How am I doing?

I have been a widow now for a year and a half. I’m not sure if this means I should be “used to it” by now or if I should be still actively grieving. There aren’t any rules to follow, so I’m not sure what is normal. People say I’m “handling it well” so I guess I’m doing all right.

I’m reading On Second Thought by Kristin Higgins. One of the characters, Kate, is suddenly widowed when her husband of less than a year trips and hits his head. Her reactions are funny and poignant, and I see myself in her, even to the morbid humor when she thinks at least now she has more closet space. I never went to the store and realized I’d forgotten to put on shoes, but I did do some very strange things that first year. I look back now and wonder what I was thinking.

Of course, I wasn’t thinking. I was on auto-pilot.

I still make  decisions and wonder if Jim would approve. (Or I make a decision knowing full well he wouldn’t approve, such as painting the living room walls, with a sense of defiance and yes, a little guilt.)  Or I accomplish something and exult aloud, “Look there! See what I did?” as if he would suddenly appear and give me that approving grin.

But, I did manage to finish two novels, one published in May and one looking for a home. People handle their grief in different ways  and mine was to lose myself in someone else’s world and someone else’s problems. Neither are not about being a widow. I’m not sure I could write about that, but then…

I already did. Long before Jim died, I wrote a story about a woman who is struggling after the death of her husband. I re-read it now and realize I didn’t know a thing. I’m going to re-write it and hope the story will reveal some true things that I have learned the hard way.

So we go on and the people we loved and lost are still a part of our lives. I pretend sometimes Jim is just in another room, or outside working and will come in and ask if I want to go get lunch.

I know it’s pretense, but that’s what I do. It helps get me through the day.

Maybe, just maybe, it will help me get through the next novel.

 

 

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. CrizGazr
    Jul 23, 2017 @ 09:47:45

    For years, I’d describe it by saying “I feel like a soft-shell crab” so vulnerable and lost. I wore a lot of black leather (it was the 80s) not to be cool but it made me feel safe. People would tell me I needed a thicker skin and get over it. Then I realized that I didn’t want a thicker skin, I did not want to not feel. I wanted a stronger skeleton, I wanted my soul-bones to be strong enough to support the pain, loneliness and grief -so I could heal. It seems there is a time when everyone thinks you should be over it or maybe they got over it faster than you but honestly this is a walk in new woods alone. It seems you know this and are embracing life with Jim’s memory still part of it. I wish I had been as wise as you at 32. <>

    Reply

  2. Sandy Bruney
    Jul 23, 2017 @ 14:07:13

    Not so sure of my “wisdom” and if I’ll ever “get over it.” Last night i was laughing at something on TV and looked over at Jim’s chair to see if he was laughing, too. It was one of our favorite shows and although I’ve seen each episode a dozen times, I still watch because it links me to him.

    Reply

    • carmingo
      Jul 24, 2017 @ 21:29:56

      I find myself doing things like that a lot. The other day I even said out loud: Oh, Look Rufus, Kiri is as big as Pete now–see how she’s grown. Then I realized i was speaking aloud in an otherwise empty room. it is that emptiness that really gets me sometimes, catches me and makes me gasp for breath. Scary. I feel like that proverbial frog in the well, climbing up a few steps then sliding right back down again. It’s hard to look ahead to see that empty road stretching out before me.

      Reply

  3. CrizGazr
    Jul 23, 2017 @ 17:30:57

    Wisdom may not have been the correct word – your love for Jim shows through everything you write here.

    Reply

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