Four months ago today, my entire world was shaken to the core and all of the certainty I’d come to rely on was taken from me in a single moment. I went from being a happily married woman getting ready to start a family through adoption to a grieving, childless widow. I never knew how suddenly life could go from amazingly wonderful to frighteningly lonely.
Note: This post was originally shared on my “widowhood” blog, “Frances 3.0: Still in Beta”.
I can’t help but think about all of the plans we had for the summer that never got to happen. The day after Paul’s funeral, we would have been running a 12K race; a few days after that we were meant to have two wonderful children placed in our home. We missed our 4th wedding anniversary; Paul missed his first marathon. Several other short races never got ran, and the garden never got tended. There were no picnics and hikes in the hills; there were no bike rides or Frisbee in the park. There was no shopping for school clothes for kids, and there was no family portrait taken.
I know that Paul is gone, but I still can’t believe it. It all seems so surreal. Like a terrible dream from which I can’t wake. I’m still having trouble comprehending the fact that the fairytale is over and the nightmare has begun. Sometimes I feel like I’m experiencing a widows’ version of a phantom limb – it’s like he’s here and I can his feel presence, but I can’t touch him or see him.
People tell me how well I’m doing; how strong I am; how much courage I have. If only they knew just how untrue those things are. I’m a broken, shattered shadow of who I used to be. I’m surviving on microwave dinners and Cup-o-Noodles; I have stacks of paperwork that has yet to be filled out related to Paul’s estate; I’m afraid of spending the rest of my life in this fog of uncertainty and loneliness. “Fake it ’till you make it” comes to mind – but I fear I’ll be faking it until the end of time.
Today finds me more upset than yesterday and I find myself wondering why it should matter. Why does it matter that it’s the 26th? Why do my emotions go into overdrive each time another month goes by? I know it shouldn’t make a difference, and I’m certain that one day I’ll not make the connection that the 26th is the mark of yet another month without my Paul. Similarly, each Saturday I find myself remembering our last day together, and each Sunday I find myself mentally ticking off the weeks since I lost the love of my life. I also find myself wondering how I will react when I realise that I’ve stopped counting – because I know I will at some point. Will I feel happy because it means that I’ve moved that step further into my new future? Will I feel guilty because it means that I’ve stopped thinking of the time I’ve lost and am starting to think more about the future than the past?
I’m trying to look toward the future and I’m trying to find a bit of happiness each day. Paul’s wish for me is to be happy, and I will strive to be happy because it’s the best way to honour his memory. I know that I will always have his love, and he will always have mine.
Our first dance at our wedding was to this song: “I Know I’ve Got Your Love” by the Saw Doctors