Does anyone else along this widowed tsunami feel like they were robbed out of something, or out of everything? Does anyone ever feel bitter or angry or resentful of the seemingly easy lives that others get to experience, without any major traumas or sudden shocking deaths to shatter their worlds into a million little pieces? (which is also the name of a pretty good show, just FYI) Is there anyone out there like me, who hates that they have these feelings, but has them anyway?
I know we arent supposed to compare grief, but can we compare life? I also know that we never know the whole story and that on the outside, people may seem to have it easy, but we dont actually know that. I do realize this, of course. However, can we also just admit out loud that some people just DO have an easier path than others through life? That some seem to slide through for years and even decades without really having to go through anything life-altering or soul shattering, or without having a basic understanding of trauma or massive and continued financial struggle or emotional turmoil or complicated grief?
I wont get into specifics here, because theres no real point to doing that, and I do know that every pain is real and whatever pain someone else is going through is completely valid and 100% awful for them. I know this, and thats not really my point here anyway. My point is this: Im going to be 50 years old this year, and sometimes I just feel that the death of my husband STOLE so many things away from me that I had planned and worked hard for. In the first few years after Don’s death, I had a lot of bitterness and resentment because I felt like death had robbed me of our life together, and it had robbed Don of the privilege of breathing air for longer than 46 years. It robbed us of having a family together, and being moms and dads and grandparents one day, and all of those things. Yes, those things still bother me, and they linger in my heart in the same way that perhaps an old wound or injury stays in your body forever, amping up during certain times of year or whenever it feels the need to remind you. But now, almost 10 years later after this loss, I have found great love again, I am remarried, I am happy and joyful in my personal life with my wonderful husband. In order to get to that place mentally, to feel that joy and to still love Don simultaneously but be able to see him as more of a spiritual guide who is always there for me , I went through a LOT of therapy, processing, and hard grief work. I will miss and love Don forever – its just “different” than how I loved and missed him before. When it comes to the life we may have had together and how it would have played out, it is more of an endless wondering , rather than an a resentment or longing for.
But, when it comes to all the things that his death stole from me outside of stealing US, I still feel robbed. Maybe it’s because life hasnt been easily since his death. Maybe it’s because I never got to really live my dreams and my passions, which is incredibly sad to me. Maybe it is because I spend WAY more time in my days working on real estate things or driving / monitoring for special needs kids school buses (my latest part-time job ), than I do on acting, comedy, writing, speaking, or helping people through loss. Maybe its because the reason I need so many jobs and the reason I cant ever get ahead is because I have so much credit card debt that I cant seem to get out from underneath, which exists because I had to use multiple credit cards just to survive after my husband’s sudden death. Groceries, parking our car, car repairs, bills, no health insurance, no savings, no life insurance … these are just some of the things I was faced with in the immediate aftermath of Don’s fatal cardiac arrest. Now, almost a decade later, Im still paying those bills down, plus still paying (or delaying paying) student loans for a degree in Theatre, something I will most likely never be able to fully focus on in this life. I dont see a cozy retirement in my future – I don’t see a way out of always being behind. I don’t see how this situation will ever be more than a constant exhausting struggle – all stemming from the fact that my life was rudely interrupted ten years ago, just as we were slowly beginning our path to the future.
Death is a thief, and it never served it’s time for what it stole from me.
Instead, I am the one serving time, making sacrifices, putting pieces of my true self in the corner, so that I can keep paying another bill, because how dare I attempt to still want to live my dreams and my passions, in the aftermath of great loss.
In the end, will I be just another statistic – just one more person who couldnt make it work, and who had to keep walking further and further away from all the things that make her heart feel purpose?
I sure hope not.
There are some days where I just need to feel validated in these thoughts, and to know that others might feel similarly. So tell me, widowed tribe, what has death stolen from you, and how do you feel about it?