I often hear people say to their spouse I can’t imagine life without you. But unfortunately, I can. And so can my widowed friends.
When I met my late husband, he was considered terminally ill. He had cystic fibrosis and was waiting for a lung transplant. We knew the chance of him dying before me was very real. We knew that our time on this earth together would be limited. But even though my head knew that, my heart could not imagine life without him.
On our wedding day, I envisioned us as an old couple sitting on the front porch watching our grandchildren play. As I watched my husband hold our son as a newborn, I envisioned him holding our first grandchild. When we would take vacations with our family of three, I would imagine our vacations in the future when my son would bring his family. It was very easy to picture our future together. Because I couldn’t imagine life without him.
When I would have those visions, my head would say that’s probably not going to happen but my heart would say enjoy the possibility. Wishing it to be true.
When my late husband died, I still envisioned our life together. Our future. And it hurt so much to know for certain it would never happen. He would not be there. That I would have to live my life without him.
Almost 7 years later and it starts. Hurts to know all that he has missed. And all that he will continue to not be present to witness. Yep, I still envision our life together. Think about what our future could have been. What life would be like now if he were still here.
But, honestly, that is getting more difficult to do. Because I have changed so much in seven years. Our son has changed. Our lives have changed. We are different because of our loss. Our life is different because our loss changed us.
Part of being a remarried widow is that I can imagine life without my new spouse. It doesn’t mean I want to. It means I know the reality of death. And I know that there’s a chance that I will have to live this life without my new husband. Because I have already done it once.
Just as with my late husband, I envision my future with my new husband. And I don’t let the fact that death is a possibility stop me from living my life to the fullest. And that includes looking towards the future.
Instead I choose to enjoy this life. Enjoy each moment. And I choose to enjoy what our future might be. Because that gives me hope.
Just because I can imagine life without him, but I don’t want to.