There are many things I do not like doing… things that were not supposed to be mine to do. When you lose a spouse, you are so consumed with your grief that you don’t realize for months or possibly years all the things he did for you around the house, in the yard, and more.
Here is the timeline I have lived.
The first year you live in total shock. I remember about a month after losing Douglas I had a dear friend come to the house to check on me. We sat in the living room with many tears shed by both of us, Doug had chosen him to be the executor of his will. He looked at me and said I have one piece of advice to give you, with a long pause he continued. I need you to not make any big decisions for the next year. No selling your house, no buying a house, no buying a new car, no elaborate trips, no big decisions with your business. I remember sitting there thinking well duh… why would I do any of that.
Now 6 years of living life as a widow I am grateful for the advice he gave me. Decisions made during a state of shock would not be wise decisions. You live numb, I mean that numb where you feel nothing. Now, wait… you do still feel the excruciating pain of a broken heart. But words don’t make sense, confusion is every day, and grief brain fog… that shit is REAL!
Year 2 rapidly approaches, and you start giving yourself the pep talk.
You got this! You have survived a whole year girlfriend! Keep moving forward, repeat after me
KEEP. MOVING. FORWARD.
As you start traveling in year 2 the pain seems to worsen, the heartache feels agonizing, and words spoken to you cut deeper. What is going on?! The statement says, “Time heals” Which I now know is not true for me. Time in all actuality makes it a bit harder, because of the time you have spent alone. I discovered year 2 is when the numbness starts to wear off and the prickling sensation of your body “waking” up begins. You now start to truly feel the pain you have been through, the heartache caused by the loss, and the anguish of now living this life alone.
Year 2 WAS HARD!
By the beginning of year 3 life has kept going, you do see you are surviving this life alone. It may not look like you would like it to, and things don’t go as planned, but seriously it hasn’t gone as planned. Very important dates have come and gone. Significant events you always dreamed you’d share with your spouse were attended alone. My year 3 brought the death of my dad. You do have more days with smiles on your face and joy is entering back into your body. Sharing about the life you had with your spouse is easier, not as many tears.
Years 4,5 and 6 mesh together. You are becoming stronger, there is wisdom you have gained. Life as a widow doesn’t seem as scary or as unmanageable. The realization that life does keep moving is starting to set in. Those that said they would check on you, take you to coffee, or have dinner dates have faded away. Most think you have grieved long enough and want you to “move on”.
I am now living year 7 and have come to accept this new journey as a widow. Let me be clear, just because I have come to accept it DOES NOT mean it is easy sailing. It means for 6 years my mind has played tricks on me thinking tomorrow he will walk in the door, and accepting he is not. It means I have had to learn those things I talked about I never wanted to learn, and I am proud of myself for doing it and not allowing it to destroy me. In 6 years, I gained a strength I never knew I had. My faith grew due to the loss of my husband. And I am amazed at what this girl named Jacki can do on her own.
I am not sure what the rest of year 7 will bring, and I have no idea what years 8,9,10,15,17,20, or 25 will bring or take. What I do know is. I will keep moving forward, some days with baby steps. There will forever be a shattered heart that slowly is being put back together differently with cracks and holes. I will miss Douglas for the rest of my life, and I know there will still be days filled with tears and heartache.
Love and Blessings