My world fell apart five years ago and I used words to create a life raft. My husband was diagnosed with a terminal disease and died six weeks later. Every day was worse than the day before. Seeing words on the computer screen was the only way I could process what was happening. The day after he died I sat with my morning coffee and wondered what the hell I was going to do. I started this blog.
I used writing to work my way through the obstacle course of grief. Nothing else was as helpful. The online support group I joined was made up of people mourning the end of decades-long relationships. We were married seven years; I knew how to call a plumber and pay bills. I saw a grief counsellor who said you could get what you wanted in life by wishing, and told me a story about his new car. I never went back.
Writing helped. I published my first few tentative posts and was amazed to see responses. Some were from people going through the same tough journey as me. I read their blogs and realized that while this was a solo trip, I was not the only one making it. I kept writing. A lot of my time at work during those first few months was spent writing (I can say that now that I am retired).
Eventually the active grief ended, but it never fully stopped. I was a new person, different from who I had been before all of this happened. I started writing about other things. The blog was renamed to show my expanded focus. I spent the second anniversary of Rick’s death rereading old blog posts from those first months. It was hard to get through; none of the rawness and pain was hidden.
This August will mark the fifth anniversary of Rick’s death. He was five years older than me; on my birthday this year, I will be the same age he reached, and soon after I will be older than he ever was. So much in my life has changed. I have new interests that take up much of my time, and new friends he never knew. I retired last year. Some of the people we both knew and loved died. I wonder where my life would be had he lived.
I stopped writing for a while; a while that lasted over a year. Just as I was feeling ready to emotionally move forward, my brother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He died shortly after, and I fell back into grieving. There was little to say that I had not said earlier, and there was nothing else that seemed worth talking about.
Now, though, I am ready to go back to the discipline of putting thoughts to paper in a coherent and meaningful way (or at least, that is the goal). I hope there is someone out there interested in reading this, but if not, I will still be here, trying to make some sense out of myself and the world.