It’s not exactly a secret that sometimes, I just can’t foresee a good subject for my weekly writings here. I’ll pine over ideas to see if they spark something, thinking about if there were any milestones, anniversaries, or triggers in the past week. More often than not, I’ll find a nugget of something and expand upon it, and sometimes, a halfway decent writing comes out of it.
But sometimes there just isn’t a good inspiration. I’ll “pocket” some ideas for later, like Megan’s birthday (next week) and our anniversary (three weeks from today), knowing full well that the emotions, and subsequent words are going to flow easily at those times. Still though, it leaves me sitting here on some Tuesdays asking myself the following question.
“What should I be thinking and writing about right now?”
Listen, there is no “should” with this. My “big concerns” this week are repairing some body work on my truck, and the fact the Sarah’s sister will be visiting from out of state for a few days...I’m sure everyone wants the details on that. My life doesn’t revolve around Megan being gone. If I’m supposed to be grieving, it’ll just happen naturally.
If it’s been 5 days since you lost your person, and you’re in an unholy amount of grief with no end in sight, that’s normal. If it’s been 5 years, or 5 decades, and you’re still grieving, guess what? That’s normal too! Conversely, given the same time frames, NOT grieving constantly, in fact, being happy, is just as normal. Put plainly, the “instructions for grieving” are to do your thing and see what happens.
Which brings to me a conundrum. I’m sitting here clicking away at little plastic keys trying to write something interesting, insightful, and hopefully, helpful. I don’t know the stories, situations, and personalities of all of you reading. I don’t have an inspiring anecdote from the past week that I can share, or at least, expand upon as it relates to widowhood. The toughest part about being a widower in the past week has been this morning, having to think about it.
And maybe that’s the best part. I think we’ll all get to a point after losing a loved one where, for a span of seven days, nothing really triggery or depressing or thought-provoking happens. The fact that it happens is thought provoking in and of itself. It doesn’t mean “closure” or that I’m healed. It doesn’t signal an end to being a widower. It just means that I’ve reached a point of being able to go about day-to-day life without my identity being defined by my loss.
Next week, the thoughts will return. I know that. I don’t ever “tune out” my thoughts about Megan, I just have a different station playing much of the time. Much of what I do...my job, projects at home, being in nature, raising Shelby and the like would be done no differently if Megan had never died. Perhaps my personality lends itself to that, perhaps the fact that Megan’s death was a long-term affair, rather than sudden contributes to my traits of being able to move forward. I don't know, but I sure as hell don't feel guilty about it.
Did it shake me to my core, break me down, and put me at the lowest point I had ever been in my life? Are you kidding? Of course it did! Am I done “dealing with it” just because I’m not sad at this very moment in time?
It’s gonna flood back at times. It’s gonna show itself in small doses when I hear a song or read a particularly nostalgic book. It’s also going to sit in a dusty back corner of my mind, silently, when I’m mowing the lawn or resolving an issue at work, waiting for the right time to surface.
If you’ve experienced it, you know the feeling. You might pass by a picture of them five times a day for weeks without so much as a glance. Then, at some random moment, it will catch your eye, and you’ll wonder how it’s possible that you haven’t thought about them much, because life has been happening. You might feel guilty. You may go into a deep grief for a moment, or hours. You could cry, missing the person that meant so much to you, and be in a “funk” for days, unable to function.
Alternatively, you might just smile, knowing that life is “getting in the way” of your grief, and really, that’s what they would prefer.