This week I found myself participating in some very strange widow behavior, searching google earth for images of my husband when he was still alive. It started last week when I was using the program to check an address and noticed there is a sliding time line in Google Earth where you can go back weeks/months/years and see satellite images from previous versions. I was playing around with it and saw that one of the date options was the 24th of July, 2013. The day my husband died.
I immediately entered in the street address where he died and looked to see if there were any police cars, ambulances, etc, but he died at 11am and the sat image was taken around 10:15am. I can't describe the feeling in my stomach, I felt sick but frantic, like I needed to find him. Not sure why, I know I couldn't go back in time but I couldn't switch it off. So I then spent about 45 minutes looking for him in different places and times, at locations where we would often visit.
Until, I found a trace of him. His car parked out side my sister and brother-in-laws house. There were a lot of cars, so I'm assuming we there for some kind of party (but I/we did/do spend an awful lot of time there anyway).
I got so excited, like I'd found him and won some kind of challenge or competition. However as that wore off I just sat there, kind of in shock. Yes it's his car and that satellite image shows a moment in time where my life was normal and innocent and happy, but it doesn't bring him back. He's still gone forever.
Wondering if had crossed the delicate boundary into ‘unhealthy behaviour land’, I turned to the only people who might understand, my widow friends. As usual, their responses were reassuring and comforting – a pretty solid 50/50 mix between ‘yep, I’ve done this too, you’re not losing your mind’ or ‘What a great idea, I can’t believe I didn’t think of it!’.
There are so many layers to this widow thing. After doing it for a year, I thought I had discovered them all. Yet here I am, again surprised by some of the thoughts that flood my mind or the things I do to try and feel close to Dan and to create new memories with him.
I think that's what it's about for me. On the day he died, I lost the chance to create new experiences with him. I feel lucky to have shared some beautiful memories together and will cherish these and hold them dear for the rest of my life. But 20 months is not enough. I want and need more of him.
I create these new memories by pouring through photos of the travels he did around the world in his 20's. Looking at them much more closely than I ever had before. I didn't know him then and wasn't there with him, but I find myself looking for a deeper understanding of who he was and what he did during his 34 years of life.
I also pour through the box of his childhood memories in our spare bedroom. The diary he wrote as a young boy for a school assignment, photos of his school formal, the messages his friends scrawled across his school uniform on their last day, where he was 'school captain' and had the world at his feet.
I just want so much more of him. I miss him so much.