The lingering pain of widowhood

Another year has passed without my beloved husband and my heart aches from his absence these 14 years. Yes, the pain is softer now. But it is still there, lingering below the surface ready to stab at my emotions without warning, reminding me of my loss and the “amputation” at my heart.

Last year, I shared that I felt quite adrift in the world as if I had no anchor, no place of belonging. Those feelings remain and have been especially strong in recent weeks. And I am so frustrated that I am still here in this no man’s land a year later… 14 years later.

The frustration is made worse because I feel disappointed with myself for not “doing better” on so many levels. I’m disappointed because I know Paul would want me to be happy, and to find a second love, and life just doesn’t seem to work out that way. I’m disappointed with myself because I have so many wonderful things in life, but I still feel like something is missing. I am grateful for what I have, really I am. But I want more.

Before Paul died, we had dreams. He had dreams, I had dreams, and we had dreams together. And when he died, most of those dreams (his, mine, and ours) died with him.

It’s hard sometimes because the life I have now is (in part) the life we dreamt together: We dreamt of my completing my PhD (with his support and encouragement) and then I would get a great lectureship in Scotland and we would spend our summers in America together.

Instead, I completed my PhD without Paul’s earthly support and encouragement. And I did get a good lectureship in Scotland, and I have been spending a lot of time (summers and winters) in America lately. But what’s missing is Paul. Paul, and the children we were meant to adopt together. (Oh, yes. They were a big part of our shared dreams.)

I should be happy. I have so many things that people want. I live in Scotland. I have a great job and an excellent education. I am active and relatively healthy (for a woman with two major medical conditions). I travel, I have friends, I have a good income… but I am alone. I am alone in a way that you can’t understand if you haven’t experienced it.

So, here I am. I have survived 14 years without the love of my life. And I have many years left before my time on Earth is done. And with some pretty big life changes expected in the coming year, I know I will miss his presence that little bit more – because he won’t be here to celebrate the wonderful things that are waiting for me.

I don’t know so many things about my future and what it holds, but I do know I have Paul’s love. And that gives me hope and the courage to carry on…

Paul, I will always miss you and you will live in my heart forever. I luv ya, luv. X

This was the first dance at our wedding. I knew then, and I will always know, that his love is mine forever.

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