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,
I have not felt your lips against mine for over two years. It has been almost a thousand days since I have heard your voice outside of my memory. And, it is starting like I knew it would. I am starting to forget your voice. I've tried to keep the sound of your voice clear in my mind by replaying our conversations again and again, but it just isn't the same. My ears have not physically heard you in a really, really long time. And, now, because of your absence, I can not remember the exactness of your voice. However, I can still hear you say "Hey, Beautiful" in the tone you reserved for me. I will remember the sound of your voice saying those two words forever. But, aside from this, and a few other words and phrases, I can't hear you for certain anymore. I knew this would happen. And, it is as awful as I thought it'd be.
It has been well over one hundred weeks since I have touched you. It's been far too long since your hands were on me. And, too long since I looked into your kind blue eyes. I haven't felt your gaze on me in hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of days. So many days that I have lost count. For me, counting does not serve a purpose anymore. Everyday, you are still dead. You do not become more dead with time, and I know for certain that you are not going to come back to me once I reach a magic number - so I've just stopped counting. In grief, counting is pointless. It is not like in a game of hide and seek where counting serves a purpose. I can count and then shout "ready or not here I come". But, you aren't ready and I am not coming to where you are - yet. Counting just pronounces your absence and makes me feel further from you and the life we shared together.
This is not how I imagined my life.
We should have been in our new house for over two years now.
Mike and I should be celebrating our two year Wedding Anniversary
August 20th, 2019.
But, he died. And, none of this happened or will happen.
There is no shared home.
There will not be a Wedding Anniversary.
There won't be anything.
There is nothing more.
Not one thing will be added to our story.
He is my heart. But, Mike is the past.
Even though this is my story, it seems surreal to me most of the time. I have to continually remind myself that this is actually real. He is really gone from here. Mike really died. Ugh, I think I type this so often because I am desperately hoping that it will finally imprint onto my heart. Cognitively I get it. I know he's gone, but on a heart level I still struggle to accept this; but, as I've mentioned in previous blogs, I am working on it. This third year of widowhood I will work on accepting his death on a heart level. I have to do this in order to live without him. For me, it is not possible to fully engage in my own life until I can accept that our life together is over.
As every widowed person knows, acceptance takes time, hard work and a consistent effort. Acceptance does not just magically occur with the passage of time. When ready, we, the bereaved, need to actively work to accept the death of our beloveds. For the first year, I could not even consider accepting his death. I hated it. I think I hoped against hope that Mike would somehow come back to life and we would resume where we left off. When Mike suddenly died, all our hopes and dreams died with him and I was left here to kick the tires without him.
In the last few years, I recognize that I am doing a decent job of surviving his death, but it has not been easy. Being Mike's widow is easily the hardest thing I have ever done. Widowhood itself has not necessarily gotten "easier" with time, but it has become different. My grief has definitely changed. Now, it is no longer primal. It is not as gutting. Instead, my grief has become a permanent dull ache inside me. My grief is softer around the edges, but it continues to take up a lot of space in my heart. It still keeps me from actively and fully engaging in my life. I half-heartedly go through the motions; but, I still feel somewhat detached from my own life. Yet, I sense change. I feel that this will change for the better, eventually.
I've survived my first two years of widowhood because of the strong connections I made with other widowed people. I have been helped through the longest days and loneliest nights of my life by fellow widows and widowers. These people have become my Lifelines - the people who have been present in his absence. I'm still standing because of human beings who, despite their own heartache, chose to support me in my grief. Several widows and widowers have come into my life and loved me when Mike is no longer here to do this for himself. The impact their presence has made in my life is beyond measure. I have managed to survive Mike's death, in large part, because of the continual support of these kind people. A strong kinship exists in the widowed community because we know the ugliness of grief and we come together to hold space for each other.Read more