Widowhood is moving forward, then falling backward. Many times. I didn’t see any progress my first year as a widow until I looked back. That’s how it was for me. (Reading time 2 min 30 sec)
My husband died suddenly, unexpectedly, almost five years ago. After close to a month in the hospital, I was in shock. I felt numb, with little emotion.
Widowhood Year One in Black and White
As so many speak of that first year, it is indeed memories only in black and white. Just a haze of memories. It was horrendously painful.
My first experience with anxiety attacks started before I lined up any support. The episodes always happened when walking up the stairs from my garage to the all first-floor living area.
An overwhelming fear would build up out of nowhere. The feeling would take me to my knees. Then my breath wouldn’t be there. My sobbing didn’t help me get it back. I would shout for God to help me. I would focus on talking with Jesus. Praying in one breath and then screaming at Him in the next breath, “WHY!”
But, life as it was, I cannot remember. Maybe, in part, because I was wailing all the time, every day.
Or perhaps, it was because I fought the thoughts that Marty would not come back. Ever.
In saying goodbye to all the family who traveled for Marty’s funeral service, I sadly learned the widow label. A friend hugged me on her leaving, and she whispered to me, “I’m so sorry you have to be a member of the club no one wants to be a member of, the widows club.”
Even though she whispered, it was ominously loud.
So it didn’t matter how good I was. Or that I would think of more ways I could honor God. Or that I continued to get up, dress up, and show up somewhere daily, including church on Sundays.
Marty died. I did not.
Maybe it’s a blessing there are mostly hazy memories of that first year.
Most Significant Life Emotional Events
I can remember our great first date now 53 years ago, and our Italian wedding day now 51 years ago, quite clearly. There are hundreds of thousands of memories also still with me.
So I suppose even the painful memories must stay in my neural pathways. Sometimes the pain will just surface seemingly out of nowhere. But the fact for me is that I was married to the love of my life for 47 years. We did not get to “say” goodbye in a way I like to think about.
I was at least finally lying beside him because I finally insisted with the doctor to be on his bed. Spared, however, from anything like COVID, many were not allowed to be by that person’s side.
Moving Forward at My Own Pace
Unlike any business experience I have, I don’t find experiencing the death of the most significant person in my life too helpful.
I still love traveling. Even made a trip all by myself at the end of year one. Just to prove to only myself, I could.
I will always relish traveling to be with my family!
I still love throwing friend gatherings. Even though I had no genuine interest in the teams, I had two Super Bowl parties.
I still love dining out, even though COVID makes things a bit concerning.
And, with my newfound love, I am learning that being a couple is a beautiful thing for me.
Life is for people who are alive. My husband would likely be encouragingly telling me this if I could hear him.
Widowhood is moving forward, then falling backward.