I am a widow. I find I have to repeat the phrase several times a day. I can’t believe it. I still cannot believe it. On forms where you designate marital status – I now have to check “W”. I’ve spent the majority of my life and nearly all my adult life as an “M”. I do not know how to be a single person, let alone a widowed person.
After the accident, I did not even think I could breathe without my beloved. I didn’t even want to. But breathe I did…and I surprised myself with my strength. I was numb, bruised, disoriented, and incredibly heartbroken – but the sun continued to come up every day and life continued on for those of us left behind. But what a painful life it was in its emptiness. I thought that grief would crush me. I felt as though I was swimming to the surface of a murky pool of sadness and misery, and sometimes I felt I was being pulled backward. But I kept swimming, struggling. At the surface would be the things I would need to survive: healing, peace, love, hope, and strength.
I learned to do a lot of things that he had always taken care of. I navigated forms, accounts, procedures and processes I never dreamed even existed. I learned about “primary account holders” and credit cards that can be cut off while you are stranded in Nebraska waiting for your husband’s remains. I wrote his obituary, and planned a celebration of life, even though I could not celebrate. Did not want to celebrate. I just wanted him back. I wanted my family to be whole again. I wanted to be an “M” again.
I forgot our joint bank account number – and learned that account will have to be closed anyway because he was the account owner. I learned that people that I didn’t even know prayed for me and for my family. I learned that what I had always believed, was true – things don’t matter, people do. I learned that a traumatic event can be relived over and over again – with or without triggers, and with or without being awake. I learned that just because your heart is already broken, doesn’t mean it can’t break again every day when you wake up alone, or go to bed alone…or try to read a note he wrote in his incredibly sloppy handwriting.
I don’t sleep. I don’t even want to most of the time. I’m afraid of what I’ll dream. I sleep with one of his t-shirts, with a book he gave me under my pillow “100 Reasons I Love You”. His things, his books, pictures, clothing – all of it brings me comfort and smiles – but is just as likely to turn to tears when it hits me again, like a fist to the stomach. He is not coming back. I’ll never kiss him again or feel his arms around me. I’ll never hear his voice again, or smell his clean, soap smell. Never again in this lifetime.
I have given up trying to understand. There is no understanding a freak injury in a freak accident. There is only acceptance. Acceptance of the fact that I am now wobbling my way, weary and weepy, through this wretched state of widowhood.
I am still on my feet and I no longer wish I had died there alongside the highway – lying in the median beside him. I am glad to be alive and want to really start living again instead of just breathing and going through the motions. It is going to be a long, and very slow process with many hills and valleys and I’m sure to stumble along the way. But I’ll keep moving forward.
Widows wobble but they don’t fall down…