It is not just his deadness, it’s my aliveness that weighs heavy on my Soul.
In a month and one day, it will be exactly three years since Mike died.
And, this year, it is not only his deadness that is gutting me, it is more...
Mike is dead. That sentence is awful to read. Beyond awful really. And, it is terrible to type. But, I force myself to bluntly and truthfully acknowledge his death in my writing every week because it helps me. It pronounces my reality. Mike died. He can not become undead. And, no matter how many times I write about missing him - he is gone from here.
There is no fix to his deadness. It is what it is. And, over time, I have slowly begun to process his death. This doesn't mean I like it. I don't. I never will. But, I know that it is something that can not be undone. So what can be done? That is where I choose to focus my thoughts. For me, I have to focus on what still is. I can not let his death define me. I have to concentrate on more. Daily, I ask myself "now what?"; and, in truth, I still don't know nearly three years later.
This Fall, I haven’t felt panicked when the leaves naturally changed color. The other years, as soon as the leaves began changing, l felt his death date wrapping itself around me. This year, it is different. It is better. Easier maybe. I see the leaves changing and I just vacantly watch. I don't fight my grief like before. I know it’s three years soon and I am accepting of this.
Mike isn’t going to get any more dead with the passage of time. Seasons will continue to come and go without him. His absence stings, but in a softer way now. In many ways, November 15th feels so significant it’s almost irrelevant to me. I’ve always hated his death date. What can I do to mark the worse day of my life? I sure as hell don't "celebrate" it, but I do mark the date. The first year I got my tattoo. Last year, I don’t remember what I did; and this year I have no plan.
I feel Mike’s absence everyday and this November 15th just feels like a dull reminder of what I feel everyday. I don't need to mark this day with any fanfare. Mike’s absence in my life has become expected to me both physically and emotionally. It’s been so long since I’ve felt his touch or heard his voice that I’ve just gotten numb to what I so desperately miss. Moving forward, I don’t want to give this date any more power than it already has. I will not focus on his death date. I will try to concentrate on my aliveness, that is where the power is.
Still, despite my best effort to focus on living, I am profoundly sad existing without Mike. Me being here, in a place where he is not is unbearable. My sadness is born from the fact that I must live without him. But, I have to get it together. My life is waiting for me to live it. My life is hovering, right before me, and I have to do something to reconnect to all the living that is ahead of me. This is what I feel so deeply as the third year of his death looms before me.
The first year, his death date swallowed me whole. I stood above his grave barely believing his death was real. I don't really remember a lot from my first year as Mike's widow. That first year, I numbly existed in the outskirts of my former life. I survived what I thought would surely kill me.
Year two, I was still numb in a lot of ways. I lugged my grief around as I carried out my responsibilities. But, everything remained lacklustre. I spent most of year two lost in thoughts of days gone by. Really, I still do this. It is extraordinarily hard to resist falling back into the memories of better times; however, I know that I have to find a way to ground myself more in the present. For me, travel brings me into the present moment; and this is why I am so fixated with it.
Fortunately, with time and hard work, my grief is slowly beginning to softened around the edges; but, the heaviness in my chest remains constantly present - even now. Still, I suppose I am getting “used” to his absence. I am no longer panicked by the lack of his presence anymore. Mike being gone is "normalish" now. And, this is not an easy way to live. But, truth be told, I don't remember living without the weight of grief anymore. I bear his absence daily. I will have to do this for the rest of my life because his absence is not going anywhere. I understand this now. Most days, I do not look like or sound like a grieving Wife, but despite what others see and hear, I am utterly changed because Mike died.
Now what? I don't know exactly; but, I know that I need to concentrate on being alive. I need to rediscover the woman Mike fell in love with. I have to find the pieces of her that survived his death and I need to live my best life forward. Year four is going to be about me, not Mike. My fourth year of widowhood is going to be about my life, not his death.