I’ve never been a patient person. (Audible gasp deafens Illinois.) Those who know me can tell you story after story of my impatience since birth.
My mother told the story of my delivery countless times. She gave this visual of me hanging out between her legs as she shuffled to the delivery table. In a few pushes, bing, bang, boom…heeeere’s Betsy. I was her easiest delivery. And yes, it could have been because I was her last of seven. Although, I do have to point out my sister who is sixteen months older than me, was one of her hardest. No, I believe I was the easiest labor and delivery because I am the most impatient. Even growing inside my mother’s womb I thought enough was enough already. And today, this is how I view widowhood – enough is enough already.
Today is the two hundred sixth day of widowhood. Over half a year has passed with Peter gone from my life. I have endured torturous pain I couldn’t even imagine possible two hundred and seven days ago. My life has been led in grief I now accept as my norm, a norm I don’t want, nor ever asked for. Decisions are bombarded on me without Peter to deflect them, without anyone really since they have to be made by me. Loneliness grips my heart and tightens during moments of memories, long nights, solo acts and sickness. And the longing for him, for my life with him, dips so low sometimes, I see glimpses of the bowels of hell. Yet, I still move with it all, dragging it all around with me in one exhausted push through the day, with hopes tomorrow is different.
And my so many of my tomorrows are different. Sometimes, I do feel okay. Sometimes, more than okay. Sometimes, much more. And sometimes, there are multiple tomorrows strung together in okays which become telling of what might become. I still carry all of what I have to, what was put on me, yet I grow accustomed to them, maybe stronger. These tomorrows come more often, and stay longer as time goes on. Then, just as fast as the okay or good days come, they flee to wherever they go, waiting their turn again.
It’s a constant up and down, around and through. I’ve been told this is how it works in widowhood, especially early on. I’ve been told this will be my new life, my new forever, and normality of my past is long gone, dead with Peter. I’ve been assured my hopeful tomorrows will be more often. And I want to get there. I want to catapult over everything and land in life where the pain and the loneliness and the exhaustion are manageable and feel okay every day. I want to grow back the part of me ripped away when Peter died, and I don’t even cared if its scarred. I want all of this and I want it now, damn it. But I know that’s not how life works. But I know that’s not how death works. But I know that’s not how widowhood works.
Before you think, everybody wants to get to the end of pain, I would say, but I’m different. I am that person who can’t accept it as part of the result. I am the person who wants the results, now. I’m the person who screams inwardly when someone says to me “one step at a time”, “one day at a time”, or crap like that. I’m not proud. And yes, I know, putting in the work is the only way to get results. Let me tell you, I get that. I get all that. My experiences in writing and obtaining my college degree, and parenting, and marriage and illness have all showed me this, taught me this. I didn’t need another circumstance to demonstrate this, especially one involving the death of another human being, the death of my Mister. I don’t believe Life, God, works like that. I don’t believe She/He/They take one person’s life for another’s education. And as my faith begins to return in bits and pieces and emerges into a different shape, I believe this more.
So, I’m now in an impatient hell wanting to be on the other side of all of this. I have accepted – note: not embraced – I will never be the same again and my life will forever be filled up with the absence of him. Always. The part torn away from me when Peter died, will grow back as something different…not better, not worse, but different. I will forever feel the phantom pain of my missing part grown with him, yet I know I will have to walk through life with what I was handed. It’s up to me to grow a new part, to strengthen it, to shut down all the voices that tell me what it is supposed to be, and walk with it. Only, I want that now.
Here’s the thing, deep down, beneath the impatience of me, I know I have to feel everything before I can release anything. I have to go through the streets of widowed pain and uncertainty and longing before I can emerge on the other side of it. I know this. I know this with every part of me. And yet, this impatient person is not always going to be okay with that.