Three Months

Three Months

The math indicated that they’d embrace
in another world, if at all, like parallel lines.
Or merely appear kindred and close, like stars.

“John & Mary” by Stephen Dunn

Leading up to the one month and the two month post, I felt like I knew what I wanted to say fairly clearly. Now time passes in ways I don’t always understand, and things are more jumbled. They’re not worse or even all that bad at times, but they are confusing.

I’ve said it before, but this process is not linear. Some weeks I will be barely able to function at a level above showing up to work, faking a smile and taking care of the animals. Others (like this week) are much more doable. My emotions seem to be a lot like the tension on thick rubber band. It will stretch and strain as I fall into my sadness, but eventually that rubber can’t take anymore and snaps in two. When it snaps, I feel free and almost joyful.

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You’re probably thinking that widows aren’t “supposed” to feel joyful, especially after three months, but you can’t spiral into your own sadness either. I read an awesome article written by another young widow two years after her husband suddenly died, and she sums up how I feel very well here:

When you experience a loss like this, you get to see a really wild new amount of life. Suddenly the range of the type of sad you can feel, to the type of happy you can feel, is busted open. The spectrum from happy to sad isn’t a foot wide anymore — it’s as far as your arms can stretch and then to the edges of the room and then up the block and over into the next neighborhood.

To state this plainly, I feel a lot more than I used to… in either direction.

Even immediately after Tim died, I didn’t think I would have a problem being on my own. Of course I was devastated and sad beyond comprehension, but I didn’t think to myself “How will I be able to be on my own?” There are logistic and financial challenges I’m slowly sorting through, but I’m getting there.

For the first time in my life, I’m living by myself and I love living by myself. I am the captain of my own little 923 square foot universe. If Tim were to magically come back from the dead tomorrow, I would give him a huge hug and a kiss and tell him I was so unbelievably happy to see him. I would also ask him to get the apartment next door.

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Tragedy shows you who your true friends & family are in life. I admit, I am surprised at what has shaken out from all of this. For a short while, I mourned the loss of those I thought I could rely on but then I realized how incredible the people are who are left standing by me. I couldn’t ask for a better support system through this, including local, long distance and even online friends. Every day I consider myself lucky.

In the first few months, I felt like I was married to a dead person. Nothing about my mindset or daily habits changed. I tried to preserve what Tim would have liked or what we would have done in my married life, and I felt very tied to him physically and emotionally. Now things slowly shift from being married to a dead person to having married someone who was dead. I feel more single. This is not to say that I want to start dating or have a timeline – so, so far from it. I will probably punch the first (and second) person who asks me, “So are you dating again?” You’ve been warned.

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I still miss him every day. I always will, without question. Sometimes it’s a sharp stab, but more often a dull ache. When I had a minor incident to deal with at work this week, my first instinct was to talk things over with Tim when I got home. I miss my best friend who was also the smartest person I knew. There hasn’t been a decision I’ve made in 9 years that I haven’t discussed with him to some extent (even purchasing horse tack and tall boots… the man was patient). I know I can make decisions and handle things on my own, but I miss that support.

At the same time, I’m solidly moving forward now. Gone are the days where I would have given anything to turn back the clock. It’s still hard for me to accept that this amazing person is no longer physically a part of the earth. While that thought processes continues to settle in my brain, I have accepted my state in the world. The only reason I have done so well schlepping through this all so far is because I know what it feels like to be loved that completely.

23 thoughts on “Three Months

  1. <3

    So glad you took the time/expense to have those lovely pictures taken with Tim and Simon when you did. What a treasure to have things like that.

    And yes, that means I'm scheduling something.

    1. Yes, do! It was one of those spur of the moment “why not?” decisions but I’m so happy I have them. Besides these, the only nice photos I have of him are from our wedding or stuff I took myself.

    2. I also love all those pictures of you, Tim, and Simon. And is that a puppy Pascal?

      I have hundreds upon thousands of pictures of my pets, but not very many of the important people in my life. You’ve inspired me to work on changing that.

  2. This post feels like a slight shift from “you’ll get through this,” to “you’re getting through this.” Of course there are weeks and days where you can just barely cope, but I’m glad to hear that’s not every day. I loved that article you quoted in this post, it was so honest and clever. I am so happy to be one of the online, peripheral members of your support system. You’re kind of awesome (even if some days you feel anything but).

