As I entered into my second year of this new, forced life, I am somewhat optimistic that this year will be the one in which I hit my stride.
During my introductory year of widowhood, I spent most of my time in the fog. Or, as Sheryl Sandberg puts it in her eloquent reflection on losing her husband, the void.
It’s a time of my life that is a blank space, literally. I have to go back to my Facebook page or get nudges from my friends to remember what happened. I spent long periods staring blankly into space. I organized a church VBS program two months after my husband died, but I couldn’t tell you thing about it. It’s like that time period in my memory has all been wiped out.
Year two started out promising. While I had heard from some people the second year might actually be worse than the first, I was feeling better. Crying was no longer a daily part of my routine. I started to feel as though I was ready to move beyond surviving and start thriving instead.
Then something happened. I’m not sure what. It might have been that the deep sadness I felt was replaced by a slowly building anger. All I know is that once we hit the fall, my life seemed to start on a steep downhill route that led me to bottom out at around 18 month post-Tom.
It was an awful time. The only time I really worried I might want to hurt myself. It was precipitated by a situation in which I expected some help would be forthcoming and when it was not, it seemed to cement the fact that I’m here alone. Oh, sure, I have amazing friends, but it occurred to me that, at the end of the day, they all have their own families and their own priorities. At the end of the day, no one is really invested in me and my kids.
Once I decided to adjust my expectations of other people (read: I stopped having expectations of other people), I seemed to rebound nicely. And now we are at the end of year two and heading into year three.
If my previous life is any indication, I should be turning a corner.
It took me two years in high school to feel like I found my place.
It took me two years of college to feel like I was ready to be an adult.
It took me two years at my first real job to feel like I belonged there.
Now that I’m two years into widowhood, I’m ready to embrace what is before me. I don’t know if I’ll ever fully let go of what I’ve left in the past, but I also realize that the way I’ve been living for the past two years isn’t healthy. It isn’t healthy for me, and it isn’t healthy for my kids.
Here’s to two being the magic number I need. Here’s to saying good-bye to two years of wandering in the desert and to blazing a future that would make my husband proud.