I’m a participant in a long-term study on sleep habits being run by the University of Wisconsin. Every March for the past 20 years I’ve received a large questionnaire focusing on my current state of mind and emotional stability along with a 7-day sleep journal. This year my answers to the survey questions landed me in the “run, do not walk, to see a counselor” category.
All things considered, I think I’m doing alright.
My husband died last year, at the end of August. A year earlier, in January 2012, I started the year planning vacations and engaged in my normal day to day life. I had some concerns over his health, but never thought it was anything serious. In mid-July, he was diagnosed with an illness; by the end of August, he was dead.
2013 kicked off as the start of my 5th month of being a widow. My grief was a raw and open wound. I was reeling from the event, still trying to understand what had happened. By January of 2013, I had made it through my birthday, Thanksgiving, the December holidays, and New Years Eve as a widow. I was becoming more used to the emptiness of the house, the deep silence that greeted me every morning when I awoke alone.
Winter continued, and I was depressed, just trudging through each day. Slowly, the days lengthened and I started feeling a little better. I watched spring come, and realized that I was now starting my third season as a widow. Rick’s birthday came, the first where he didn’t get a year older. The headstone was installed on his grave.
This year is now more than half over, and I’m facing the final month of my first year of being a widow, and the final “firsts”: a wedding anniversary that will occur 6 days before the first anniversary of his death.
What’s my “state of the year”? Taking into account what a horrible year it’s been, I think it’s Okay. I’m starting to look forward more than back. I’m starting to have thoughts about what to do next. There are still bad days when I rage against what happened, and despair over what will be, but those bad days happen less. Just like Mary Tyler Moore, I’m gonna make it after all. I think there will be a time, not this year, but sometime, when I can be whole and healthy again.