Today as I type this it is my fourth Birthday as a widow. Since Mike died I have never celebrated my birthday and felt authentically happy. I have always deeply felt his absence and my birthday has been difficult at best. Really, birthdays have never been a big deal to me - even when Mike was alive. And, I have to admit, he only lived to celebrate one birthday with me. One. *Sigh.
I have lived most of my life absent from Mike so why does the lack of his presence still weigh on me four birthdays later? Well, because it does. Mike was my Heart, my Soul, my Love. And, a big love like ours can not be measured in time. A love like ours does not know time, nor space. It is bigger than these constructs.
As Mike's widow, I have not looked forward my birthday because it just served to pronounce his absence. But, this birthday was different. For no particular reason my grief was lighter. It was a gift. Today, I celebrated my day. I accepted and recognized that I did not die. My life has not ended, only Mike's did. And, of course I wish he was here celebrating me today. But, wishes do not change reality. Mike died. He is not here today. And, he will not be here tomorrow or any other day.
Every single day I live forward Mike will continue to be physically absent in my life. I miss him profoundly. I miss Mike to the depths of me and then further. My Soul has been unsettled for over three years because he died. Living separate from him is terrible. It is easily the hardest thing I have ever done. Every single day, I try to live my best life without him; but, I have yet to find a way to make my life fulfilling without Mike sharing it with me.
Widowing is challenging and hard. It is simply not an easy life. I am just not very good at widowing. I hate it . And, this is an understatement. However, I am determined that widowhood will NOT be the hallmark of my life. I accept that being Mike's widow has shaped me and changed my life; but, my widowhood can not and will not define me.
The changes I have experienced as a widow have been both good and bad. My being has been completely rearranged by Mike's death. I am no longer who I used to be. I am better and I am worse in some significant ways.
I have learned that change is the only constant in life. Birthdays come and go. Seasons change. And, so do friendships. Time goes on; and, it also seems to stand still. One thing that won't change is that Mike is gone from here. Sadly, his deadness will never change. Grief is complicated and it is life long. It is messy and it is consuming some days. Nonetheless, I would choose to endure all of this if the alternative was not knowing Mike.
I am grateful to Mike for sharing his life with me. I am thankful to him for showing me what love looks like and what love sounds like and what true love feels like. I am a better woman for knowing him and loving him. What more can I want from a man. Mike fulfilled every wish I had about love.
Daily, I wish for Mike to come back. And, you can be sure, when I blow out my birthday candles I will wish that he was alive again. I want Mike to be here living the good life with me. I wonder if this will ever change...
Will I ever live a day without wishing he was here?
Will I ever not miss him?
Will I ever be satisfied with the life I have?
Will this life ever be enough without him?
I have no answers to these questions.
Now, I live forward on my own. This is not the life I imagined. This is not the life I want to live; but, it is the one I have. So, I am embracing it. What else can I do? On my birthday, my boys and I went to see a Christmas Light Festival. We enjoyed our shared time and company. I felt present. I was happy and this was completely unexpected because the three other birthdays I've had since Mike died were not particularly happy for me.
I can tell you from first hand experience, grief can and will evolve. Somehow, today's birthday was good - even without Mike. Sure, Mike has been in my thoughts; but, his absence has not hindered my ability to enjoy myself today.
I do not know why this fourth birthday has been less awful, but it has been. The human spirit is strong. Our will to live forward is innate and powerful. I miss my "husband"; but I am living forward with as much grace as I possibly can.