8 Months Ago …

December 29, 2010

Chris collapsed walking into work and we both died.  I can’t believe it has been 8 months.  Chris has been dead longer than we were married.

I was going to write about the day he died as I haven’t really talked much about it here, but I don’t feel up to it.  It is still so raw, it makes me sick to think about it. 

I will highlight one accomplishment for today, I went shopping.  I know to many it wouldn’t seem like such a big deal, but I haven’t wanted to buy new clothes since I lost the 15 lbs after Chris died.  I am trying to care about how I look again. It is hard to look in the mirror, I don’t recognize the person looking back.  She looks the same, if more gaunt and tired, but I feel so different. 

Next … a haircut. 

Wishing everyone peace tonight.

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Baby,

It is Christmas and it is cold and dark.  I spent last night with your family and it made me so sad to know that they don’t get to have you for Christmas anymore, they don’t get to have me either, as I am not really me anymore. 

 We sat around the table that I remember from when we were first dating and I was so nervous and wanted them to like me. I kept expecting you to walk around the corner and sit next to me, kiss me and joke around with the rest of us.

I went to your grave today.  I don’t go as often as I should, or maybe I go to often.  I hate that you are there alone in the cold.  Every time I go I hate to leave you.  I know in spirit you aren’t there, but I am desperate to be close to you, and the body I loved the hands, eyes, hair, arms, back, feet are there.

I wander through my day seeking you out, but can’t find you.  I email you, I write you, I write here.  I talk to you, I listen to the old message I have that use to make me laugh but now makes me cry.  I walk around the house from room to room, touch your things, putting on your clothes, looking at pictures, avoiding pictures.  My urge to be with you is limitless, instinctual, and can never be satisfied.

How am I going to get through tomorrow and the day after.  My first Christmas without you.  We only got 4 Christmases together, two while dating, one engaged, one married. What is worse is all the Christmases we will never have.  We will never get to watch our little ones have their first Christmas and stay up late to build gifts for them.  It weighs so heavily on my heart; I don’t have the words to express it.

I wish I had something positive and uplifting to say, some wonderful Christmas message. But I don’t.  All I have is my undying love for you, my handsome husband, my sexy beast. 

I love you forever,

M

Chris napping with our first tree in 2008

I wish ….

December 22, 2010

that I could cuddle up with Chris on the couch

that I could call Chris to talk about our day and make plans for dinner

that we got to pick out Christmas gifts for our families together, rather than me wandering around Barnes and Noble trying not to have a breakdown in the middle of the store

that I got to surprise Chris again with a great gift like last year

that we got to decorate our house together and do the traditions we had started the year before

that I was pregnant and we could tell our families as a Christmas surprise like we had joked about

that I could see his smile, hear his laugh, hold his hand, see his face, hold him in my arms, rub our feet together for warmth

that I didn’t feel so damn lonely, even when surrounded by truly wonderful family and friends

that this Christmas wasn’t so depressing and empty

that I could keep going on as before, strong and confident in Chris’s love, our love, that he is with me now

that I didn’t struggle with bitterness and resentment everyday

that I didn’t dread the future

that I could go back to being Chris’s wife, not his widow

Hopefully some of them will come true and maybe this will be the worst Christmas of my life and they will all get better from here.

Winter

December 17, 2010

Last winter with my baby

I may have said this already, but last winter was the happiest time of my life. Chris and I were finally married, we were redoing the basement, talking about having kids, and we got to spend tons of time together since we kept getting snowed in.  We built snow forts and had an actual war, sled in our yard (with several “homemade” sleds), made delicious food, and cuddled a lot.  It was heaven.  I never wanted it to end, I wanted to stay like that forever, live forever.  What could heaven have on being at home with Chris? Nothing.  Being away from him is hell not heaven.  If I could go back and relive our winter, I would, over and over and over.  All the while, he was slowly dying, and neither of us knew, but that is a topic for another post.

It snowed today, with actual accumulation and it made me angry, sad, so many  hard emotions.  I was angry that I had to deal with the annoyances of the snow (bad roads, shoveling, etc) without him.  I was sad that I can’t experience the fun parts of snow with him anymore.  I fear another big snow like last year (i.e. feet and feet of snow), I don’t think it would be good for my mental state to be snowed in alone for a week.  I don’t want to shovel on my own. I don’t want to feel like a burden and needing someone to come get me or help me.  I hate it all. 

But I did it.  I got home without Chris’s truck.  I shoveled my drive way and sidewalk on my own. I am making chili  that he loved and watching tv.  It is quiet, but I am getting use to it. 

I just love him and if he could just be here, then I would be in heaven.

Widow Brain

December 16, 2010

I had a post laid out in my mind that I was going to write tonight, but I don’t remember it now.  This is what I call widow brain.  It is characterized by forgetfulness, lack of attention, inability to focus, and general reduced functioning.  It is written about in most grief books, but that doesn’t do it justice. It really permeates everything.  I use to have an amazing memory, now entire events and conversations don’t even ring a bell.  I have to write everything down, and I mean everything. I walk into one room to do something and then in the 10 feet to that room I forget what I was doing.  It is so annoying. It makes me feel like such a waste of space, half a person.   

It is part of the overall, overwhelming feeling of not knowing what happened to my life.  Who is this person I see in the mirror? I don’t recognize her. I am pretty sure Chris wouldn’t recognize her.  She doesn’t recognize Chris either.  It is all disconnected and jumbled.  Dark and clouded.  Far and quiet.  Cold and empty.

So among the many losses that are a result of Chris’s death, my mind is one of the hardest.

