This is Getting Old

This whole widow thing is getting old.  I just want to be like the other women my age who are casually going about their "normal" lives.  I want to be like the women who are busy raising their kids, getting scheduled manicures in between loads of laundry and maintaining a successful career.  I want to be like the women who are planning romantic weekend get aways - without the kids - because finally the kids are old enough to stay home alone.  I want to be like the woman who hosts intimate dinner parties inspired by Pinterest.  I want Mike and I to sit around the dining table with other couples who are enjoying the good life. 

In truth, I used to be this woman.  I had this life before, and I want it back.  I kept myself busy with work and family and somewhere in between all this, Mike and I were mentally preparing to be empty nesters in a few short years.  We had a charmed life.  And, I admit, I didn't do anything particular to deserve this beautiful life; but, nonetheless,  I had it with Mike.  Our shared life was a fairytale come true.  Suffice to say that my former life was a hell of a lot more enjoyable than being a widow.  I want to return to this place in time when I thought about going on cruises and travelling abroad with my husband.  Okay, leave the travelling aspirations aside, I want just one thing.  I want a husband who is not dead. But, mine is and no amount of wishing will change this.

Still, I want to participate in retirement discussions with my coworkers instead of leaving the staffroom because their words sting my ears and hurt my heart.  I want to sit on the well worn office couches and proceed to shamelessly gush about our retirement plans with my colleagues while I recieve text messages from Mike because he knows that it is my lunch break.  I want to be in the club again.  I desperately miss being part of a couple because it grants you entrance into these types of conversation.  I yearn to live in a reality where I am looking forward to spending Mike's retirement with him - but, I don't.   All of this stuff is just a daydream in my head because Mike died before he even got to retire.  For us, there will not be any retirement years spent together.  There are no more years.  There is no more anything.   There is nothing.

There will be no trips abroad together.  Mike and I will never lay together on another beach.  We will not stroll hand in hand down the cobble stone streets of some far away place.  We will not leisurely walk through an open air market in Thailand because Mike isn't here anymore.  We can't stop to eat some exotic street food made with dodgy ingredients that were harvested just that day because he is gone from this reality.  Never again will I hear Mike make one of his impulsive, uncouth, crazy comments as he excitedly experiences all these places we will never go.  I can never witness Mike talking to a man selling doughnuts on a beach in Mexico again.  (The best part of this memory is that Mike hates doughnuts. He would never eat one - especially not on the beach when it is over 100 degrees.  But, Mike loved people and he wanted to know about this guy who was trying to sell doughnuts on a beach when it was hot AF.)

In this new life of mine, Mike is only a memory.  He can not wake up and have coffee with me in my kitchen or some dreamy place along the Amalfi Coast.  We will not sit together on a balcony of a boutique hotel in Santorini.  We can not get lost in conversation as we drink red wine while we watch the sun go down over the ocean in Crete.  He can not lean over and kiss me and tell me how "Beautiful" I am while we wander through a vineyard somewhere in the South of France.  We can not get blind drunk in an Irish pub and stumble back to our hotel room.  I can't stand in the Scottish Highlands with Mike and listen to him tell me about his Scottishness.  We can not go anywhere in this world anymore because he is gone from here. 

What a cruddy reality this is.  My future is nothing like the one we had planned.  There will be no cruises with my husband.  The year following his death, there was no trip to Hawaii in the Spring and we never went to Italy like we planned for my son's graduation.  Sure, I am self sufficient.  I will take myself on a cruise one day.  And, I will sit on a beach in Hawaii; but, while I do this a piece of me will wish that I was there with the man I love.  And, yes, someday I will go to Paris and stand under the Eiffel Tower at night; but Mike will not physically be with me like I imagined.  The way I constructed all of this in my head will never come to be.  Like you, I have been forced to live a future that is radically different from the one I had planned.  In our shared plans, Mike was going to live until he was 99 just like his Grand Dad, except he didn't. 

So now what?  Now, I spend my weekends alone and occasionally I go to the grave with a bottle of wine and shoot the shit with my dead fiance.  I guess maybe I am pouting and getting lost in the past.  But, it isn't easy to adapt to this altered reality.  I'm trying.  I do make plans and engage with my friends, but usually on the drive home from these activities I feel absolutely empty.  Having dinner with a divorced girlfriend, or meeting one of my married friends for brunch because her husband happens to be away for the weekend is not as fulfilling as sharing my life with Mike.  How could it be.  Being in a loving relationship and sharing your life with another human being is what makes life full.  The huge void inside me can not be filled with a well made eggs benny brunch or a savoury steak dinner at a classy restaurant with a group of girlfriends.  All of this rings utterly hollow in comparison to my former life.