  3. I’m chronically single and I’m quite certain I am just fine living all by myself. Should I meet the one… he can live in the guest house right?

    I’m glad you’re feeling that shift in your mourning. It doesn’t change the past or mean you love Tim any less. It just means you’re going to be ok. And if anyone thinks it’s not appropriate for you to feel joy, please punch them in the face for me. (And feel mad joy in that too!)

  4. Maybe this is weird, but I really love seeing photos of Tim (especially you and Tim together!). It shows your relationship and personalities so well.

  5. I don’t believe that there is any certain way that you are supposed to feel. You can’t live your life based on what others think. If you feel joyful then feel joyful. You can’t let your own life slip away just because someone else thinks you should be mourning in a dark corner somewhere.
    So happy to hear that things are getting better for you. Hugs.

  6. Living alone is definitely great, especially with the dogs to help if you feel a bit lonely. I can’t wait until Joseph finally moves in, but I will miss having my whole apartment to myself when I want quiet alone time.

  7. that analogy of feeling so much more on the spectrum between pain and joy is very powerful – it certainly makes a lot of sense. also glad to hear you are feeling so good about being ‘captain’ of your current life and space.

  8. It really sucks to say it, but Tragedy on many levels provides many gifts. As you put it, you realize who rallies around you in your time of need, you realize the people who try to exploit you. And at that moment because of what you are going through, you are somehow better able to shed the things and people and ideas that no longer serve you. Habits, and Traditions and even entire ways of living. You are able to streamline and get at a concentrated core, and from there you evolve and adapt and are somehow freer than before. Forever changed.

  9. I can relate, but in a different sort of way. With the divorce finally final, yes I am single now too. There is a certain amount of freedom to be found in this. Like you said, it seems far greater now, than it was before. It’s weird how being loved so much by someone seems to limit us in some ways.

    Agreed that you certainly do find out who your friends are. True friends, not just the people who ‘friend’ you on FB kind of ‘friends’ or the people you see once in a while but call themselves your ‘bestie’ kind of friends…. I lost plenty of those, but I find myself asking, “Was it really a loss?”

    When and IF you ever decide to start dating again- is really none of anybody’s business. You don’t have to appease anyone or even answer the question should somebody be bold enough to ask. One of my favorite quotes and this has become my mantra at times- “Sometimes the most enlightened response is: Fuck Off!”

  10. You are explaining exactly what my grandma would tell me after my grandpa passed away. She likes having the house to her and doing her own things and having her quiet time. Of course, she misses my grandpa, but things are in a place where she can enjoy them. I also really enjoy the pictures of Tim, and I am getting a kick out of that llama pic and tiny Pascale!

  11. I think that it’s interesting how when people split up (whether it be thru divorce or death) they almost rediscover themselves. Being with another human is very…. time-consuming and it truly takes everything you have (not in a bad way!!). You become devoted to this person and you suddenly have not only your own interests, likes, etc, you also have this person’s interests and likes that you need to support.

    It’s interesting and I’m glad you are coming “out of your shell” so to speak.

  12. OMG people have not asked you if you are dating again!!!

    Love this post and I am glad that you are able to find joy – even if it’s just at times!

  13. It is crazy how a huge event in your life really does shake out people who you thought were friends and would always be there- but you are definitely better off knowing who you can really count on or not!

    Also your posts about going through this process has really helped me connect with my father-in-law recently. My mother-in-law just pasted away from a very aggressive cancer (she was diagnosed end of May) and father in law has been running through the emotional gamete. I have shared your story and I think he feels some comfort knowing that he is not alone feeling all the different emotions. Thank you for being as open as you are because I’m sure you are helping others that might not be posting on your blog but are reading every word.

  14. As someone who also loves loves living alone, I giggled a lot at this: I would give him a huge hug and a kiss and tell him I was so unbelievably happy to see him. I would also ask him to get the apartment next door.

    Living alone seems scary, but omg, it’s so terrific. Dogs definitely improve it though. 😉

  15. I had no idea what you were going through until Marissa told me. I am so very sorry for your loss, for everything you’ve had to go through, that you are no navigating life without your best friend. I’m so thankful you have the support of the herd and Simon. You are so brave for sharing everything as you go through this journey. You are an amazing person.

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