Time Frame > Beyond the First Year (1+ years)

Passed three years

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Jess:
I just passed three years last week. I have been thinking a lot about me before being widowed, me just after being widowed, and me now. It is like three different people cut from a similar cloth but so very different.

Before being widowed, I was very naive and had no idea. I believed in sure things. I was a planner. I got upset over meaningless nothings and although I would try not to hold grudges, I still would. I didn't have a lot of focus on my career because I felt my main purpose was supporting my husband and his important work. I felt loved, secure, and happy in our marriage... and then he was gone.

Just after being widowed, I thankfully am very fuzzy on the details, but I do remember some things. I wished for death to come find me the way it found Joe. I'd fantasize about jets crashing into my house, a rogue meteor deciding my living room was a proper landing area. I didn't eat and lived on protein shakes. It took me about four months to stop sleeping on the couch and start sleeping in my bed. I made a return to work after three weeks, but I couldn't really do my job in any capacity for a few more months. I would try to watch a 30 minute tv show and it would take me three tries to do it. Time stretched on so long and far it felt like it took a week to live a single day. The idea of continuing to excruciatingly tick off time just waiting for the world to be done with me felt far worse than death.

Through the support of friends, including many here, eventually time returned to its normal pace. I decided that this new life I never wanted had to mean something, and I kept coming back to something Joe would say when posed with a choice: "I just want you to be happy". So, as impossible as it was, that is what I set out to do. Simply find some way to be happy.

I began to think about my career in a way I hadn't before and have gotten promoted. By all accounts, I'm doing really great at my new role, which I have now been in for a year. There's some exciting possibilities on the horizon on that front and I am scared as hell, but also feeling ready.

I had to move households because I couldn't afford the home we had together. The new place is smaller, but chopped about 30 minutes off of my commute so it is a good thing. I am slowly making my way through Joe's stuff and selling or donating it as I decide is fitting. I am getting close to having a third bedroom in my home instead of boxes stacked floor to ceiling. Although that work is hard, it makes me feel lighter each time I make an actual decision.

A few days after being widowed, I told people I would never look for anyone to be in my life again. The pain was just too much. Turns out, despite me not looking, I did find someone, and we have a wonderful life together where we do our best to remember that every moment is important. Joe and I never were successful having kids, but I now am bonus mom to a wonderful 19 year old that I love as much as if I raised her.

So, when I think about whether or not I have been successful in being happy, I have to say yes. The sad days don't go away altogether. A few times a week when I drive to work I let my mind drift and usually emit a single sob before pulling it together and walking into the office to throw myself into continuing to build my career. Other days I give it permission to wash over me more and live in the hazy sadness of just missing a wonderful guy, but those days are getting fewer and farther in between.

I remember being so terrified of forgetting him, especially since shock did a number on me in the beginning and I had trouble conjuring up simple details about him. Things started coming back and sometimes still will come back, more often than not making me smile.

If you made it this far in my ramblings, thank you for taking the time and humoring me as I type out a lot of the things that have been on my mind.

Wheelerswife:
Hugs, Jess.

I have enjoyed a small window into your story. I think it is important to tell that story, too. I think it is important to hear the stories of our members as each moves through life after widowhood. I know it gives me hope that I, too, can find more purpose and reinvent myself -again.

Best wishes to you and J and H.

Maureen

Julester3:
Hugs Jess! Thank you so much for sharing! It's valuable to see what 3 years out could look like.

JeanGenie:
Jess, Thanks for sharing! There is so much of what you described that I can related to. I especially love your analogy of it being like three different people...I can so relate to that. I just haven't totally figured out the third person yet....but I'm starting and I'm hopeful and scared at the same time. Your story gives me hope though!
 

MR:
Thanks for sharing. I haven't gone thru my wife stuff and was thinking why it is taking me so long. I am 11 months since that day. After reading yours I realized I don't have to rush.

Hugs
Manoj

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