 

I am so tired of living this widow life. 

It is mostly empty.  And, most days, it is inadequate in comparison to the life that I shared with Mike. 

There I said it. 

And, I feel poorly about admitting this because earlier this month I blogged about seeking JOY in 2019;

and, so far this blog is far from joyful.  However, what it lacks in joy, it makes up for in truth and honesty. 

 

 

*I am mainly done my tantrum against widowhood. If you read further I will spin this to be more hopeful...

In this blog, the truth has spilled from me and onto the page, but this isn't enough.  For me, it is not enough to say something sucks; and then, to proceed to have no solutions.  Yes, I admitted that being a widow is terrible.  This is nothing you haven't already figured out. 

I have a tendency for being extraordinarily truthful.  And, this blog is no exception. I have bluntly stated my truth - but, in and of itself,  that doesn't accomplish much of anything.  The real question is now what the hell do I do about all this truth? 

If I don't make an effort to improve my life who will.  No one can make this better for me.  It is up to me to get on with it and attempt to LIVE again.  But, here is the thing, I am tired.  I am exhausted from trying to be hopeful.  I am tired of trying to convince myself that life will be okay without him.  I'm tired of missing him.  Two years into this mess, I am just f@cking tired.

 

Life doesn't care that I am tired.  And, maybe this is a good thing.  Like you, I am forced to continue.  Even with a heavy heart, I still have to live up to my responsibilities.  I have children to raise and things to accomplish.  I still have a life to live whether I am up for it or not.  The survivor in me attempts to seize all the living in front of me.  It's the smart thing to do.   Mike would do anything to have a shot at a longer life with me.  He wouldn't waste a moment of it.  So, who am I to sit here pouting about what will not be.  Really, what is the point of wishing for my old life back.  It died with him. 

 

I have got to recreate something for myself now.  But, it is complicated because I want him back.  Mike wasn't supposed to die.  We had a wedding planned and a house to move into and a life to share together.  I wasn't done loving him.  But, I don't get a say in this and neither did he.  Mike is dead.  Our life together died with him; and nothing can be done to change it.  The only thing left to do is for me to accept the permanence of his deadness and reconstruct a life of my own.  

I'm working on it,

 

Staci


Showing 16 reactions

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  • Staci Sulin
    commented 2019-02-03 17:10:50 -0800
    Suzanne, The future is not the one we imagined, that’s for sure. All the changes are overwhelming and the shared responsiblities that are now soley ours are anxiety provoking. I get it. I am no different than you, I often ask myself what I am going to do?

    When I get overwhelmed, I try to remember Mike’s advice and just take things “day by day”. Somehow, we will all make it through this mess. And, I think we will recreate a good life again. I know it is not the life we imagined, but it still can be a life worth living. ~S.
  • Staci Sulin
    commented 2019-02-03 17:04:40 -0800
    Linda, Thank you for sharing a small piece of your story and a big part of your heart. I know how awful it feels to lose a love that gave you so much joy. This new life is not for the faint of heart. And, finding our way back towards life is not easy, but I know it can be done with hard work. Best to you, ~S.
  • Suzanne Dahl-Crumpler
    commented 2019-01-23 01:24:41 -0800
    Holy smokes could have written these exact words

    My husband suprised us both when he suddenly died. Now I am trying to move myself they grief and two young adult children

