Some days I just don’t want to.

I don’t want to leave the house.

I don’t want to follow through on obligations or promises.

I don’t wanna anymore.

When I feel this way, I wish someone would yank me out of the house. But, there isn’t anyone. My friends fall into two categories: his (our) friends and work friends. Everyone’s friend situation is different, but I don’t have that one close friend that would show up at my door and pull me out. I want so badly for HIM to be here to say, “Ready? Let’s go!”  But, I have to be my own motivator, I have to pull myself out the door, and it’s so hard.

He’s been gone 21 months, almost 2 years. It seems like last week, but I know it’s been longer than that because living without him has gotten easier. I don’t wake up crying every morning. I’m learning how to spend my time in meaningful ways, and I’m doing things for myself that I wouldn’t have taken the time to do if he were still alive.

But, I still have mornings when I wake up crying. I still have days when I want to be a recluse. And, July had been particularly difficult. 

  • This month, I spent a night crying so hard it physically hurt. The kind of crying when you inhale so deeply and hold your breath for so long through a wail that it seems like you’ll never take another breath again. I missed him that much, and of course there was a trigger–going somewhere we used to visit together.
  • This month, I have had the luxury of not having to wake up to an alarm, so I’ve spent every morning lying in bed, imagining him there. I pretended until my poor dogs couldn’t hold it any longer. Even then, after I’d let them out, some mornings I’d go back to bed to pretend a little more.
  • This week held the anniversary of his marriage proposal. I spent that day in a dream, closing my eyes several times, trying to remember every detail, every word he spoke in that moment. I didn’t do much else that day.

    He proposed to me at the pond, and we got married there. After the ceremony, we both jumped in off of the dock’s high dive.

As July comes to a close, I have free tickets to an outdoor music festival that I had been looking forward to. Todd (we) loved this festival, but suddenly, I don’t want to go. I’m sure it’s a trigger my brain wants to avoid, but being aware of that doesn’t make it any easier to get in the truck and go. His friends and family will be there, but knowing that I won’t have to sit by myself doesn’t make getting out the door any easier either.

I turned to my Hope sisters in the closed Facebook group for empathy and found wonderful encouragement. (If you haven’t checked this group out, I highly recommend doing so for daily support!) One sister said, “Strength is on the other side of going.”  Wow–does that ring true!! When we “don’t wanna” anymore, sometimes we have to because the choice to continue to remain lonely and reclusive spirals into more loneliness and regret.

So, I’m going to be gentle with myself and compromise. It’s a two-day event. I’ll attend the second day. Instead of wishing someone would offer me a ride, I’ll reach out and ask one of our family members. Then, I’m going to psych myself up by repeating “Strength is on the other side of going. Strength is on the other side of doing” until I step out of my front door.

About 

Sue Leathers is an English teacher and mother of two daughters, 19 and 22. She had a huge crush on her husband Todd Kleffman, a journalist, when she was in high school, and she'd save his columns and stories. Decades later, she and Todd found each other through Facebook. He was the love of her life, her high school crush, and she was his biggest fan. She lost Todd in October 2017 to a heart attack. She has found solace in Hope for Widows and in writing of her own journey, and hopes to help other widows not feel alone by sharing her experiences here.

Sue can be found on Instagram: @susanjanie