Two years on from my husband’s death and when people ask me if I’m ok, well sometimes I am and other times I am anything but. The thing about loss and grief is that time might make those sad moments more spaced out, but when they come they’re still as gut wrenching and painful as they were on day one.
I’ve had a few of those days lately where I’ve just wanted to cry about the smallest thing, it feels like the world’s caving in and I can’t keep up this smiling pretence any longer. I just want to be on my own and sob, feel sorry for myself and let it all go. I’m tired of this brave face and when the flashbacks come, they come and I feel just as I did the night Roger died.
I feel like I did when I walked from his hospice room to the car just as it was turning dark, texting a few close friends to tell them the news. It’s emptiness, it’s numbness and it’s not a place I want to be in for long.
I thought two years in I might be in a much better place than I am. I mean don’t get me wrong, I am not without hope and the times I’ve described above are generally not that common.
Maybe this post is coming across as pretty miserable because that was how I felt at the time I started writing it. If you know me in real like you’ll know I laugh a lot. I have a big mouth and it’s often smiling. I don’t look like a misery and I’m genuinely not.
But if something happens to knock me, it really knocks me and I feel like I’m back at square one.
From reading about other people’s experiences this is a really common thing. I read blogs, books, columns and Facebook groups for people who have been widowed and so many people have the same kinds of feelings. Knowing it’s how most people react doesn’t really help though, when I’m in the moment and full of sadness.
I think back to conversations Rog and I had in the hospice before he died, about my future and what it might hold. You’ll have to move back to Yorkshire, he said. Well I’ve done that.
This time in two years you’ll be married again, he said. Well I definitely won’t be that, despite dipping my toe into the water of dating pretty unsuccessfully. (More on that in future posts, I’m sure).
But what I always remember is that he knew going on alone would be hard for me. He knew we’d had each other when he needed me, and he couldn’t be there for me when I’d need him. This one really upsets me, because I know how true it is and it shows what kind of a man Rog was, how much he cared for me and why I feel so alone in the world without him.
Anything’s possible – if you’ve got enough nerve – JK Rowling
You are still here for a reason – One Fit Widow
I like these two mantras, and they do make me feel better to an extent. But I mean it’s all very well reading the inspirational quotes, the stories of people who have come through the other side of this feeling great, but that’s not real life every day, is it? I mean I think I’m a pretty positive person, I try to hold my head up and keep going because the alternative is to sink into a hole at home, and if I went that way I don’t think I’d ever manage to climb out. But two years on, am I ready to say I’m healed? No, I’m definitely not.
I wouldn’t have thought an anniversary would affect me but the weeks around the date Roger died, July 17, have been tough this year and last. Once the date has passed I’m hoping the cloud will lift again, but for now I’m just having to ride it out.
Last year I wrote about how we scattered half of his ashes on the beach near where we used to live, and you can read it here if you like.
I want to be honest because I know people read my blog to make sense of things that have happened to them, and although I like writing about beautiful things and happy moments in my life it’s not like that 24/7 and I don’t want to pretend it is.
I have moments where I feel like a changed person, a strong person and the future looks bright. But there are also times when I struggle to find the energy to get up in the morning. I mean I do, because I have two kids and no choice, but it’s not easy.
Maybe one of the thoughts that keeps me motivated is knowing we never know what’s coming. I’ve experienced this terrible ways, but in good ways too. I’ve seen glimpses of how I can move forward and I’ve come to accept I’ll never get to a place where I’m over what’s happened. I have lots of people around who love me (luckily they keep reminding me) and two gorgeous kids to take my mind off things. They’re used to seeing me cry, the past few weeks far more than usual, but they know how to cheer me up too.
Hopefully one day they’ll understand why I sometimes burst into tears at bath time, or how I sometimes swear too much because I’m tired of doing it under my breath.
One day they’ll know.