First of all, I apologize for the rambling mess this post is likely to be. But if I don’t write all these thoughts out they just keep doing laps in my head. I debated whether or not to put a link to this post on Facebook, but I decided yes. If people are interested it will give them some idea about where I am three years after Bill’s death. And if they’re not interested, that’s okay too.
Bill died three years ago on Oct. 5. Not Oct. 4, as I’d been thinking for the past week. The realization this morning that I had the date wrong crushed me. It didn’t matter that, as my sister pointed out, his death sort of spread out over the two days. He went into the hospital on the 4th. We said our good-byes on the 4th. He went to sleep on the 4th. He died in the early morning of the 5th. But I was unbelievably upset when I realized I had the death date wrong. In chaos, the negative voices rise up and do their best to destroy me. They almost won this morning.
I’ve found that the two weeks leading up to the anniversary of Bill’s death are extremely hard. Like my friend, Leah, remarked – the movie of their last days, last hours, last minutes replays over and over in your mind. I hate that movie, but in these two weeks I can’t seem to stop watching it.
I don’t see it as three years that I’ve lived without Bill. To me, it’s that I’ve gotten through each day of the year three times since he died. That’s not much at all. Don’t they say it takes 21 days to form a habit? I’m far from the habit of living without him.
And it hurts. God, it hurts. The best analogy I can come up with is if you have a deep wound – you bandage it up and leave it to heal. It hurts to peel off the bandage and how it’s doing, and when you do you find it’s still a big hole and is actually inflamed. So you irrigate it with lots of salt water, expose it to the air for awhile, then bandage it up again. That’s my grief journey anyway. My tears are irrigating my grief, and writing this is helping me expose it to the air. Then I will bandage it up again, and carry on.
The times when my grief is most inflamed are not the times I expected. For me, like I said, the two weeks leading up to Bill’s death date are the hardest, but other hard times are my birthday, the first bbq of the summer, coming home from a trip, the first crisp fall morning, and sometimes even just random days when something or other triggers a flood of grief. Don’t ever worry that you’ll “set me off” – you have no control over it, and neither do I. And it’s okay. I sometimes think I should make up a sign “Widow Grieving” to wear around my neck, so people won’t have to worry about why there are tears streaming down my face. But they would worry anyway, because people care. And I love them for that.
I have a great life. And I know it. But sometimes the pain of my loss overwhelms me and the only way I know to address it is to cry it out. I will be okay. But probably not until after the 5th.