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.
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.
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.
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.