Life might not be where I wanted as a forty something, childless widow but even I can recognize my privileges and/or blessings within. I call this place, this moment in time; my healing bubble.
First and foremost, my husband, my Beloved, was my absolute best friend and my soul’s mate. We love each other so. I have tremendous faith, love, comfort, peace and confidence acknowledging our bond.
My Beloved had an illness that afforded us time. Within that time we took every advantage; saying everything, expressing every wish, relishing every minute, sharing every ounce of respect and love. He passed in our home with me. Since his passing my pup and I have moved into a home that my Beloved and I purchased together. He gave me a safe space with only beautiful memories. As we watched it being built we referred to it as “The House of Hope”. I can walk within its walls without recollecting his last breath in a particular space. I see him laughing, smiling and filled with hope in this space. The hope may have been for just me but it was hope nonetheless. The town is the perfect size, not too much hustle or bustle. My neighborhood resides near a park and river. I can learn daily from nature when I walk our pup or he walks me.
I work from home. I was able to be with my Beloved 24/7 for approximately 40 months post diagnosis. We were able to move to a new city for better care. I was able to work while taking him to appointments or staying with him at the hospital. I was able to sustain and have the stability of my job. Since his passing I can stay in my Beloved’s clothes as long as I want. I can choose not to shower. I can choose to talk to someone or just our four legged furry child. I can pull myself together briefly enough for a conference call or whatever I have the courage to throw myself into that day, week or month. I can walk around without everyone knowing and ease into sharing. It is my schedule. And at nights, I can fill the 30,000 plus seconds with wine, “Downton Abbey”, “P.S. I love you”, various podcasts, “Tonight I wanna cry” by Keith Urban or “Sometimes I cry” by Chris Stapleton. Whatever I want, as many times as I want; I can grieve safely in my own space.
I am still very close despite distance to my in laws so I can return to my Beloved’s home and I will always be his wife there. We talk and text and sometimes they visit or we travel together but I can hear and see them in him. I have even spent holidays with them and they’ve given me the opportunity to talk of my Beloved while crying or sometimes laughing with a fun, shared memory. They have even supported and encouraged me as I navigate the waters of returning to life, which may at times, include dating. Although we may not be blood, they are still very much my family and act accordingly.
I’ve been able to serve as a mentor to spouses via the American Brain Tumor Association. This has afforded me the ability to utilize the knowledge in a purposeful manner. I cannot provide a cure but I can give a knowing ear or advice on what to expect. My Beloved participated in a clinical trial so that knowledge would be gained via his journey; this is yet another way I honor him.
Other than my pup almost losing his hearing when his Daddy passed, a minor spinal column surgery and an exposure to a disease requiring 9 months of treatment; we’ve been pretty good from a health perspective and when we were not I could rely on my healthy mother. Speaking of my healthy mother, our relationship rekindled under the widow bond. You look for the positives within even the most negative space.
About six months after my Beloved’s passing a new grief group started for younger widows. I have met such beautiful people through our bittersweet journeys.
They have become my heroes. We may all be in some semblance of “widow’s fog” (the grey haze within our brains where knowledge and love and clarity once resided). They have to do and function within their own spaces or totally recreate their lives. I do not know if I would have had the strength or courage to do. Due to their families or jobs or lives they have not had the same “freedoms” within their 86,400 seconds per day as I.
I’ve been able to create a definition of success within this journey, some days it has been defined by taking a shower, engaging in a conversation with a stranger, some days it is a fantastic day at my job or a work out that leaves me drenched in sweat.
Whatever your journey, whomever you are grieving, I have no words that can explain why it happened or how you are going to get through but what I can tell you is that any step is progress. Afford yourself grace as you process. Know that the mental and/or emotional work you are doing is work and while you may not have energy to shower that day. Processing your feelings may be the exact amount of energy you needed to expend. You could bury your head under the covers and never face the world again but the fact that you are reading this for a semblance of guidance or hope or direction means that you are trying . . . . . Trying to face your new “normal”. WELL DONE YOU . . . . if you decide to go back to bed that is your choice, when you walk again it will be in your shoes, whatever the step, wherever the direction. You have the ability to create a mini healing bubble in your life too.
Lately the song that has been playing in the healing bubble exudes that feeling of the house of hope; “Coming around again” Carly Simon. Here’s to your healing, your space, your journey . . .