When my husband died, I was still in the process of integrating in to his 'before life' and forming connections with his friends. We lived in Brisbane and he was from Sydney, so most of his close friends weren't local and we therefore didn't get to hang out with them regularly.
I knew they were wonderful people though, lots of fun, loyal friends to Dan and the kind of people I was looking forward to having in my life too.
When he passed away unexpectedly, six weeks after our wedding, one of the many random thoughts that ran through my mind was 'now I will lose my connection to all of these people whom I was really looking forward to getting to know!' Luckily for me, I wasn't entirely correct.
Sure there are some whom I lost touch. Some of them have stayed in contact, checking in on important dates, liking my Facebook posts, etc. And others have been more present throughout the past 22 months and I'm now blessed to call them friends of my own accord.Read more
As I write this we're full swing into the holidays and I've survived Christmas Day, Boxing Day and am about to head to my parent's house for a large lunch celebration with 20 or so members of extended family. I'm absolutely exhausted, but hanging in there.
I've heard many widowed people say that the second year can be harder than the first, because the shock has worn off and reality has set in. However for me, this Christmas has been slightly easier than last year. I guess it just goes to show that everyone's time line is different and you shouldn't try and measure your grief against anyone else's.
Maggie kept the beat in our relationship when it came to social engagements. She injected me into a lively social world that held me captive to weekends packed with activities, most of which were not optional. Now, without her overwhelming influence, I find myself woefully disengaged with what I think most people would consider normal life.
We had no children so I don’t benefit from the continued social pressure that comes with little ones. The lack of children also often filters me from events in which I’d otherwise be included. Well-meaning friends intentionally don’t invite me to birthday parties and other kid-thick events “to protect my sanity,” so they say.
Except for the brave and determined, friends who only knew Chris as half of Maggie and Chris have had difficultly making the transition. Most fell aside quickly after Maggie’s Angel Day. My guess is that they were battle-weary from the 850-day fight. However, for me that was just the climactic end of one major battle in the still on-going war.
So here I am with my solitary habits but now with fewer friends. Fewer friends mean fewer easy opportunities to be social. Gravity has temporarily dragged me into a lonely world.
A family friend recently asked my sister how I was doing, and then seemed surprised when she replied that I'm still very sad a lot of the time and cry often. It got me thinking, if I don't regularly remind the world that I'm missing Dan and still grieving him, will they assume I've 'finished' or was past that 'phase'?
Life marches on so relentlessly. Dave's memory fades as time passes.
The way to make his memory stay clearer would be to pull out his pictures regularly and talk about him constantly. Doing these things can be comforting, but for me, they've also been incredibly painful.
I talk to him still. I think about our life and our love. I look at pictures sometimes. I'll get out his wallet or his watch and hold them. But, not often. That leads to a vortex of frustration and pain and ends with me finding it very hard to breathe.