Fear of Without Him

Sometimes, I forget. Not often and when I do, the time is so small, it may have beaten a wink. Still, I do…forget that I am alone.

Most times, I don’t forget at all. Most times, I carry it with me like extra weight ready to be shed, only I know the impossibility of it, for right now, because Peter is gone and he filled me up. He was the one I always knew would be there for me no matter how my friends’ pool emptied out, or rough my day went. He was that reliable person for me, someone I knew, on a rough day, times where I felt no one could hear me, on those lonely days filled with missed turns and hurts, he would be there, always. But our always was cut too short, too soon, without notice leaving me reeling in fear of the loneliness without him.

Yesterday, on a walk with my dog, I thought of all Life handed me – surgeries, concussions, a few cancer scares, getting hit by a car as a pedestrian, and the loss of jobs loved. I remember,ed when all of these things happened in the span of three years, I had Peter and now, well now, I don’t. His death was the cherry on the top of my recent life spent in this-doesn’t-happen-to-everyone. Thinking this, I turned in the direction of self-pity, spiraling down with thoughts of when will Life become kind to me again. And the aloneness hit me hard, reeling me back from the reality of it all, from the pain of it all, from the fear of it all.

Last night, I had a huge crying jag, admitting aloud to a friend my fear of the future, and how that will look. Where do I go from here? How do I face the solitude of the years ahead, or the quiet of my life? I know it is inevitable, so how do I handle it? What will my life look like now without Peter? I am still a new widow, yet I’m getting farther away from the beginning of it and looking into the forever of it. Maybe it’s a sign of healing, of growing pains. Or maybe it’s just another stage I have to enter, one I am gripping on the door frame trying to prevent entrance. As a new widow, I had to deal with just staying afloat. I’m bobbing now and I have no idea where to paddle to and overcome with the fear of doing it all alone.

The pandemic pinned me in one place, alone, to face all I will have in the future. Escaping to Discovering helped me heal, but it didn’t remove anything. Being alone, loneliness, will continue to shadow me with some days darker than others. And the only reliance I have is on myself. I can’t nor won’t depend on anyone else. They can’t nor won’t understand any of this. And even if a small group understands, it’s me I have to answer to, my life I have to live, my Peter who died in sudden shock.

I was pissed off yesterday and last night when thoughts of my loneliness pushed me back, not necessarily to grief, but fear. Fear may actually be a stage of grief though in widowhood, one no one mentions. What-if’s and the future, and the future what-ifs, kept scratching at the panic in me with its long, unforgivable talons of reality. What-if I fail without Peter. What-if I continue to be numb to everything as a defense in order to survive. What-if I am forgotten, by friends, by family, by me, the once-me. What-if I loose people along the way because of who I become is not what they liked in my who I once was. And what if I lose the once was part of me in growing, alone, without him and not be okay with it.

These past two weeks, I felt strength emerging from me. I wrote more of my novel. I started walking three miles a day with my dog, Barkley. I made plans to clean out the house and get it ready to sell. I purged the old clothes from the summer before with all its memories to put on new clothes for the future. I started eating better, conscious of what should be going in my mouth. I took an honest look at the amount of wine consumed to dull the pain. I looked toward a future and bettering me in the process. And then Life threw back it’s head and said to me, “if only it was that easy”. I answered back, pity biting at each word, “you’re right, because easy hasn’t been a part of my life for a while”. And I remembered hard, I am without Peter and I felt alone.

Yes, most times lately, especially in my future-thinking moments, I have these nanoseconds of not remembering, perhaps reconciling of my rest-of-my-life without him. There are those most times where I drag remembrances with me into my future, but allowing them to stop me. Then there are those sometimes, when I let remembering I am alone take me down a road of fear and pity. And yes, everything will eventually merge onto one road, or so everyone who knows tells me. Still, during those times I take those detours, I hurt like hell, and I am afraid.