A Rough Patch

black and white asphalt road
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My morning is not such a good one. Maybe it’s the dank weather outside. Maybe it’s my persistent thoughts on some people who have not been anywhere for me, let alone “there”.  Maybe it’s my hip hurting because of the weather. Maybe it’s the event I attended yesterday, an art fair, one Peter and I went to every year and I’m still bailing out the flooded memories. Maybe it’s all the people at the event who hugged me in compassion and support.  Or maybe its all of these reasons and more. It doesn’t matter. My day is starting out sad today and this blog will probably be not as strong as others because of it. You can even stop reading because it’s kind of depressing too. Fair warning.

See, it really sucks to be on this grief road. It sucks to have all the normalities of your life gone replaced by the never-ending seesawing of I’m alright…no, I’m not. And time doesn’t heal this wound.  It may close it for a time, but then something, a memory, an outing, a song, a conversation, rips it back open and you feel the same pain when you were first wounded. I hear in time, you learn to live with it. It never means it goes away. And who wants any pain to stay?

I saw a woman I had not seen in a while at the art fair yesterday.  She asked if she could hug me and we did. When we broke, she told me how sorry she was for Peter’s death. She started talking like a woman who knew my pain. So, I asked her, “are you a widow?” She said yes, and started to cry as she retold her story of six years ago. The pain in her eyes was probably the same pain she held when her husband had died, the same pain I knew too well.

I hugged a woman yesterday, a dear, wise, sweet woman of my community, one I’m lucky enough to know her. We talked about my apartment and the healing it may bring. The conversation morphed into grief for our husbands. This woman’s husband died while her kids were young and they are now in their forties. It didn’t matter the timeline. She still held back the tears from the pain of his loss in her world. I understood and may understand more in my years to come.

Both of these wonderful ladies’ stories had me thinking about how long the grief road, the widow’s road, is ahead of me. The road a widow travels on is different than any other. The grief is not better, not worse, but the road it puts you on is different. It’s long, with countless forks,  bumps, valleys, and potholes in it.

There was a road I once traveled with my partner, my lover, my best friend, my spouse, my everything, which seemed smoother because we rode it together. But now, I’ve been plucked on another, one I have to travel on my own while missing everything about my travel partner and trying to navigate it alone.  The support given by friends, family, and neighbors, has been my roadside assistance and one I will keep hoping for, keep asking for, keep wanting. Still, the road is all mine, and mine alone and I know, as the two ladies showed me, I will forever be feeling the rough patches on it and, well, that just sucks.

Sure, I’ll get used to all its flawed surface. Sure, I’ll continue on it as I know, even in these past twelve weeks I know, there are some smooth areas, and those are the ones I drive toward. I know the excitement in my son’s voice as he talks about his passions, and the laughter in my daughter’s retelling of a story is my smooth times. The overnight visit from my bestie and the texts flying in from other besties are the even patches. The pictures of my great-nieces and nephews are my spots of sunshine. My passions for writing and a book coming out soon are my glorious views.

I know there is a lot of good and brightness and happiness in my future. I also know the bumpy and rugged areas have to be driven over to get to them.  And I will plow through them, maybe for a lifetime. I think I’m getting better at plowing, though. Or I’m learning.

So, yeah. This morning is uneven. The road of widowhood put me on has taken a dip today. It’s not as tumultuous as it was last Tuesday or Wednesday.  No, this morning is like riding on one of those rumble strips of grooves on the highway. I’ll drift back. I always do. I always want to.