Tomorrow will be the one year mark of Peter’s death. I am writing this today because I fear tomorrow will be too painful to move, let alone write. So, as the first year without Peter closes, here is what I know.
- I would have not made it without my friends and some family who are friends. I am blessed with phenomenal support. There was/is a core group who picked me up when I collapsed, held me up when I had no strength, and hoisted me up when I fell again. MY KIDS AND THEY WERE THE REASONS I KEPT ON KEEPING ON. I have friends who have left things on my doorstep, friends who sent me just-because cards, friends who called, texted, emailed and commented on this blog. I have friends who have dropped by pre-COVID to hug and not let go. I am a blessed woman to have people in my life who gave a shit and showed up. They all reminded how life can be okay and people are good. Even during my lowest of lows, my life-really-sucks moments, a ping on my pone or a card in the mail raised me up, if only a bit, I was raised.
- People in my life, people I thought would have been there, from the beginning or during this past year, disappointed. I spent too much time this year fretting over them, crying about them, being pissed because of them. When I thought I let it all go, something happened again – an unrecognized Christmas, Father’s Day, and/or Birthday – and I would fret, cry, get pissed off all over again. This past year has taught me I can’t expect much out of people who don’t give much. I have to let it go and move on or else I will not grow. I will stay in bitter stagnation and that helps no one, especially me. I am trying to forgive, understand, and know it’s okay to move one without any more expectations which may mean moving on without them. These are people I loved and I will always love. Sometimes though, you have to say good-bye to those you love. Peter’s death taught me this.
- Peter was the love of my life. He was my destiny. He was my protector. He was my lover. He was half of my everything. He was in my soul and in my definition. A year without him showed me just how much he was for me and about me. Only death departed us, an ugly, unexpected, death. I am still in love with him. I don’t think I’ll ever fall out of love with him. I will learn to keep going on with our love being parted. I will love, miss and long for him for the rest of my life, and I will learn to live with all of his emptiness. I have to. I want to. He would want me to.
- Strength is shown at times when you need it to shine. I am strong. I am stronger than I ever thought. My fear of living without Peter and all he did for me, every decision he made for us, scared me and still frightens me at times. The decisions I made this past year have not all been correct, nor have they been wrong. They were just made and I learned from them and embraced them. I learned what I wanted, what I didn’t want, and what I needed to do. Decision making wasn’t my biggest strength, but it is starting to shine brightly.
- My biggest strength was getting up in the morning, facing the day, going to bed lonely, and then lather, rinse and repeat again and again. I continued to go on when I felt pain. I got out of bed when I wanted to stay wrapped up in covers. I faced the day when I wanted to run away from it. I put my day to bed knowing tomorrow I would be feeling hard feels, or not feeling anything, on the next one. I went to bed with sobs of how I missed him, and woke up with “oh, shit, he’s dead”, but I continued. I survived the darkest of storms. Even through the tornado of emotions and confusion and helplessness, I survived. My wish is to live, really live again. For now, I have let in good days and embraced surviving because I know good will come. I have seen glimpses of it. Until then, there is no Option B. Here it is. Here I am. And I am stronger than I ever thought.
- Peter’s death has killed off so much in my life. I am not the same person, and sometimes, I am numb to the world. I have decided on selling my house and building a new one in the town that I love. I should be excited. I should embrace the moving on with my own plans, my own decisions. I am not fearful of any of this, and I am not delighted. I am at peace with it while waiting for the other shoe to drop. Peter’s death has me always looking for the next catastrophe. I can’t relax because when I did, when I took for granted all that I had, made future plans, it was killed. In a few minutes, it was all killed. I live in PTSD fears, as if another bomb will explode in my life and I can’t do anything about it. And I am working on it. And I am still keeping on. And I will get excited about life again.
- I haven’t mourned my mother. She was 92 and wanted to die. The worse scenario for her happened, her mind was going. She was at peace with dying. And these are the reasons I thought my grief for her wasn’t very strong. They are valid reasons and may be part of the explanation. But if I’m honest, and I’m always honest, I didn’t grieve for her because Peter takes up the entire grieving space in me. There is no room for more. Maybe one day I will grief her. Or maybe I won’t. For now, it’s my reality. I haven’t mourned my mother.
- Finally, I have been told the second year of widowhood is just as hard. The first year was spent in stunned longing and painful grief. The second year you carry all of it with you, and try to figure out what is next without him. The ‘without him’ is a reality faced and that’s what makes it hard. I am scared of moving on. Hell, I am scared of moving on without him because it means, really means, it’s over. Our relationship is done. Our forever more has ended. WE are no longer.
I will dip my toe into this second year of widowhood reluctantly. I will hurt, make mistakes, feel weak, feel strong, be weak, be strong, make decisions with lessons attached and lean on people who I know are pillars. My hope is this second year, when I am ready, I will laugh again – really, laugh. I will be a pillar to someone else. And my days of living will out number my days of surviving.
On the Eve of the First Year Mark, I am in pain and still mourning the life of the beautiful, kind, gentle, intelligent man I loved with every part of me. The man taken from me so suddenly. The man I ache for and love on this day, the second year ahead, forever. I miss you, Peter. I will always fucking miss you.
Thank you all for being with me this first year.