Get over it
This would have been our 37th wedding anniversary; it is one of those weird things that I am not sure how to word. I am never clear on which verb tense I should use or whether or not I should keep counting the years at all. It is so confusing sometimes!
I used to say that the second year was harder than the first, but I no longer think that. I was recently asked by someone why widows say it “gets worse” or that the second year is harder than the initial loss with all of that grief. In spite of the fog and the numbness, nothing really hurt worse than the day Jim died. I was told that it would take one month for every year I was married to recover and heal. Who came up with that number?! Really?!
One of the things I have come to realize is that I will never “get over” the “loss” of my husband (btw…He is not lost because I know where he is). It is not that I am stuck in grief. It is not that I am depressed. It is because the love of my life – my life partner – my better half – left planet earth and left me behind! I think people have stopped asking how long ago Jim died because they think that I am “over it”. My lifestyle would indicate that. I don’t ever broadcast that I am not “over it” because I don’t like the pitiful looks, nor do I feel like I am drowning in grief and sorrow anymore. Further, I do not think there is something wrong with me, although others would think so, if I said I will never get over Jim’s death. Is the raw edge gone? Yes! Has the pain diminished? Absolutely. Do I miss Jim? Well of course! Has my life changed forever? Duh!
The fact is others are “over it”. And, it is easier for them if I am “all better” because then they don’t want to deal with it! People are uncomfortable with death and they hate the word “widowed” (well so do I!). People want life to go on and for me to be the person I was “before”, which is IMPOSSIBLE! Even though Jim is gone I did not lose my memories of the years we had together and the life we enjoyed. It existed and it changed me! (I am daily reminded by the 2 beautiful and amazing human beings we created and raised).
By watching some friends who are ahead of me on the journey and by reading several books on grief, I am learning to take days like my anniversary to process life since Jim went to heaven. I use these moments to stop and look back on how far I have come since my husband passed away. I have changed my focus from trying to get to the other side of grief and just appreciate the healing I have accomplished. It helps to pause and reflect on the distance I have come since that darkest season of my life. It makes all the difference to move forward one day at a time and to be grateful for the man who loved me and married me and changed me both as he came into my life and as he left it!
So I think about some of the things I didn’t know: Now I pay the bills and manage a budget. I can do simple car repairs and assemble furniture. I mow lawns and weed whack. I moved twice. I have become more tech savvy. I handle all kinds of things that I never imagined I would. I stopped looking for Jim in my sleep. I no longer wear a wedding ring because I no longer feel married. I planned a wedding and gave away my girl. I bought a car. I have come pretty far. Thankful. I am sad that Jim is not here to remember the events of this day with me, yet I don’t have many sad memories of those 30 years. God is faithful. And Happy Anniversary to me!