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,
Most of the people in my life see me working, raising kids, and socializing.
They believe, that after this length of time, I'm "getting on with my life".
They think I've got this.
And, maybe, in many ways, I do.
However, what I feel like inside
Does not match what they see on the outside.
Things are not exactly as they appear to be.
The truth is, I am still out of sorts.
I am still constantly carrying on conversations with my dead fiancé
in my heart and in my head.
And, after nearly 2.5 years,
I am still trying to process
what has become of my life.
I understand that those around me believe that I'm okay because I'm functioning the way most mothers do. I make breakfast. I go to work. I pay the mortgage. I raise my kids. I cook dinner. And, in the last year, I am attempting to live again.
But, there is way more to my life than one sees at first glance. My situation is complicated. I'm not 'only' a previously divorced mom raising kids alone. I am also a widowed mom who is grieving. My scenario is beyond anything I ever imagined. And, I understand that most people around me can not comprehend my life. How could they? Honestly, most days, I can't even get my head around it myself.
An accurate description of my existence involves the bold type:
I make breakfast -and drink my morning coffee by myself, in silence, because Mike is dead.
I go to work - with only a few hours sleep because every night grief keeps me awake.
I pay the mortgage - but my income is now reduced to 1/4 of what it was when Mike was alive.
I raise the kids - feeling guilty because I feel like a failed Mom who lacks enthusiasm and joy because of grief.
I cook dinner- with invisible tears streaming down my face so that my kids don't know how sad I really am.
I socialize with friends - but while in their company I still feel alone and empty inside.
Widowed people's lives are often misread, because, unless you have outlived the person you are in love with, you can not possibly comprehend the emotional devastation and range of feelings that make up our tears. The depth and breadth of my loss is beyond anything I could have previously imagined. Widowhood must be lived to be understood.
Naturally, those in our lives want us to be better. They need us to return to who we were. They don't understand that this is not possible. Those outside of our community want to believe that the death of a spouse is manageable with time. But, time itself has no real bearing on our grief. Our spouse continues to be missing from our future forever; and this is why our grief continues - in some capacity- over the course of our lifetime.
As widowed people we do not talk about this enough. When they died, our sex lives died with them. There I said it.
Sexual bereavement is a thing. It is very real and it profoundly affects us as we live on without the one we love. Daily, we miss the intimacy of being a couple. And, nothing, not one thing can replace this. The daily nuances that exist between two lovers. Your unspoken language. The secret words you whispered to one another. The tone he reserved for just you. The dialect of love.
As surviving spouses we miss the stolen glances. The way his adoring eyes watched me prepare a meal. The winks he sent me across the room during a dinner party. Tenderly placing my hand on his leg as he drove us some place. Walking side by side and casually reaching for his familiar hand; and, then interlocking my fingers with the man I love. Their hands. Their kiss. That place on the small of my back that only he knew. The way he gently brushed the hair out of my eyes before his lips met mine. The way I fell into his chest as he pulled me to him. All of this. Every last thing. This is the stuff we ache for. This is the stuff that I quietly grieve.
I miss your hands on me.
I miss your touch against my skin.
I desperately miss having you beside me on an ordinary Sunday night.
I wish I could turn my head and see you here in front of me.
I want my dinner companion back.
I miss him.
Eating alone while I talk to my dead lover is killing my appetite.
It is not food I crave, it is your physical presence that I hunger for.
I long to taste your kiss.
I want to run my fingers across your shoulders as I set your plate down.
I want to drink up your smile as I swallow my wine.
As I sit here alone,
I close my eyes,
And, I feel you come up behind me and wrap your arms tightly around me
- like you always did.
I remember how you’d slowly turn me around to face you.
We’d stop and briefly look at one another.
If I could go back,
I’d stay there locked in that moment.
I remember feeling something magical happening inside those fleeting seconds when we looked into each other’s Souls.
We stood still, but within this space we held for each other, we travelled someplace else.
A place without a name.
A place that is gently suspended outside of time and space.
Maybe this is the place where you exist now.
- I don’t know.
Nowadays, I slip far into the depths of my heart space remembering how this type of intimacy felt.
To say I miss this connection to another human being is an understatement.
I’m starving for you.
And, tonight, I long for you to take my hand and lead me away from the sink full of dirty dishes because they can wait, but you can not.