Happy Sunday, peeps!
Sometimes, this life after loss thing feels so surreal to me I can barely take it.
At times, it feels as if the life I am living is a life I dont even recognize as me, and I wonder would my dead husband Don recognize it, if he were randomly no longer dead. There are so many things. I no longer live in NYC. He has always known me as living there and pursuing my passions for performing, writing, acting, comedy. I still do those things, and Im an author now, and who ever thought Id have written a book about grief? My pursuing of my dreams is no longer a thing, as there has been a lot of sacrifices made after his death, and the big one was leaving that life behind me. Sure, I still do it here and there, and in different ways, (book signing events, Camp Widow presentations , speaking engagements, bit parts in independant films or projects, stand up comedy local shows ), but it’s now something I have to “squeeze in” to my schedule; and I cant always say yes to non-paying gigs. Im in the Real Estate world now. If I had to guess 10 career moves I might have made in my life after loss, I real estate would not have been one of my guesses. Im a home-owner, at age 50, finally! Im re-married. Im a Bruins/hockey fan! And there are so many more things …
Would he look around and be confused as all hell, or would he just understand that the life Ive built may very well look strange because a lot of the bricks were made from piles of grief, confusion, exhaustion, insane determination, and sometimes desperation. I think that Don being Don, he would get it. He would casually shrug his shoulders and say: “Well of course. I died, and you had to do whatever you had to do to continue on. Im sure it was the hardest thing youve ever done. Of course its going to look weird to me!”
And never mind MY world – would Don even recognize the world itself if he was randomly alive? All the bizarre things that have happened and will happen. He might say: “Trump was President? The guy with the bad toupe from the Apprentice? Huh? And wait … Tom Brady is on my Bucs now? We have Tom Brady? That’s amazing!!! But hold on … explain this Covid thing to me again. Im lost.”
I know that Don would recognize ME – yes, his death has changed and transformed me in multiple ways – and yet, the pieces of me that make me who I am are still very much there. There have been more pieces added, some altered, and some removed because they no longer serve me in this version of life – but he would know exactly who I am and he would come over and give me a great big hug. He would see our kitties Sammy and Autumn , who now live in our home and seem very happy (although Sammy is elderly at 21 yrs old, fragile, and who knows how long I have left with him), and he would be thrilled. He would see our nephew Brian, who was not even 3 years old when Don died, now growing into a young man at almost 13, and a really great baseball player like his dad and granddad. That would make him so happy. And even though my parents are much older now and live in a different house and in a different town, Don would sit himself right down at their dining room table and make himself at home and continue the conversation with them as if it had never stopped.
Death is surreal. It is especially so when a person dies “young” – because so many things are unfinished. There is always so much to wonder about. How would it all have turned out if they had lived? Where would I be today, instead of where I am? How strange might THAT life look to me, now that I have this one? I dont know what my point is today, but I love my husband Nick dearly, I miss Don forever, I love the life I have built and am building these days, AND I often wonder what that other life may have looked like today. At this point, almost nothing would shock me.
Ten years post loss, life just looks and feels extra weird sometimes.
This is not a good or bad thing, but more of just an observation.
I’m thankful to have you all along for the weird ride, and yet Im still always so sorry that you need to be here, because that means you are on your own odd grief ride too.
If only any of us knew where it was going next.