How are you as we move from Spring to Summer?
I recently made it through my wedding anniversary without crying. It was my thirty-second, my fourth without my dear other half. As you may know, my word for the year is “acceptance.” I finally accept that I am a widow in every cell of my body. Previously, I just plugged my nose and said, “ok, fine.”
Getting to the acceptance stage is quite freeing. You will be here in time, even if you don’t want to be. Your acceptance will look different than mine, but you will be a new and better person, able to fiercely conquer life.
In the fierce vein, as my anniversary day was coming to an end, I was having a drink with a cute boy from my Meetup pickleball group – ok, he wasn’t a boy, but 54 like me – when my sister called twice in a row. We all know that isn’t good, right? He went to use the restroom and I called her back.Turns out my dad died. When the cute boy returned, I blurted out all manner of facts:
1. My dad died.
2. Today was actually my thirty-second wedding anniversary.
3. It was also the day after my brother’s fourth suicide anniversary.
Then I stood up and walked to my car. I hadn’t felt like the hot mess
widow in a while, but here it was, presenting itself again.
But, still, no tears.
I wonder if this guy will ever want to have a drink with me after pickleball again. LOL!
I immediately went into organization and containment mode. This is my specialty after a twenty-five-year career in public relations. My travel agent gutted our three-week vacation to the Pacific Northwest, which included one week visiting my parents. I kept the airline reservations and the car and we drove straight to my mom’s to help her.
I got to help with all the things. I am so glad she didn’t have to plan the funeral, I helped her choose a new outfit to wear that she felt confident in, and I took over little things and guided her through the first three weeks of widow’s fog.
Do you know what a secondary loss is? A secondary loss is the myriad of losses you will suffer because you lost your soulmate. My secondary loss obsession is that I won’t get a fiftieth wedding anniversary.
Being at my mom’s and helping her through grief has brought up quite a few moments of secondary losses. I look at the pictures around their house, and so many of them include my husband and my dad. I saw the management book in my dad’s bookcase that he loaned my husband years and years ago when he was teaching him to be a better businessman. Then we drove through town and I saw the old tax and accounting business that used to be my dad’s, that my husband helped him set up.
All around there were opportunities to mourn my dear husband, secondarily.
Last night I had a glass of my dad’s wine and relaxed from a stressful day. I wondered how beautiful it would be for my husband to be at my side, doing the driving, being my sounding board, enjoying and expanding our huge repertoire of inside jokes. Just generally making it all ok.
What are some of the secondary losses you feel? Share them with us on The Widow’s Comeback Facebook Page. Or email me and we can chat about them.
I would say “be strong” but I loathe that term. What choice do we have?
With lots of love, Lisa