Today makes 5 years. I can’t wrap my head around it. It feels so big and significant. I know it is just another anniversary year, but 5 feels somehow bigger–like a milestone.
In a way, I feel like a lot of the time since Boris died was sort-of robbed from me. The COVID-19 pandemic hit before I made it to the 2-year mark, around the time when I was starting to pull myself out of the shock of my loss. In year 2 I started to get out of the grief cave I’d built for myself. I created an online dating profile, I traveled solo to Puerto Rico and started my Ph.D. program, and felt like I was getting some of my energy back, even though I was still reeling from my loss. When the pandemic hit, I sort of reverted back into my shell. I was anxious and worried, but it also allowed me to go back into hiding in a way. I didn’t have to deal with social events because I was not going anywhere. I didn’t meet new people, I didn’t travel, and I didn’t have to leave my comfort zone much. Maybe I needed this extra time to stay safeguarded from the world, but I think it also cushioned me from facing my grief in some ways.
On top of the pandemic, I became very involved in caring for my dad because his health declined very rapidly. I moved in with my parents and together with my mom and sister provide 24/7 care for him. It’s exhausting and hard, and well, I am grieving yet again. It sort of layered onto my grief of losing Boris.
Now, 5 years after he died, I feel like I lost some of those years. I feel like I didn’t get to really go through the grief motions and heal like I “wanted to” (which feels weird to say?). I want some of that time back, to travel more and maybe even date more. And not to spend so much time anxious about a contagious illness and away from people, plus providing care for my dad with Parkinson’s and dementia. I feel bitter about my grief experience, I guess.
I will end on a more positive note, though. I have felt supported by so many people during these 5 years. I have been lucky enough to have great therapists and meet other grieving people (especially widows!) along the way. I have read amazing grief books. My family has been there for me, I have a core group of friends who have been there for me, and I have a new kind of relationship with Boris’s parents (which is a whole other post in itself!).
I guess I just feel complicated feelings about the 5-year mark because it feels big and heavy. I miss Boris every day, and I just wish he were here. I wish I could tell him about these 5 years, and see his big grin and hold his hand.