My name is Frances, and I am officially entering into my third version of being. Let me start by telling you a bit about the first two versions because the rest of this blog will surely be heavily populated with tales of Frances 3.0.
Note: This post was originally shared on my “widowhood” blog, “Frances 3.0: Still in Beta”. It was the introduction post for that blog, which is now replicated here on Just Frances.
Frances 1.0 began on 21 February 1974. I was the third daughter born to my parents, and ultimately became their preantepenultimate daughter (they had no sons). Version 1.0 was very much just life in a large family, in a small town. I was always the quirky one; the different one; the one who didn’t truly belong. I bumped along, taking in slight software upgrades as I went, but was never truly compatible with the operating system available to me in small-town America – or at least, not that small town.
At the age of 24, I underwent a major upgrade that saw me heading to university. At 27, I made the journey to Scotland where I would pursue further study. With all of the upgrades required, I found myself merging quickly into a new version of myself.
Frances 2.0 really kicked in about two weeks after my arrival in Scotland. It was my first time really being away from home, although I’d travelled around North America quite considerably before heading overseas. After being in Scotland for a few months, and two weeks before I turned 28, I met a wonderful man – talk about an upgrade! This new addition really made version 2.0 run amazingly well. At the age of 31, I married that wonderful man.
Version 2.0 + Paul was a great combination. Together, we got all sorts of add-on components and we were excitedly looking forward to adding a couple of new peripherals – in fact, we’d even picked them out and were expecting delivery when the system crashed, forcing me to upgrade once again to Version 3.0. (We were two weeks from adopting two children when he passed away.)
Today, I sit here as a 35-year-old, childless widow. Version 3.0 is one of the hardest upgrades I’ve ever had to deal with, and it hurts so much to know that in addition to Paul’s absence in the new version, the peripherals won’t be compatible for quite a while and so I need to muddle through learning all of the software glitches on my own. I’m certain there’ll be upgrades and add-ons for this version, just like the former ones, but as with all upgrades, you have to take the bad along with the good.
Version 1: Early life; pre-Paul
Version 2: Fully-functioning adult; life with Paul
Version 3: The present; life after Paul (surprisingly, it does go on)
This blog is really to serve my own selfish need to “get it all out there” and to act as a precursor to a more major piece of work at some random point in the future. It’s for my own peace of mind, almost as if I’m sharing my thoughts with the ether, but I hope that others may find it useful, too – maybe as a way to better understand what I’m going through or what a recently-widowed loved one is going through. Or, sadly, maybe someone else will stumble upon my ramblings because they, too, are in the unfortunate reality that I’m living and are looking for someone to identify with.
The posts to follow may be full of heartache one day and laughter the next. They may be disturbing, they may be comforting, and they may be a hodge-podge of emotion all at once. But then, I’m full of emotions these days.