It is my privileged to write to you each week and I hope my blog inspires you to question what is stirring in your heart. I encourage you to lean into your grief. And, to feel it to it's depth. This isn't easy, but it is the only way through this mess.
I believe that we are lead back towards life and living when we allow ourselves to be still, and sit in the "nothingness" where grief lives. Visiting this empty place is difficult, but it is necessary. This quiet place holds the blueprints of our new, changed life.
I know you are scared to go to the edge of this place; admittedly, I am too. But, we have to take a leap of faith. With time, I am gathering momentum, and I am going to leap and build my wings on the way down.
It has been over two years since Mike died and I realize that what I fear most about the future is not the risks and uncertainty. What I am afraid of is letting the opportunities for change pass me by. I am afraid that I will settle into an ordinary life when I want an extraordinary life.
I am worried that I will play small, when my potential is big. As I write to you each week I am challenging us both not to shrink. I am keeping us accountable. I do not want either of us to fall back into an easy comfortableness when we can leap forward, towards a bold life. I want you to manifest the best in yourself. Go on, begin to recreate a beautiful life for yourself.
From the Ledge with Wings in Hand,
So far, year three of widowhood has felt restless. After the initial shock of Mike's death wore thin, I began to feel restless and I have remained this way ever since. Early on, I naively sought to "fix" my brokenness. Now, after almost two and a half years, I know that there is no fixing this. I simply must build around the grief that exists inside me. And, as you know, there is nothing simple about this. It takes dedication and commitment in order to rebuild a full life after your previous life implodes.
I am grateful that with time and consistent hard work, the hollowness is becoming less prominent because the life I am recreating around it is becoming fuller. And, it is my hope that my life continues to become more fulfilling as I work to create my new identity. Yet, with this said, essentially, my grief has not changed a lot over the last year. The most notable difference is that I am more tired now. I am tired of feeling sad and lonely. The fatigue of grief has set in.
Thankfully, my grief is less raw now; but, the emptiness inside me remains present. There is no getting around it. There is no "cure" for it. Someone I was in love with died and this isn't going to magically be okay - ever. Grief changes and evolves, but this doesn't mean that I will ever not miss him. I will always wish he was still here sharing my life with me.
I miss Mike.
And, I will continue to miss him as the months turn into years;
and, then as the years turn into decades.
This is life as a widowed person.
There is a profound sense of missing that is always present.
I have now accepted that I will miss him for my entire life. I miss him all day long no matter where I am or what I am doing. I know for certain that no amount of busy work alleviates my grief. At the end of the day, it is there. It is part of me. I can't hide from it. And, the good thing is I don't want to. I am not trying to out run my grief. I see others try to quiet their grief with various things and I intimately understand their desire to seek relief from grief. I want grief to cut me some slack too. I'm tired of it. But, me being tired has no affect on grief. Grief does not grant breaks for time earned. Grief is relentless and demands your attention whether you are exhausted or not.
I learned early on that in order to "successfully" grieve, you can not push it down. You can not ignore it. Eventually, you must look grief in the eye. So, in an effort to grieve well, I have been very generous with the time and attention I have given my grief. To be clear, I am not advocating wallowing in grief; but, rather walking toward it. I believe in leaning into it. This is what works best for me.
I am better for listening to my grief and acknowledging the aching in my Soul. In the process of doing this difficult work I have learned a lot about myself. When Mike died I was forced to stand in the wreckage of my old life. And, here among the rubble, my foundation was exposed. I could not hide from myself. And, in the years that have followed, I have taken advantage of this lucidity and I have carefully and purposefully searched the landscape of my Soul.
Finally, after many hours of sitting in the sadness and brokenness I am in a good place. I know my grief well and, more importantly, I've come to know myself. I know what I need to do to successfully reenter life because I took the time to carefully consider the direction of my alternate life. I have painstakingly thought about who I was, who I am, and who I want to be. I have a true sense of myself; and, now, all that is left is to action what I've come to know.
This work of self discovery has consumed me for over two years. And, I am better for settling into my grief and allowing it to painfully absorb into me. I did not distract myself with people or things that would dull my pain. Well, in the spirit of full disclosure, there have been many nights over the last couple years that I have drowned my loneliness and sadness in wine. And, in truth, I don't feel bad about this. Grief is f@cking hard. Wine doesn't fix it or make it less difficult; but if a glass of Malbec is the worse thing I have indulged in since Mike died I can live with this.
As a widow, my relationship with time is strained and worn.
In the past, I assumed that I had at least twenty more years with Mike, but I didn't.
He and I ran out of time.
There was simply not enough time.
For reasons I do not know or understand, we were not given more time together.
And, now, without him, there is too much time.
Too much time alone.
Too much time spent thinking about a better place in time.
Too much time wishing things were different.
Too much time thinking about how to recreate my life without him.
While there wasn't enough time for Mike and I, now there is too much time for me.