In less than one month it will be three years since Mike died. With time and a lot of processing, the truth of his death has slowly leached into every cell of my body. And, despite my initial rebellion against his death, my heart is finally no longer resisting what my mind understands. Mike is gone. He died.
Even now, it is unthinkable that I will never share another moment with him, but this is a fact whether I like it or not. Early on, every fibre of my being fought to survive without him. Still, despite my efforts, a part of me died with him. But, further, a big part of me also survived Mike's death. And, it is this part of me who is fighting to live forward.
I have come to realize that it is Mike's death. Not mine. I did not die.
In the early months I thought I might die from sadness. But, I didn't, and neither will you. For the last 2.11 years, 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 ever since. Every day, I struggle to stay grounded here in this reality. It remains my instinct to retreat to a place in my mind where I keep Mike alive. But, my sensibilities urge me to live forward without the man I love. So, for nearly three long years, I have worked to find order among the wreckage of my life.
Without him, my axis is off kilter. I feel like I am spinning and without a sense of direction. 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?
I have spent the better part of nearly three years crawling around on my hands and knees scouring the landscape of my old life. Desperately, I searched for bits and pieces of myself and the life we shared. I wildly sought to grasp anything that resembled our life. I clutched the tangible things that could be saved in my arms. Holding them tenderly. Close to my heart. And, the intangible items, I scooped up and stored in my mind and held in my memory. In reality, there wasn’t a lot to be found. Not much of me or our life survived Mike’s death. However, I did find a handful of useful pieces, things that could be rescued; and, I have used this assortment of traits and memories to build myself from the wreckage of what was once my beautiful life.
Whatever is left of me has been reclaimed. I have been slowly and steadily undergoing a rebirth of sorts. It has been painful and tedious. But, I’m doing it. I am steadily rebuilding myself from the wreckage because I have to. I have no other choice. I love life too much to just sit here and waste what I have left. I love him too much to never try to live my best life again. And, nothing, not one damn thing, will make Mike happier than if his girl can smile again. It might take everything I've got, but I am trying to find a way to live in a world that he is gone from.
So, now what? What do I do? I guess that it entirely up to me. I can really do whatever I want. So, what is it that I want? I am not going to list all the things I wish to accomplish. That’s my list. Yours will be different. It is enough to say that I have a running list in my mind and this in and of itself is a good thing. It means I am thinking about the future. I am re-entering life. I am engaging in the world again after 3.11 years of being Mike’s widow.
I you will be at Camp Widow in Toronto this November 2019 I will be there. Please come find me, I'd love to meet you.