Another Year Without You

Soon I  will have been your Widow for three years. 

Should I be good at widowing now?  Should this feel "normal" to me now?  

Who knows. 

No one gave me a manual when you died. 

So, I am going by feel.

I fumble forward on instinct.




I hate your death date.  November 15th, 2016 - you took your last breath and I fought to catch mine. 


You died on a Tuesday.  For over a year, I hated Tuesdays.  Then, after a while, I stopped raging against Tuesday; but, I continued to cringe on the 15th of every month.  Now, nearly three years later, the 15th of the month doesn't sting the way it used to.  I guess this is progress.  

It has been almost three years since I last spoke to you.  Three years since I have heard your voice.  Three years since I kissed your lips.  Three years since I held your hand.  Three years since I felt your physical body next to mine.  Three long years.  And, as I am typing this, I see three roses from your funeral.  These red roses are frozen in a frame, casually displayed in my living room.  How ironic that these particular roses are on display in my "living" room.  *Sigh... 

What is a girl to do with any of this?

I am not entirely sure what one is supposed to do when the man they love dies.  I suppose one cries.  Then, cries some more.  For me, many nights, I lay on the hard wooden floor sobbing while I  wondered if I would die from sadness.   I spent countless hours staring out into the beyond.  I've looked up at the stars and asked Mike where he is.  I've held my hands out in front of me, hoping he is there and somehow my fingers are touching him. 

I've stood alone outside in the moonlight and whispered "now what?"  And, I've never hear a response.  I have begged God to bring him back, knowing all along that this is not possible.  Hundreds of times, I've blown kisses to the moon and softly said goodnight to Mike.  For almost three years, I have dragged my heartbroken Soul to my empty bed where I lay awake aching for his physical presence.  Many nights, I've woken from a broken sleep and reached over to his side of the bed.  Now, there is nothing where he once lay.  Three years later this still startles me because I always hope against hope that I will feel him.

I have cried on my way to work.  Tears have streamed from my eyes as I walk the aisles of the grocery store.  On Friday nights, I have sat in parking lots crying.  I have stood in the shower wondering if I can wash the grief from me.  But, my grief is more than skin deep.  My grief exists inside my Soul.  It can not be washed away.  That is not how this works. 

I have stood cooking dinner lost in my thoughts.  I have wondered if I will ever just feel "normal" again.  I have diligently gone through the motions of life without him.  I have lived without him, even when I thought I couldn't.  

For three years, I have continuously replayed our conversations in my mind.  I know the words by heart.  I close my eyes and slipped back into a place in time when Mike existed.  I stay there in my reverie because it is more comfortable than my reality.   This is widowhood.  This is what one does when their person dies.

Mike, I have lived another year without you and I feel like you are farther from me and I am no further ahead.



Showing 20 reactions

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  • Staci Sulin
    commented 2019-11-17 22:51:28 -0800
    Ellen, We all feel we “suck” at this at times. No one gave us a manual, we are simply going by instinct here. Do what you can. And, give yourself grace.
    PS Did we meet at Camp Widow? I can’t recall your last name when we met – if you are indeed the Ellen who introduced herself to me. ~S.
  • Staci Sulin
    commented 2019-11-17 22:46:12 -0800
    Emma, Thank you for reading my blog. I hope we can meet one day. ~S.
  • Staci Sulin
    commented 2019-11-17 22:45:16 -0800
    Bonnie, Thank you for your heartfelt reaction to my blog. I am grateful what I wrote helped you “immeasurably”. It helps me to write for you. ~S.
  • Staci Sulin
    commented 2019-11-17 22:43:15 -0800
    Richard , This road is long. Do not attempt to walk too far ahead. Resting and being still is necessary and good in the early days. It will take time to absorb your grief. Just take things moment by moment. Best to you, ~S.
  • Staci Sulin
    commented 2019-11-17 22:40:19 -0800
    Natalie, thank you for reading my blog. I wish you were no authority on it’s accuracy. I am sorry you understand widowhood so well. ~S.
  • Staci Sulin
    commented 2019-11-17 22:38:56 -0800
    Sandie, that last sentence speaks the truth. After three years Mike really feels farther away. I wish I could still sense his presence like I once did, but I can’t. And, some days I do really feel like I am not as far ahead as I’d like to be in this life without him. But, I will persist. That is all any of us can do. ~S.
  • Staci Sulin
    commented 2019-11-17 22:35:07 -0800
    Sue, I am glad what I wrote resonated with you. I am sorry that you understand my words; but, I admit having our hearts understood is beyond valuable in grief. ~S.
  • Staci Sulin
    commented 2019-11-17 22:33:29 -0800
    Beth I will be thinking of you as the date approaches. Lean in. Being in the company of those who understand really helps on these difficult anniversary dates.~S.
  • Sandie Chester-Kunkely
    commented 2019-11-15 13:15:47 -0800
    Oh Staci….That last sentence! (((hugs)))
  • Staci Sulin
    commented 2019-11-15 12:56:01 -0800
    Kathy, it was so nice to meet you.
    I enjoyed our brief chat.
  • Kathy Murray
    commented 2019-11-13 09:59:52 -0800
    Hi Staci, we talked at Camp Widow. I hate the 15th too, although mine is October last year.
  • Beth Ensign
    commented 2019-11-11 23:58:57 -0800
    Yep. Nov 28 for me. Gonna be a hard day but I’m planning for it— I am so grateful for my tribe who have been so present for me. I know I am very, very fortunate in this way. They can’t fill the space in the bed or the silence where my dear husband’s voice should be, though. That void, I guess it will just be there forever—
  • Sue Howard McAulay
    commented 2019-11-11 17:13:49 -0800
    Spot on…
    “Should I be good at widowing now? Should this feel “normal” to me now?"
    I hate that this is my new reality.
    Thanks, as always, for voicing what many of us are feeling. You nailed it again.
  • Natalie Reeves
    commented 2019-11-11 17:12:36 -0800
    So accurate 💔
  • Natalie Reeves
    commented 2019-11-11 17:12:36 -0800
    So accurate 💔
  • Cathy
    commented 2019-11-06 12:26:59 -0800
    Yes, Stace, “going thru the motions of life without him”. So hard.
    Ellen, I find myself apologizing to him, too, always questioning what I’ve done, never getting answers that I’m on the right track. Haven’t figured out how to do it better either.
    Bonnie, I asked my eye doc about tears, he said they’re actually cleansing for the eye. Hope for the heart too.
  • Richard Clarke
    commented 2019-11-06 07:23:32 -0800
    I just started down the road you have traveled. Thank you for the light you shine I will try to follow it.
  • Bonnie Rozean
    commented 2019-11-05 07:29:51 -0800
    Thank you for your beautiful articulation of this experience… I wondered if I could die from sadness… I asked my grief counselor if people can cry them selves to death. She said she hadn’t heard of that but people have died from not processing their grief. Thank you for so intimately sharing your process, it helps me immeasurably with mine.
  • Emma Pearson
    commented 2019-11-04 11:53:02 -0800
    All of it, Stacey
    Each and every word
    and especially
    “I feel like you are farther from me and I am no further ahead”.
  • Ellen Langille
    commented 2019-11-04 09:30:07 -0800
    Your post is heartbreaking and beautifully written. I have done (and continue to do) all of the things you describe, with the same results. This is a gut-wrenching process, and right now I have trouble seeing the point of it. Most recently, I have started apologizing to Walt because I am making such a mess of things. I tell him I am sorry that I suck at this, and I promise to try to do better. But I haven’t figured out how.