    My biggest fear it what the rest of life looks like

    Today’s mission thru the next svsral years is college for the kids

    But after that… what? What do I do for the rest of my life

    We too had a perfect life even inspite of going thru childhood cancer with my daughter 11 years ago. Dang we beat that… to get this??!!!
  • Linda Oesterle
    commented 2019-01-22 20:11:43 -0800
    This is so what I’m going through right now. Tears streamed down my face as I read this…This is my life right now. 40 years of a wonderful life and marriage with my loving husband. Traveling, laughing, raising our daughter all together. Now nothing but emptiness and not knowing how to move ahead. Next month will be 2 years without him physically by my side. I’m having difficulty in accepting the “permanence of his deadness and reconstructing a life of my own.” Not sure how to go about it or even if I want to :(
  • Linda Poehler
    commented 2019-01-22 18:08:29 -0800
    I feel like I could have written this. It took me 42 years to find my soulmate and I had the best life. The life I deserved finally. My life had been so hard with abuse and illness and financial hardship and I met him and I had my aha moment when I finally knew what all of the hardship was leading up to. Then right before we are to be married…he died. I had the greatest 10 years of my life with him. So full of love and experiences that I never could have imagined. Now its gone and I give up. There is nothing for me now and the worst part is, I dont even want anything anymore. I just survive…but don’t really live. My kids have had such heartache I could never do anything else to hurt them, but I feel like I am already gone. Life is hard all over again and after the last 10 years I know it shouldnt always be this hard or sad. I still love Paul and my memories and that will have to be enough for this lifetime.
  • Staci Sulin
    commented 2019-01-20 17:39:03 -0800
    Scott, So much about me has changed since Mike died. Including that I don’t find much ironic anymore… The last two years have shown me that there are no coincidences.
    Best to you ~S.
  • Staci Sulin
    commented 2019-01-20 17:36:22 -0800
    Caroline, I know. You are not alone. The people here at SSI understand your heart. ~S.
  • Caroline Wilson
    commented 2019-01-20 01:14:24 -0800
    So true and well written. I am sick of this new life too.
  • indie
    commented 2019-01-19 23:49:38 -0800
    Staci- You’re young and have a whole life ahead of you. I’m plenty old enough to know I don’t need nor want anything else. I don’t need to try and create joy. I know how it is created and I am fine without it. Its not being melodramatic or pessimistic. Its being honest. I am not about to try and pretend I will find some magic that will bring it back into my life. My life with my husband was EVERYTHING. HE was beauty, nature, excitement, happiness, contrast, stillness, vibration and most importantly, he knew me and wherever he is he understands my need to be with him. Now life is just making money to pay bills. Its just fact. I am ready to escape the burden of living without the one person who made life worth living. Some of us simply don’t require more of this life without our beloved.
  • Scott Mosher
    commented 2019-01-19 20:51:08 -0800
    I find it ironic that you closed with: ’I’m working on it’. My wife and I were best friends, but she absolutely hated it whenever I came back at her with that whole: ’I’m working on it’ phrase❣ ;-)
  • Staci Sulin
    commented 2019-01-17 11:53:21 -0800
    Don, Yes. Yes it does. But, there are some silver linings in this mess. Look for them. ~S.
  • Staci Sulin
    commented 2019-01-17 11:52:41 -0800
    Laren, I know you are so sad. This is awful and terrible and hard to live through. But, many of us here in this community prove that it is possible to outlive the person you love and still, somehow, recreate a life that is good – although different from the one you imagined. Best to you as you carry forward. ~S.
  • Staci Sulin
    commented 2019-01-17 11:50:31 -0800
    Indie, Life is what we make it of it. Joy does not always come easily, but I think seeking it remains important especially now without our beloveds. ~S.
  • Laren Tolbert
    commented 2019-01-16 11:46:34 -0800
    It’s been almost one year for me. Getting through Christmas was hard. I’m hoping the anniversary date will help things get easier. Everything from now on is second. There were things we planned to do together, but we did a lot already and now repeating those activities just reminds me of her. I have overcome most of my loneliness, but that has been replaced by an incredible sadness. She was my rock, my reason for living. I try to keep going for my kids and grandkids, but my heart’s not in it. My heart went up in smoke with her body. I am so sad.
  • indie
    commented 2019-01-15 21:55:14 -0800
    Good luck with it all Staci…….I’m six years into it and as much as I force myself to reconstruct, and do, and pretend and think that somehow it will change and life will become something more than paying bills and doing tasks, it wont. I know that.

    I want my husband back and like you emphasized “I wasn’t done loving him” is the most apparent obstacle to coping. I get through days but not with any purpose or desire.
    I’ve studied physics since his death and I am convinced there is something
    out there (of him) but in this form I will never be able to reconnect so what is there? What there is, for me at my age, is to make the time spent here as short as I can. No medical interventions for anything. Its my best hope to be able to leave this prison of emptiness and whether or not he is there I know for sure he is not here. I look forward to own death but then I don’t have youth, never had children, and have no other ties. I am ready.
  • Don Yacona
    commented 2019-01-14 11:17:42 -0800
    This “life” sucks