step into his shoes to know how much he loved me. He had said that in a serious manner, which was normally not my husband. Those words had so much depth and sincerity, and little did I know I would never hear those words again.