I am a widow. I am a widow. I am a widow. No matter how I say it, I am a widow. This is odd to me. Yeah, it’s scary as hell and lonely, and pissy. And yeah, the definition comes with all sorts of baggage and horrible connotations. But to me, admitting this to myself means two things. First, my life from now on will always be one without my husband, my steadfast, my co-parent, my lover and my best friend. Always. This will never ever change. Second, my like has taken a turn from the road of what I thought was going to be – a fairly smooth road with some bumps, sure – to a road I don’t know – near a cliff and headed God knows where.
By now, you might think I should get this, I am a widow. I mean, it’ll be 10 weeks come Monday. Ten weeks I should be accepting, or at least realize I am a widow. And I do. Sometimes. Most times. Not all the time.
Last night, I was out with friends on at a local brewery for Trivia Night. It was almost fun. It helped I was pretty good at it. I’ll admit, I didn’t feel truly comfortable being out. Comfort is not my thing right now. I could have even come across as crabby. I am like that a lot, crabby. I try not to be and yet, I am. I’m normally not a crab, but boy did that change ten weeks ago. Anyway, I was having a fairly decent time when out of the blue – seriously, out of nowhere – it hits me. I am a widow. I have no Peter. I have no husband. These realizations bitched slapped me in the middle of a question about who the Nurse took in the Farmer and the Dell. (The cow, by the way.) A few minutes later, during a break, I went to the bathroom and had a short cry.
At Target the other day, I was walking down the aisles like I always do, finding things to add to my cart that I don’t need but, you know, it was Target. Target has this magic power of moving my hand onto things like dish towels and putting them in my basket. As I walked, seeing nothing in particular to trigger me- no couple, no kid with her dad – and not hearing anything to egg me on – no love song, or missing you song – I started to cry. I cried from the words that popped up in my head, I am a widow. They came out of nowhere and sucker-punched my heart. And the tears came. It seems, sadly, after all these weeks, I don’t need a trigger or an egging on.
While I was reconciling payroll on Tuesday, tears stained some of the timesheets. Why? One fleeting thought of I am without Peter, I am a widow, and I was a goner. I had to pull myself out of my chair, run to the bathroom and let it all go. Let myself crumble into a mess of emptiness and longing. Nothing says you are alone in this world of widowhood than being a heaping pile of tears in a bathroom stall.
Every night, before I go to bed, I am reminded I am a widow, I am without Peter. And it shocks me. It does. Every night it does. Maybe it’s a picture of Peter I stare and talk to as if he’ll pop out. Or maybe it’s the lonely steps up the stairs to my empty bed like some bad Norma Desmond reenactment only the other way. Or maybe, no, probably, no, definitely, I can’t wrap my head or my heart completely around the fact I will forever be without Peter and I will live as a widow.
I tell people all the time that I can’t believe I’m living this life. I know denial is all part of the grieving process. Only, I’m not in denial. Not really. It’s more of disbelief. I know Peter is dead. No denying it. The initial accident report, the death certificate, the lawyers, the insurance companies, the donations of his belongings, the absence felt every day, everything I live now reminds me Peter is dead. Oh, I know it and I know it hard and deep. And I can’t seem to understand, really understand, this is my life now. I can’t seem to believe the unhappiness I am always living. I can’t seem to reconcile my life has taken a sharp turn and headed toward the cliffs.
I have better days and then I’m tripped up by a memory, a realization, an out-of-nowhere feeling of life without Peter and being a widow. Then, I fall down, hard, in despair, in anguish, in loneliness, in pain. I suppose this is the definition of grief. The sudden change of mood or the constant change of mood. And yes, eventually, I will learn to live with this broken heart – a definition of widowhood Cindy McCain gives. And yes, it is still all so new. And yes, I am feeling my feels and going through the pain. I logically know all of this and I do not have to be reminded. What I don’t get, what I will never get, is how this all happened in the first place, how I have no Peter, how I have no marriage … how I am a widow.