After my husband died on July 10, 2018, I remember thinking there was no way I’d make it one piece past the first year, and at times, I still can’t fathom how I made it, but I did.
During these past four years; I’ve had unbearable days, I’ve had good days, I’ve had overwhelming days, I’ve had joyous days, I’ve had physically painful days, and I’ve had smile-filled days.
Contrary to the time heals all wounds platitude, time doesn’t heal the wounds of grief. Time does not eliminate grief. What I can attest to is that with time you’ll experience more good days because time allows you to adjust and learn how to co-exist with grief.
I’m not going sugarcoat it and tell you that time magically gets you to this point. It doesn’t. It’s hard work filled with many emotions, from crying, pounding a pillow–whatever it takes to let it out, and in doing so, time helps you shed the initial devastation of grief.
Grief lives deep in our souls, and it’s a permanent scar that never goes away, much like when one breaks a bone, it still aches on a rainy day. But that doesn’t mean that you don’t adjust to that ache. You do. That’s what time does. It helps you adjust to the pain and to the new life.
Even after four years into this new life, there are days that I cry and have those heart-aching moments, but I am finding that with time I recuperate faster.
The one thing time has not made any better is how much I miss him. I miss him every single day, but that doesn’t mean I steep myself into darkness because of that, it just means that he lives inside my heart and my memories.
I talk about him all the time, and I can smile and even laugh when relaying stories about our life. That’s what time has done as well.
I treasure my memories with my husband and guard them with my heart because memories are all I have left, and I hold on to them because it keeps him close to me.
All the adventures we’ve enjoyed together can never be lost or forgotten, and our deep connection, love, and friendship are a part of me, and will always be a part of me.
Like everyone else, our life had its challenges but together the Avengers had nothing on us—we slew it, using our sense of humour and our incredible bond that translated into teamwork no matter what the challenge.
David had the strength of a warrior and the heart of an angel, and I saw that especially when he was given the tragic news of his cancer diagnosis.
It was his decision not to let cancer define him and remained the same witty, strong, passionate, loving man throughout all the myriad of tests and treatments.
Together we made the most of every day he had left and didn’t allow the dark cloud of cancer to burst into a rainfall of dread.
It was tough. I’m not going to lie, and many times I retreated into my emotional stall–a scalding hot shower with the music turned up–where I would let the fear of what the future would bring without him, and I’d break down and cry.
I truly believe it was his optimism, and a home filled with hope and positivity that helped him live longer than his doctors expected.
I am forever grateful that we had lived our whole marriage by making the most of each day, and celebrating the little things in life so that he bequeathed us all with a treasure trove of beautiful memories.
There are reminders all around me of the beautiful life we shared and sometimes those reminders yank me out of a dark day, and at the same time, the reminders can also open a floodgate of tears at the most inopportune places. Like a grocery store.
You see, orange sorbet was the only thing he wanted to eat and could tolerate during the last few months of his life.
I walked by the ice-cream freezer section and spotted a tub of orange sorbet, and I burst into tears. I dug out my sunglasses and slipped them on.
So what if people thought I was having a rock star moment wearing shades in the grocery store. It wasn’t because I was ashamed of my tears, it was more that it was a private moment and I didn’t feel like sharing it with any concerned passerby. Widowhood allows us to control when we want to share a moment like this and when we don’t want to explain ourselves.
Then there are the memories that bring tears from laughter. I can still hear my husband’s laughter at all my–what he loved to call, Lucy moments.
Like the time we hiked one of the canyons in Sedona, Arizona, and I accidentally fell backward and landed on my behind on top of a cholla cactus plant.
I screamed as if I were going to audition for the next Chucky Horror movie. After helping me down to the Rangers station, my husband was informed that he would need to pluck out each of the little pricks lodged in my behind with tweezers. I had to lay face down in the car until we got back to our hotel.
All was well and I healed after a few days. Bless his heart, he never once reminded me that I should’ve paid attention to the tour guide’s instructions and he never uttered the, I told you not to take a detour to take pictures–he was also a smart man.
One of many memories where we both pulled out our sense of humour that helped us get through one of our embarrassing moments (admittedly, mostly my klutzy moments).
To the widowed brotherhood and sisterhood reading this who unfortunately relate to the emotions expressed in this blog post; to you I say, always remember, we’ve been battered by grief, we’ve endured the burning pain of heartbreak, and we’ve all, even on the most unbearable of days have remained upright, helped each other, our families, worked, and faced daily challenges, because we had no choice, and also because we are stronger than we ever realized we were.
Take pride in yourself for everything that you’ve endured.
Take pride in how you survived an undescribable heartbreaking pain.
Take pride in the fact that you kept going, even during the moments when you wanted to give up.
Take pride in your perseverance, and in your growth.
Give yourself the same grace and love that you gave to your beloved and that you give to your loved ones.
As for me, I’m still adjusting to this new life, and co-existing with my grief. As I continue to be a work in progress, I’m still navigating through all the emotional landmines, and I keep working on figuring out who I am now.
I continue to honour my husband’s legacy of love, life, family and acceptance of things out of my control.
I continue to enjoy our grandchildren, and we always talk about my husband and share many stories of our adventures, and their memories of the fun and loving times they had with him.
I continue to use my creativity as an outlet and most importantly, I begin and end each day with not only thoughts of my beloved husband, but also begin and end each day with a grateful meditation and prayer for the years that I was honored and privileged to love him and be loved by him and for the love and life we shared.