Widowhood does not come with a map. In the beginning, there are no familiar landmarks and the curves on the road are unfamiliar. As you set out on your way, you will spend a great deal of time bumping into things as you shimmy along, and that’s okay. The important thing is that you are moving and forward momentum is always a good thing. It’s likely that you will not know what direction you are headed in, and that is okay too. It is time to have faith that everything will be “okay”, somehow.
There have been many new beginnings born from Mike’s death. I have met new people and some of these new acquaintances have become friends. And, further, some of these friends speak in Grief’s mother tongue. I easily understand them because I am now fluent in grief. These new friends understand the language my heart speaks and there is great comfort in this. However, widowhood is a long journey and it demands solo traveling at times. My friends can accompany me and offer me empowering advice and encourage me with their words; but, I must recreate a life for myself. I need to navigate my way through this “mess” – no one can do this for me.
Wading through the quagmire of grief isn’t easy stuff.
But, in order to re-engage in life we must sort through the broken shards of the life we imagined.
This is tedious.
This is grueling.
Simply put, it is hard work.
My fingers are bloody and raw from clawing my way back towards life.
But, bloody fingers aside, I know that the life ahead of me is worth it.
Re-entering life, without Mike, is the most difficult thing I have attempted to do in my life. There is a lot of uncertainty in my future, but more importantly, there is potential. Before me are boundless opportunities.
Once again, I find myself on a ledge. I am paused because I am scared. But, even more significant, I am excited. I am actually somewhat enthusiastic about life again. I feel it – I am standing on the edge of something big. And, in time, I am going to leap towards the new life that is waiting for me. And, I KNOW that I will land on my feet – somehow.
I’ve changed a lot since Mike died. And, some of the changes are serving me well. I am no longer as daunted by the unexpected. Since surviving his death, I am not scared of detours because I know that I am capable of handling pretty much anything life serves up. Dead Ends don’t give me anxiety anymore because I am not afraid to go off road.
My instincts have proven to be a good compass without him.
And, going forward I will continue to rely on my intuition.
Being widowed has forced me to become accustom to being “lost”. I have veered off the main road and I have become fairly self sufficient travelling off the beaten path. I’ve always been independent; and, generally, I can excel under pressure; but, Mike’s death has made me even more effective in the face of adversity. I have made solid decisions on unstable ground and I have grown somewhat comfortable being ‘off kilter’.
These days, I choose to take the road less traveled because I enjoy the solitude, whereas, before the silence would have been unsettling to me. With time and experience, I am less afraid of being lost. Mike’s death is teaching me to handle the unexpected and unwelcome in life. And, sometimes I resent this lesson, but I still choose to learn from it. What else can I do?
For all it’s taken from me, widowhood has also given me an unshakable belief in myself.
I am a stronger, more capable woman since he’s died. Since I last saw Mike I have changed. If he could meet me now, we would have to take a moment to find our stride again because I am no longer the woman he knew when he was alive. Without question he’d love me still. In fact, he’d love me even more.
In truth, Mike continues to love me, though he is physically gone from here. Somehow, I am still able to ‘see’ my reflection – even without him holding a mirror up to me. Now, I am privileged to see myself in some of the ways Mike saw me when he was living. I know with certainty what he valued in me, and now I appreciate these qualities in myself in a whole new way. Mike has taught me more about myself since he died than he ever could have while he was alive. What more could I want from him? The man I love has given me the gift of getting to know myself to the depths of my Soul. Maybe this is one of his greatest gifts to me.
Mike loved life and it loved him right back. He showed me how to live with the enthusiasm of a child and he showed me what love feels like, sounds like and looks like. And, I am eternally grateful for the generosity of his love and laughter. I can not say it enough, I am a better woman for being loved by him. And, I can not thank him enough.