For fourteen months now I have shared my journey of widowhood as honestly as possible. Though it’s sometimes difficult, attempting to put into words the variety of emotions I feel on a daily basis has helped with the processing of this new life I was handed over a year ago. I remember walking into our house a few hours after Nate died, looking at our wedding photos on the walls, falling into the couch, and immediately feeling as though I was drowning in a depth of loneliness nobody should have to experience. My husband was gone.
Loneliness has changed forms over the past 14 months. There’s the obvious loneliness of missing my Nate with a longing I could never put into words, and then there’s the more general loneliness that comes due to the absence of companionship of a man in general. The holiday season only enhances that loneliness.
Nate and I met when I was 18 and still in high school… I had never dated a single boy and had maybe one kiss, thanks to a truth or dare game when I was in 10th Grade. I was shy…so shy. And awkward. And nieve…So to say I won the lottery when I met Nate would be putting it oh so mildly.
Once upon a time, it was so easy for us…My best friend became my boyfriend, who then became my fiance, who later became my husband, and then eventually became the best baby daddy ever…13 years of life together. 13 years of ups and downs encompassed in a totality of awesomeness because I was living through those ups and downs with a man who quite literally was the bomb.com (he’d roll his eyes at that statement…but furreal…he was pretty spectacular).
Over the past year I have had more opportunities than ever to reflect upon those 13 years, and I have begun to realize how much I began to take all that small stuff for granted…Stuff that not only being married to him gifted me, but stuff that the companionship of man brought me…
The hugs at the end of the day…being wrapped in his strong arms, surrounded by his masculine scent…feeling that slight stubble rest upon my forehead as we melted into one another after spending the day apart.
The comfort of legs entwined at bedtime, falling asleep with the rhythm of his breaths and next to the comfort his always *almost* too warm body.
The playful bantering of female and male companionship and the look on his face when I forced him to admit defeat (which wasn’t often).
The early mornings laying in bed, watching him exit the shower and so studiously shave that short beard he only ever allowed himself to grow over weekends, holidays, or vacations.
The pure masculinity that just exuded from him as he worked on his car or on something around the house. The sweat dripping from his forehead or the concentrated look on his face, trying his damndest to figure out how to solve a problem with no easy solution.
The eyes that would sweep lovingly over my body as I ventured downstairs all dolled up for a date night…the same eyes that never looked at me any differently despite years of marriage and baby weight that left curves and marks my body never quite recovered from.
Reveling in the companionship and love of a man who always made you feel like the woman of his dreams despite all of your faults and insecurities.
The skin on skin of love making, and the way years of it together had allowed us to memorize one another’s bodies like the back of our hands…
And in the same breath, the rawness of sex and discovering new ways to keep it exciting, made all the more better by sharing it with somebody who owned you body and soul.
Being embraced. Being held.
The arguments and the making up.
The beginnings that always ended with him.
Oh, how I miss my man.
Oh, how I miss all of it…
My entire adult life was spent with all of the above at my fingertips, and so this kind of loneliness is all new to me. The longing for companionship hurts…But I am beginning to learn that it also has the ability to strengthen, if I let it. Someone once told me “being alone has power that very few people can handle”…I am beginning to try and revolve my mentality around this idea rather than letting myself drown in despair of loneliness. The truth is I am surrounded by love on a daily basis. My son. My parents. My family. My friends. And Nate’s love still surrounds me despite missing his physical presence everyday. And although I have had to go without all of those things life with my love blessed me with, I. am. learning…
I am learning that nothing is more empowering then accomplishing something on my own that I know Nate would be proud of me for doing. Each step I take in figuring out who I am, along with how I am going to eventually be on my own again with our son, is intimidating and terrifying…but with each class I complete, and each step I take in the direction of our future shows me what I am capable of…And its in those moments that I feel strength. Now and again I get told “you’re so strong” or people say “I don’t know how you do it…” Truly I don’t really know how I do it either, but I do know that I wasnt given a choice. I have met so many other widows and widowers who inspire me on a daily basis and have proven over and over again that to wake up day in and day out to a life we didn’t ask for takes strength. It takes strength to move forward despite the loneliness. It takes strength to feel strong standing on your own two feet while trying to move towards the unknown.
I have gotten to a point where I can admit to myself that I am hopeful that someday I will be able to bask in the beauty of some sort of connection again. I’m human. I’m a woman. And I do long for those things…But I’m also beginning to understand fully the importance of encouraging this idea of loneliness to be more or a strength and not a weakness…
I have a long ways to go when it comes to this journey of widowhood, but each day I discover more about myself and my capabilities. Discovering who I am on my own two feet is so challenging, but I am hopeful that someday down the road I will be able to look at myself in the mirror and think “I did it”.