Yes. I sometimes speak of my husband in the present tense. Often, in fact. And generally, I don’t even think about it being “wrong” until after the words pass my lips. Then I have this hyperspeed conversation with myself, essentially going back and forth about what I said, why I said it, who I said it to, and then try to make a lightning quick decision on whether or not to correct myself or take it back.
Thing is, I don’t want to take it back. I want it to be true. Of course I know it isn’t. And can’t be. But it doesn’t stop the wanting.*
Not a day goes by that I don’t, in some way, for a split second, remember my “old” life. Widowhood (any great loss, for that matter) divides your life into Before and After. My life, in general, and me specifically are so different in the After than we were in the Before.
Sometimes I wonder if people who have known me for a long time notice the change. Do they even recognize the extent to which I’ve changed? Will people who have met me since (as well as those who will meet me in the future) have any idea who I was Before? And how different am I, really? Is it an internal change that mostly only I notice? These are the things I ponder…
Not sure where you are in the world, but around here, we’ve been going through a definite rainy period (which is quite unexpected after the water-restricted drought we had not that long ago), and I’ve heard from friends in several different places that many of them have, too.
It hasn’t been a random rainy day or even an afternoon of showers, but actually rainy for days! To the point where I’ve been saying a bit of a quiet-prayer / thought-to-the-universe / cross-my-fingers sort of thing that it lets up for my daughter’s wedding in a little over 6 weeks. Water retention ponds that were little more than barely-there puddles are now nearly full again. The lakefronts that had receded several feet to expose shoreline weeds have begun inching back to their original starting points.
But the weather has actually suited me well. I’ve been back in a weepy place again and had a bit of a downpour on my poor, unsuspecting son this past weekend during a short car ride, who then reached over to grab my hand and impart some words of wisdom. He reminds me more and more of his father both in physical appearance and personality. It’s a double-edged sword, that.
In any case, my nerves are once again quite raw and I’m overly sensitive. But I’m pretty sure I know why. I don’t always….
Tomorrow is what should have been my 27th wedding anniversary. Although this isn’t the first without my husband, I think last year’s date was too soon after his passing for me to have truly felt the full effect of his absence. I was still quite numb and in shock. And I was also in the midst of planning his Celebration of Life service.
This year, there is nothing to hide, distort, or redirect my attention. It looms there like one of those “floating islands” off the coast of Costa Rica. Yes, I know they aren’t really floating, but that doesn’t change my point. They rise up from the crystal blue waters and are so seemingly out of place that you can’t help but notice them, even if you try to look elsewhere.
That is my anniversary this year, the cause of my current blues. I’m missing me and my life Before.
I mourn that I face the day alone. I mourn that I officially stopped counting them at 25. I mourn that the date will no longer be cause for celebration. I mourn no longer being part of a couple. I mourn the events and milestones I face alone. And I mourn the man whose passing is the reason for all the rest.
This “After Life” is not the one people debate and philosophize about. This After Life is hard work. It’s a sudden change that no amount of preparation can prepare you for. Especially if you have no preparation. It’s facing your fears without warning. It’s being forced to change the direction of your future, not because you want to, but because you have to. People don’t want this After Life.
So, yes, I’ll get through tomorrow (and the next day, and the next) and my next anniversary may very well be a little easier to handle, as well. I will continue to move forward to the After, even as I continue to grieve the Before. I will laugh and smile and find other things to celebrate. Yes, I will survive.
But if tomorrow I am weepy and miserable and, much like the recent weather, I can only see storm clouds in my future, please bear with me. The sun is bound to come out again. If not tomorrow, then soon.
*[Side note: the previous sentence is setting off vague thoughts of a song along those lines, but I can’t remember it. If you can, please drop me a line so I can silence my brain about it! Thanks]