On the way home the other night, I was asked out by my uber driver.
No, that is not the intro to a bad joke, it actually happened.
Romance at its finest, right? I literally laughed out loud. And then almost threw up in my mouth. And no, not because of the alcohol I consumed, and not because I was appalled by my driver or anything (although I’m sure I am one of many ladies he has probably made the same moves on…) However, after explaining to him that I am all sorts of who the hell knows at this point and still madly in love with my dead husband, I am fairly certain I scared him enough to never ask out another one of his passengers ever again.
Sorry about that uber man.
Alas, it got me thinking about widowhood and that terrifying “D” word. I know there are many “D” words out there that I could be referring to, but tonight I am referring to just one…
The truth is I never had to date. I literally married my one and only boyfriend, and we became best friends first. Being a widow at 31 however, compels my mind to wander down that dark alleyway that is dating. Curiosity and a hefty amount of wine have even prompted me to activate a tinder account a handful of times…an account I have promptly deleted upon waking in the morning, annoyed at the alcohol induced stupidity of the idea. “What’s out there?” the wine seems to ask when I’m in my most vulnerable state, alone in bed next to the empty spot that was his side.
I miss my man. I miss what it felt like to be somebody’s girl. I miss the touching. The hugs. The kisses that I could consume anytime I wanted because he was mine. The strong arms at the and of the day that just made me breathe a little easier. I miss intimacy…Beyond just the obvious aspect of sex…I miss that level of a connection when you can literally feel your heart beat a little bit stronger just by being around that person. I miss laying in bed with our legs intertwined, not even having to talk because the comfort of just being next to each other was enough to lull me into a peaceful rest each night. I miss the masculine smells…The way he’d run a towel through his hair after exiting the shower and the strength he exuded as he studied his reflection in the mirror, shaving that five o’clock shadow I loved so much. I miss watching him cook next to me in the kitchen or mow the lawn. I miss our conversations and laughing together. I miss watching him get dressed in the morning or undressed each night. I miss his voice. His strength. I miss watching him be a father. I miss it all.
I miss being a girl who was loved by a boy.
Embarrassingly, I will admit that somedays I fantasize about throwing myself at the next eligible bachelor I see and beg him to make me feel whole again. Somedays I fantasize about falling into arms strong enough to make all the broken pieces of my heart mold back together. Somedays I fantasize about finding somebody willing to love me despite the emptiness I have felt since my world was flipped upside down. I desperately want what I had, but I realize all of those scenarios are just that…fantasies. Fantasies that actually would help with nothing in the long run. The fact is, my heart shattered into itty bitty, tiny, little pieces on September 29th 2017…Most of which still remain on the emergency room floor where my husband’s heart stopped beating.
I have read the romance novels. I have seen the happily ever afters on the big screen… Hell, my dream is to still be a romance author someday (a dream long before Nate even passed which makes the cruel irony of my current state of widowhood even more crazy). But despite the daily question of “is this really my life now?” I have come to acknowledge that despite the surrealness of widowhood, this isn’t a movie. This isn’t a book. This is indeed my life. And this is me… Broken heart and all. Nobody is going to hug or love the pain away. The reality is that I have to figure out how to love myself on my own two feet before I can accept love from somewhere else.
Being with Nate was so simple. We made each other stronger in every aspect of our life together, so walking without him in this world is the biggest challenge of my life. But as I look back at our life together, I have come to realize Nate didn’t make me, me. He simply nourished and loved the woman I grew to become as I grew alongside him. After being together for so long, much of my identity molded into his wife, but at the core there has always been the woman he fell in love with. I know that woman is still there even though I am now Nate’s widow instead of his wife. Figuring out who she is without him seems impossible at times, but I am beginning to understand that this is all apart of this unforeseen chapter in my life.
Truthfully, I don’t know if the “D” word will ever not terrify me. The idea of being alone the rest of my life is daunting; however, slowly I am beginning to discover that I alone am the seamstress responsible for sewing the pieces back together of my own heart…I am beginning to discover that the pieces will be different. Irrevocably altered. And while Nate is still at the core, I need to discover a way to build and expand upon the love he gave me. And I know now it will be different because I am already different…each day I feel a distance forming between the woman I was on the morning of September 28th to the woman I am now.
I am nowhere close to finishing the tapestry that is the shredded pieces of my heart…But I am beginning to realize that there really probably is no finishing…there is simply building and expanding upon what is left.
So tomorrow I am going to try to continue to build and expand….For my son and for myself. I am the author of my own happily ever after, and while I wish with every ounce of my being that that would have included growing old and grey next to Nate, I wasn’t given a choice.
Chapter one of my new life started on September 29th of 2017…I have no clue how this story ends or when or if my heart will ever mend enough to explore that scary “D” word, but I now see the importance of turning the pages in order to find out.