I’ve been thinking these past few days about how much my life has changed in the weeks since my husband died. Monday, it will be five weeks – five unimaginable, sadden-ridden, depressed, angry weeks. Weeks where my emotions were not like the being on a rollercoaster ride the way people describe. No, my weeks have been more like driving blindfolded on a Grand Prix Course going 200 mph. On a rollercoaster, I can see the dips before they come. Driving the Grand Prix blindfolded and at high speed, I can’t see when the curve is coming, only feel it. My turns have been sudden, with an increase of speed at points, and I can never fully relax. When the next turn hits, and it always hits, I fall against the car’s side and into yet another emotional convulsion.
That’s the better description of the life I’m living in – a blindfolded Grand Prix course. This ride has been unpredictable, scary and one I just want to get off of. I want the smooth, open road of my past life. Not sure when or if I’ll get there. All I know an eventuality will come along, and I will just adapt with each turn. Or that is my hope anyway.
Though, looking back at these past almost five weeks, one thought keeps coming up – Look, I Made It! (And yes, the Panic! At the Disco song, Look Ma, I Made It accompanies the thought – every….single…time.) I don’t mean I made it to any type of ending. Not even an end to any chapter. Oh, hell, no. I mean, I made it past these five weeks and it almost feels like a minuscule victory.
When Peter and I talked about our deaths – and we did, not often, but occasionally – I always told him I would have to die first because I could not fathom a life without him in it. I wasn’t being romantic and didn’t mean it in a Romeo and Juliet sort of scenario. I truly, five weeks and more ago, could not comprehend what my life would be without his strong presence in it. How I could live without all the parts, any part, of him? I did think he was the stronger of the two of us and could adjust just fine without me. Again, I was not romanticizing or being morbid, or even insecure. It was a fact I held onto like the sky’s color of blue. Then Life shot up her middle finger at me and said, “um, yeah, no, that’s not going to happen”.
The days that followed Peter’s death, I didn’t speak without breaking down in sobs. I didn’t eat nor sleep nor function. Then there were the times I existed like how a tree exists, emotionless and hard. The situation didn’t get better these past weeks, but slowly I was learning lessons in the education of adjustment. And here I am. Almost five weeks later. On this ride that makes me sick – physically sometimes, and emotionally, all the time. Yet, I’m here. I did make it. I am still surviving.
A few people have called me strong, but I know I’m really not. I’m not trying to present fake humility or have a ‘no, go on’ facade. I know, I’m really not. I am a person being held up by all the kindness and love I receive from others. They are the ones with strength. They are the ones with the emotional muscles to pick me up when I’m down and keep me standing with their powerful support. They are the ones who have taken my wheel when I couldn’t, didn’t want to, steer through the next turn. They are the ones who have broken through and given me glimpses of normalcy when I thought that was impenetrable. They are strong ones, the ones who have given me my durability these past five weeks.
What I am is a person who was handed a situation I never even wanted to touch and am learning to carry it around to the best of my emotional ability. I am a widow, and yeah, maybe the Chicago Southside does come out in this widow from time to time. But really, I am driving blindfolded on a scary and emotional Grand Prix Course Life put me on and trying to learn to endure each and every turn. Perhaps a bit calmer. Perhaps less emotional. Perhaps in less pain. That is until I hit another unexpected corner and my stability files out the window in pieces of brokenness. But hey, look at me! I am driving, fast and with a blindfold on and made it past the month mark.