The Day After

I pretended the outside world didn’t exist yesterday. My phone pinged with texts, phone calls and messages via Facebook. Most knew I wasn’t responding. All didn’t want a response. They were sending simple “I’m thinking of you today.” I had flowers delivered and put on my doorstep. Friends offered meals. And there were pictures of Peter on Social Media commemorating the first year mark. Even though the outside world disappeared from me, friends made sure I didn’t disappear from it.

I took a long nap a few hours after I woke up in the morning hoping I would, as Peter used to call napping, time travel through the day. When I was awake, I sat and stared, stared and sat, not really having words to share with my kids, nor them with me. What can we say anyway? The unspoken words hung over us and didn’t need to be brought down. We knew. We knew. It was nice having my kids around. I don’t talk about my kids much on my blog. This is purposeful. And I’m not going start in this one. I will say, there is bonding in shared pain.

Of course I thought about Peter. I think about him all the time. Yesterday was no exception. I thought about my loss without him. I even replayed the day of his death in my mind with a sick game of “one year ago today at this time…” Not sure why I did. It didn’t help nor didn’t it hinder. It just was. And during this playing out of the day a year ago, it hit me, as it does every time, how I had him, then he was gone.

The day ended with a shared meal, mindless TV and in the loneliness of my bedroom, shedding some tears as I reflected back on the year and thought about the second year ahead. “Some” told me the second year won’t be as hard. “Some” said it will be harder. “Some” sighed with a it will be just more of the same. I guess it depends on the widow. I wonder though, going into my second year, if people will expect it’s now my time to move on with my life, my longing and my grief. I wonder if people will listen to my woes and think ‘enough already’. I wonder if people will listen at all. I carry with me insecurities of people’s perceptions. I shouldn’t. But I do. I am getting closer to the not caring end of the spectrum. I have a ways to travel yet to get there, but I am heading that way. Until then, last night, the thoughts circled my head instead of sheep. I know grief grows tiresome, even for the one grieving.

When I woke this morning, I thought only one thought about the upcoming second year for me…I DON’T KNOW. I don’t know if a second year without Peter will change much inside of me. I mean, he will still be dead. I will miss him as much as I missed him the day he died. Years can’t take that from me. Perhaps though, I will learn to live with the pain inside like a marathon runner in the second lap of the course. I will learn to live with the blisters and the side stitches of pain as I continue on. I want to look toward the growing experiences ahead of me, even if they are in the shadows of once-was. After dealing with Peter’s death for a year now, I know more now pain, anger, longing, all the different emotions grief hands to me, will not make Peter a part of my living life anymore. It doesn’t mean I will suddenly stop any of the emotions. What it does mean though, perhaps, maybe, almost definitely, I can move with them. I think I am stronger now and will continue to get stronger, at least enough to move with them on my back and not be as weighed down. In the end though, I JUST DON’T KNOW.

I am a widow. I check that box now when I have to, or if not offered, I check single. I still don’t understand why it happened to me. And I know it’s selfish. I want to be one of those people who say “why not me”. I think I even did say it in one of my earlier blogs, but I didn’t really believe it. Not then, not now, because I am not, nor ever was this past year, that gracious about any of this. I don’t know why I was ever handed this in my life – not this early, not this abruptly, not with out final good-byes and I love you. I don’t understand and going into the second year, I still don’t. I won’t ever understand. And that’s where so much of my pain comes from this questions – why me? I will NEVER, EVER be able to come near grasping the big Fuck You Life gave me when It let Peter move on with Death.

Coming into this second year, I know I am a different person. Without Peter, I am starting to regrow the part of me ripped out when he died. I am starting to stand up and face the challenges ahead of me. I am making decisions. I want to make them. I want to get to the part of life where I feel the good as equally as the bad. Lately, I have felt numb, and I will take it as it’s better than feeling the sadness most of last year took up in me. And at the same time, I have had more frequent glimpses of happy now which is a good thing, a great thing, a needed thing. Because, here it is and here I am. A widow going into her second year, ready to keep moving….on this Reluctant Journey.