A few weeks ago I went to brunch with a few friends. The food was delicious and we had a great time. There was lots of laughter and stories and a few mimosas. Both of them were talking about their dating adventures (or misadventures) which I enjoyed hearing about them.
But on the ride home I became really sad. I had one grandmother who lived to be 90 and my other grandmother is 95. I genetically have the potential to be stuck on this planet for another 60ish years and that is a long time to be alone. But I got sad thinking that someday I might have to date again. I started crying and the tears kept coming. I did not ask for this. I was happily married. I don’t want to be alone for 60 more years but I also don’t want to date. Why does life have to be so cruel? Why did my happily ever after have to get ripped away from me when so many other people get to be happy? Why does everyone else get to be happy and not me?
So I get home. I post a sad status on my Facebook because I feel the need to vent and some brave people comment and try to make me feel better and while I appreciate their intent, it never makes me feel better. Maybe I just need to stop sharing my feelings on Facebook. I blast my sad songs list on Spotify (doesn’t everyone have one of those?) and eat some ice cream. I blast Tears in Heaven and listen to it on repeat. Then I do what I do when I am feeling incredibly sad. I put on Sleepless in Seattle which lives on my DVR because I needed to hear Tom Hanks say “Move on. Fine. That’s what I’ll do. I’ll just grow a new heart…I know. But it just doesn’t happen twice.” Tears in Heaven, ice cream and Sleepless in Seattle, are like, my trifecta of grief.
One of my best friends must have seen that status because she messages me asking if I am okay. She is one of the few friends that I don’t feel like I have to answer with “I’m okay. Everything is okay.” I told her I was sad and I was listening to sad songs and eating ice cream. I did not tell her I was watching Sleepless in Seattle because I was nervous that she would have gotten into her car, drive over and delete Sleepless in Seattle off of my DVR and I can’t live without that coping mechanism.
Things have changed in the past month or two. I am starting to come out of the widow fog but the grief certainly has not subsided. I am still incredibly sad. I am still trying to make sense of Bryon’s death. Some days I begin to think that I am used to Bryon being gone while other days I still sit in shock and disbelief that he is actually gone.
When Bryon first died, I tried to come up with a timeline for grief. I have always been a goal oriented person so it made sense that I would set goals for the grief process. But it hasn’t worked that way. The months have just been bouncing by and I have been unable to attain any of these goals. I am still wearing my rings. A lot of our bills are still in Bryon’s name, his stuff is still taking up space in our house and I still haven’t shut off his phone. My friend asked me if the fact that we talk about Bryon so much is holding me back and I said no because most of my thoughts are still consumed by him and his death. I am afraid to stop talking about him because then he really will die. Yes he is physically dead but his story remind me that he actually did live and I am not ready to let go of that yet.
Have I been moving forward? I don’t think so. I think I have been surviving and keeping myself busy by traveling and doing activities with my daughter but I don’t really think I am moving forward. I am distracting myself. I am waiting for time and grief to pass before I start living again. I spend time with my friends and my daughter and I work, usually until the early hours of the morning as I put off bedtime every night because lying in an empty bed is just too painful. I need to stop searching for happiness because I am just not going to find it. I am just getting used to being sad and I need to embrace that because that is my life right now. This is my normal and since I can’t set my own timeline for healing, I need to embrace that I am going to feel sad until the indeterminate time comes when I no longer feel sad.
So for the time being, I will continue to feel sad. I will continue to cry when I think about what I have lost. I will still continue to distract myself. I will continue to go on adventures with my daughter. I will still continue to spend time with those I am close to. I will continue to try to check items off of my widow “to-do” list. I will continue to try to find myself as an individual. I will continue to do all of these things until eventually my grief subsides and all of this just becomes part of me and my story.