I started this blog the evening I became a widow, and published the first post the next day. That first post is shaky and unsure; it is an accurate reflection of how I was that day. The writing helped; it let me spill out what was in my soul, good and bad, without worry. I didn’t share this with people I knew; it was my personal space. I was surprised to get comments and likes from other people. Gradually I realized there were many people in similar situations, and that was both sobering and comforting. In November of 2012 I had a post added to the Freshly Posted website, and the increase in readers was astounding.
Around this time I realized that writing this was doing more than just allowing me to state my personal issues; it was helping me feel better. I started caring about what I was writing, started realizing there were things other than grief in my life.
People aren’t like trees; we grow the most in the hardest of times, not when things are going well. I’ve grown a lot this year.
There are different kinds of thinkers. I categorize, classify, and prioritize. I’m great at trivia questions that require placing events in the order they happened. For me this first year has been a series of steps, a path I can physically see in both directions. I move along it, noticing the view at each stopping point. Viewing what’s in the rear-view mirror, peering ahead of what’s coming up, all while keeping an awareness of the present.
Last year around this time, I began to feel that my life was spinning out of control. My husband looked and acted in a way that made me (and others) feel something was seriously wrong, but he was still in denial. It took until mid-July to get a name and a recognition of what was actually happening. The initial prognosis was not rosy but it wasn’t dire, either. In a weird way, being diagnosed was comforting; it provided a reason for a myriad of symptoms and issues. We humans like to name things; words bring power. Having a name, an identification, brought relief. It was short-lived.
Coming up over the next 3 months are the anniversaries of when we met and started dating; our wedding anniversary, and finally, the one-year marker of Rick’s death.
We met online; I saved the email I sent him that day in early June, and his response. Every year I resent these on the same days, and it was a special way to remember how we met. There are other memories coming up; our first date, first time he stayed over, meeting each other’s friends and families. All took place over the summer. A year later we were married at the tail end of August.
This year, those formerly sweet memories will be intermingled with memories from last summer. Our first date in June will be overlaid with the memory of my realizing how physically frail and sick Rick was, and of his visit to the doctor where there was finally some confirmation of what was wrong. Remembrances of meeting each other’s families will be intertwined with memories from last year of doctor visits and diagnoses. August will be the worst, reliving the slide down from life to death. On August 1 of last year Rick was newly hospitalized for what was envisioned to be just a few days. On August 31, I was driving home from the hospital alone, a brand new widow. Our 7th (and final) wedding anniversary was 6 days before he died. It will not be an easy month.
To everyone who has walked with me on this horrible journey, I say thank you. Thank you to everyone who has read my posts and responded positively. Thank you to those who have actually followed this blog. Thank you to everyone who has posted a comment; the amount of insight, wisdom and just support I’ve received is amazing.