July 30 is the anniversary of the day when I woke up and knew something was very, very wrong. Three years ago I drove to the hospital, following the ambulance carrying Rick. I didn’t know it at the time, but he was never coming home.
After three years I no longer actively grieve, but I do mourn. I miss him, each and every day. Car rides and walks are my time to talk with him, and I do so regularly. He was funny and brilliant and kind. We complemented each other well. I miss his advice and support. No matter what, he was always there for me.
Still, I don’t live in the past; I live in the now, in a present that no longer includes Rick or us as a couple. Much of my time is occupied with interests and friends that he never knew.
I spent the first year after his death grieving, an active and painful year filled with the physical work of going through his house and personal effects, and the emotional work of coming to some sense of acceptance over what had happened. I had a plan of concrete things to do, and checked off each item as I completed it. When year two started, I made a new plan, one that focused on me. I registered for online dating, took classes, and made every effort to create a new me with a new life. Year three post-Rick, this year just entering its final month, has been different. I’ve slowed down. I gave up on actively pursuing dating; if it happens, fine, but I’ve come to terms with the realization that I just might be on my own for the rest of my life. This year, I have focused on accepting my life as it is, and trying to find some semblance of peace and enjoyment in what I have.
August remains a transition month for me. Three years ago, I made the transition from wife to widow. Each year since, I’ve slowed down during this month to spend time thinking about where I’ve been and what I’ve learned. August has come to be the time when I try to derive some meaning from my past. I think I’m getting better. I think I’ve truly left grief, that active, burning bright experience, behind me. I feel at home in my life in a way I haven’t for several years.
I am not sure what I want from this next year, the fourth in my new life. I know I’ll be making some major changes, though it’s too early to talk about those yet. I hope to continue growing. I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next, and I’m finally comfortable. Maybe that is enough.