Pride

December 15, 2010

At our rehearsal dinner October 2009

For any of you widows out there, you probably know how many thoughts run through your head as you grieve.  The continual change of mood, thought and emotion can be overwhelming, especially as many of these emotions can be very complicated.  I have tried to find ways to look at Chris’s life with positive thoughts.  Not long after Chris’s birthday, as I was in a moment of fully understanding and acknowledging that Chris is gone for the rest of my life, that his life is over, that all has been decided, I tried to focus on my role in his life and on how he may have looked at it.  I know I made him happy, so happy he said the night before he died he never wanted to leave me and wanted to be with me forever, and I want to take pride in that.  Pride in the fact that he got to be happy until the last moments of his life because I loved him so much.  Not many people get to have that.

It is of course easier said than done.  It is a tough pill to swallow.  I would much rather spend the rest of my life making him happy liked I vowed to do on our wedding day. But I don’t get that choice.  I don’t get to make him food he loves, I don’t get to make him laugh so hard he cries, I don’t get to rub his neck and shoulders when they hurt, I don’t get to give him children.  It is the worst feeling anyone could ever feel and words don’t do it justice.  But when it threatens to consume me, I try to focus on what I did get to do.  I got to give Chris the happiest day of his life (so he told me), our wedding day. I got to give him 4 years of wonderful memories, laughter, and love.  I got to support the things he loved and make them important to me.  I got to be a loving girlfriend, fiancée, wife and make him feel like the most important person in the world.  I got to create a home for him that he never wanted to leave.  I got to strenghten his faith.  I got to give him a love that was unconditional, limitless, and is stronger than death and I am proud.

On the outside

December 10, 2010

As a young widow, sometimes you feel like an outsider, like a social leper.  No one expects me to be widowed, half the time people don’t think I am old enough to be married, much less widowed.  It makes social situations so much more awkward than they already are.  Simple questions and activities become an emotional issue and conversation killer.  For example, I was taking a tour and the guide asked me how long I had been married (I still wear my rings, can’t bear to leave them in a box somewhere).  Normally I would have happily said, X amount of time.  Now I have to take some deep breaths while I decide how to respond (i.e. my husband died, I am a widow, I am widowed, lie and say over a year, etc) and try not to burst into a sobbing fit.  So I drop the bomb, because I can’t lie. I can’t pretend he is alive.  I say I am widowed.  Silence.  After a beat, “I am sorry”, although it is more in the I am sorry I asked way, and then silence until someone changed the subject. 

Now I am not saying it is anyone’s fault or that anyone is a bad person, in fact in this instance someone came up to me later and said he lost a woman he loved too.  That is why I don’t lie, so that maybe other people will speak up about their loss or at least not feel as awkward.  But it just shows how hard it is to bear this burden on every level of life. To be the exception to the rule. The example of tragedy and great loss.  To see people physically shrink away from you and avoid you. To have to live it in every day-to-day situation.  That is my life now. 

For those of you who like statistics, as of 2003, only 400,000 women aged 25-29 were widowed out of a representative population of over 9 million.  (source: US Census data http://www.census.gov/prod/2004pubs/04statab/pop.pdf)

I feel so apart, so unconnected to everyone else who hasn’t lost a spouse.  I am not a happy normal person.  I am an outsider.  I feel like Harry and Luna, the only people who can see the thestrals at Hogwarts. There is something about the way this scene plays out in the book, the isolation, the separation, I relate to it.

Harry Potter: “What are they?
Luna Lovegood: “They’re called Thestrals. They’re quite gentle, really… But people avoid them because they’re a bit…
Harry Potter: “Different. But why can’t the others see them?
Luna Lovegood: “They can only be seen by people who’ve seen death.
Harry Potter and Luna Lovegood discussing Thestrals.[src]

   thttp://www.allmoviephoto.com/photo/2007_harry_potter_order_of_the_phoenix_061.html

A letter to my husband

December 1, 2010

This is a letter I started to write Chris to post on his birthday, and then I chickened out.   But emboldened by other bloggers’ courage, I am posting it. 

Hi Baby,

It is your birthday.  It has been over six months since you died.  I can’t believe you left me. 

It was one of the hardest mornings, not waking up next to you and being the first person to tell you Happy Birthday!  The house was quiet.  No sounds of your snoring, no sounds of your big feet padding across the floor (I really miss your feet, how strange, I never really thought about your feet before, but I miss them), no sounds of your coffee maker going off, no sounds of your sleepy voice telling me to stay in bed.  What a change from last year. 

I hate not being able to force you to celebrate your birthday. I hate not being able to fuss over you and give you gifts you treasure.  Last year I got you the compass watch you loved so much.  I hate living without you. It is the winter to our summer.

When I was in church today, where we had your funeral, I cried for the whole hour.  But I remembered a long ago conversation, where we talked abstractly about death.  I revealed my fear of it, the not knowing the nothingness.  You talked of your fear for leaving people behind.  As always, thinking of others above yourself.  You said that you didn’t want to leave the people you loved and wanted them to be taken care of, protected, and ok.  Well as I remembered that, I decided the best birthday gift I could give you is to be ok, or at least try to be ok.  

I love you with all my heart and just wish to be with you.

Your wife,

M

It has been over a month

December 1, 2010

and I am back.

I had a brief period of not being sure why I would write this blog.  Who would read it? Did I actually want people to read it? To have all my pain and most private thoughts out on the web? Well clearly I am posting again so I decided it wasn’t an issue.  I feel the need to have a place to put thoughts, post activities, and remember Chris.  So here goes again.