There are 3 kinds of people in my life
- Those who knew me only with Rick. As his wife. The mother of his kids. The maker of his home.
- Those who know me only as Rick’s widow. With no knowledge of him, or our life together, other than what my words can tell.
- Those who do not know me at all. On any level.
For those who knew me as Rick’s wife.
- You knew me as the wife.
- The one who submitted to her husband.
- The one who was backed by her husband.
- The one who was loved, and loved even more.
- The one who waited on him – not just as in serving him food and drink, but as the one who literally waited on him before i went anywhere, or did anything.
- The one whose life was completely and absolutely centered on Rick – as my axis.
- You don’t know me now. As his widow. The one who has been left alone. The one whose whole world came crashing down into a million pieces of debris. The one who is changed – every breath i take, every move i make, changed. Different. And if you continue to hold me to the woman i was as Rick’s wife – you will have an incomplete picture of who i am now.
For those who know me as Rick’s widow.
- Alone. Afraid. Vulnerable. Insecure.
- With such strong memories and sweet stories.
- The one who was loved, and who still loves.
- You don’t know who i was then – strong, confident, assured.
- You can’t know the me i was then – that time of my life is over, forever.
- And i can’t be the me of then, not even to show you who i was.
For those who don’t know me at all.
- Honestly? I find myself envious of you.
- I think you have it the best.
And then, there’s me.
I know the me i was as Rick’s wife.
I know the me i am now.
The exact opposites.
Missing the me i was back then, and stuck with the me i am now.
Trying to find reconciliation between the two – with every breath i take, with every move i make.
Yes, the memories are strong, and the stories are sweet (mostly 😉) – but i don’t live there now.
The memories are like figures moving in the mists to me.
Always just out of my reach, but close enough to see, to even get a whiff, to hear the muffling.
Time marching on doesn’t give me the luxury of wallowing in the past.
Life goes on.
No matter how much i don’t want it to.
Every day takes me one day farther from that life i knew, that me i was.
And every day changes me a little more.
As this widow i am now.
Every day peels away another onion skin layer to process and deal with.
- Whether a dream of the night that i have to convince myself it was “just a dream”.
- Or the breath taking realization of another dream that was lost when Rick died.
- Perhaps another “first” in this long line and life of firsts without him. Which just for the record is a lie of Hell that all the firsts happen in those 12 months following a death! It is a full lifetime of FIRSTS! And each one is a gut punch.
- Layers of emotions – hurt, anger, frustration, discouragement, and guilt. About the life we lived together. About how i have processed and handled life without Rick. About what will my future be – even just this day.
You don’t know me.
The whole me.
No one does anymore.
Not even Rick – cause he isn’t here to know me as this widow.
And in that realization that no one knows the whole me - there is an emptiness, and a loneliness, that i (even as one who loves words and writing) have no words of explanation to give.
Sometimes, i’m not sure i even know me.
At least, not as i am meant to be.
I know that no matter where i go, no matter what i do, and no matter who i am with – family, friend, foe, neighbor or stranger – i am a widow.
This is not a disease to be healed from.
It is not an injury to get over.
It is not a sickness that I will recover from.
This is who i am.
This is what i do.
Be a widow.
And yes, that is much like what i think a tub of ice water would feel like if i was plunged into it – one swift act of plunging, not a gradual descent.
I have heard it often said that being a widow is not for the faint of heart.
That being a widow is a job.
Both are true statements.
It takes work to face the days, the moments.
It takes work to process all of this – the life before, and the life after.
It takes more work to focus on the life that is, and that will be.
I get so tired in it all.
I want to escape.
The only escape i have found is in sleeping – and lately, not even there, because of the night terrors, the dreams that torment, the haunting of my mind and emotions long after the dreams and terrors have ended.
All i can do is let it be.
Let it be.
This is my life.
One breath at a time.
And while i cannot write a manual of how to live this widow’s life, i can share my experiences.
That’s all i can do.
Share . . . and Let it be.
For it really does come down to those words that Rick said so many times -
IT IS WHAT IT IS.
The true sum of my life.
I read a book by Louis L'Amour many years ago. And at this moment, i do not remember the title.
But i remember the statement he made - and that statement has carried me in my life.
He was talking about living in the desert.
And he said, "You fight against the desert, and you will die. It will win. But, if you learn to live with the desert, you will live. And you have won."
If ever there is a desert time of life, it is in being a widow.