Time and The Widow

I have always had an abnormal sleep schedule. This time last year, the infinite annoyances from my pregnancy hindered sleeping. My nightstand was the resting place for Melatonin, and any other potential fix. My frustration at my husbands positiveness and our inevitable discussions, was always short-lived. I’ve heard Aaron fiercely explain why Firefly is the most underrated TV show in existence. I’ve watched a cat “sing” the Game of Thrones theme. Usually, all before my eyes have adjusted. Yet, I didn’t mind waking at 4:45 a.m. and doing that every morning. Our days were monotonous, and I was waking up happy. delighted to be alive, and thankful for the beautiful eyes staring back at me. The idea that I would one day dread the moment I woke up had never existed in my world, before.

Eventually, August came around. I had envisioned the month before our daughters birth to be a simple one. One spent enjoying the last month without an infant, and bonding with the boys. I foresaw buying school supplies and packing our hospital bag to be the most arduous tasks. My youngest son’s 3rd birthday was taking place at the end of the month. We finalized the details the day after we celebrated Aaron’s birthday – he turned 38 years old on July 30th, 2017. The photo above is one of my favorites, taken that day.

The picture itself is not remarkable, or memorable at first glance. A photo I once looked at with adoration, now fills me with dread. Dread for my past self – it would be the last picture we took together. In less than 7 days, he would be dead. When I went to our home to pack a few things for myself and the kids, his birthday cake was still in the fridge.

Dread is one of my most prominent emotions throughout this first year after loss. I would attempt to fall back to sleep in the hopes of avoiding 8:57 a.m. for the first two weeks. This was my attempt to avoid being aware of the moment it would become exactly x days without my husband. Every Sunday night for the next 6 weeks, I did my best to avoid Game of Thrones. Once I resumed, I found myself in a new cycle. I’d find myself forgetting he was dead, and remembering that meant we’d never discuss it. I dreaded the hospital and grocery store as much as our anniversary, and Christmas. I dreaded planning and celebrating my son’s third birthday, and the birth of our daughter. The irony of being so prominent and engrained in each others lives – is dreading every single moment, once he died.

I have heard “Time will help”. The hard truth is that the pain does not get easier with time, and it does not lessen in it’s intensity. Rather, the moments that trigger it, and reminders of it happen farther apart. Time does not heal the wound itself. Our bodies and minds develop mannerisms and methods that help handle our grief. I’m receding back into an emotional state that’s intensifying as the anniversary approaches. The pain remains, and the hollowness feels thick enough to touch. There is a longing for what used to be – and sometimes my heart aches, and feels so desperate that I swear it’s going to break. We celebrated July 4th together, and his birthday is approaching. The one year mark is…God. Exactly a month away.

Everything we loved and experienced bear the effects. From the vast and unconstrained skies we danced under, to the small and insignificant. A youtube video, a TV show, a certain time: 8:57 a.m. or 4:45 a.m. Anything that was part of our world, can be catalyst for our grief. No matter, my stance will always be the same. I would rather know the depths of griefs reach, instead of never experiencing something wonderful enough to miss

9 thoughts on “Time and The Widow”

  1. I understand I’m at 2 1/2 months with 1 grown Daughter and a Daughter that is a Junior with Autism she and her Dad were so close! Trying to find a new normal for us but I liked the other normal! Praying for you and all of us for a better day!

    1. I had a very hard time accepting that what used to be my ‘normal’, was now not an option anymore. It has been incredibly hard with the little ones, but they also give me the motivation on my hardest days. Hoping you and your daughters are finding some comfort.

  2. I will be praying for you and your children . I’m dreading the day that I step into your shoes as much as you dread the anniversary. I love your perspective and, while he still lives, we live our lives like it’s already over. I think, in that, I can understand your feelings.

    1. Jeannie,
      I had not experienced any additional loss of life, with the exception of my husband. This past weekend a friend passed away. She fought very hard, for a very long time. Many of my closest friends were affected – I caught a small glimpse of the emotional and mental toll it can take on a family. When I step back from this recent events, I can see that although all of our situations are different, the cycle of grief is very similar. Wishing you well!

  3. I am so sorry for your loss! So young! On the 4th of July I lost the love of my life after a battle with Frontal Temperol Degeneration. I had been grieving for 1.5 years and now dread each day as I wake up without him here. Your blog is very well written and I need to hear how others are handling their grief. Thank you for sharing. My husband turned 64 in June.

    1. Sorry for your loss – and on such a significant date here in the US. The first 5 minutes in the morning was the hardest part of the day during the first few weeks. Even though my initial mood in the morning has improved, motivating myself to do the Dishes or fold laundry is still almost impossible some days. At one year out, I am still looking to others for guidance and expect to for years to come. My son turned 5 at the end of June – it’s a very good birthday month.
      Take care!

  4. I relate so deeply to everything you wrote about in missing your husband, even though my husband is sitting right next to me. It’s the little, everyday, taken-for-granted things that we thought would always be there and no longer are that trigger such grief for me. Some days I just don’t know how I can keep going on because my heart is completely broken because of FTD/PPA. I also feel guilty because at least we had many years together and you were not able to have that time. Each person’s heartbreak is so unique. Thank you for sharing. Take care

  5. Hi Natalie, from the article dates I think the 1 year anniversary for your husband has just passed. I’m so sorry for your loss and heartbreak. Reading your post was as though I had written it myself. My husband was 39 when he died suddenly and unexpectedly. That was in October 2017. The anniversary of his death looms, but just 1 month before that I will experience our 12th wedding anniversary. Dread is my constant companion. My husband and I are huge Game of Thrones fans. I mean HUGE! I wasn’t with him when he died so I only saw him a few days afterwards to identify him. One of the first things that popped out of my mouth was: “Now you’ll never know how Game of Thrones ends.” My husband and I loved joking around and teasing each other. Even at my very last moments with him I teased. He would have liked that. He too thought Firefly was one of the best shows ever. He watched all of the superhero shows too. He was a big kid and I loved that about him.
    Like you, dread of familiar places and times were excruciating. 5:30 pm was the worst for me for many months. I couldn’t stand going to the grocery store or pharmacy or any other place he and I went to in our life together. The pain was so bad that 3 months ago I moved to an entirely different city. That has helped some. My sweet Jo is in my thoughts every second. I dread going to bed for fear that if I don’t fall asleep quickly I will think too much and break. When I wake in the morning I dread the start of another day without him. He was my best friend and the kindest, most gentle person I’ve ever met. The world is a darker place without him.
    We didn’t have children; just 3 cats! I don’t have family anywhere near so I’m alone. If you have any advice for me on how to get through or what to expect on the anniversaries coming up, I would greatly appreciate that.

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