The end of October is here, and with it comes the memory of where I was four years ago tomorrow night. Back then, I was a broken shell of a woman, suicidal, and utterly without hope. Needless to say, I’ve come a long, long way since then; while the process slips from time to time, I feel I’m progressing nicely. I’ve come to accept my lot in life, and if sometimes I find myself missing my old life, I have the ability to banish those thoughts and focus on the blessings I have today.
There are times for reminiscing, however, and the memories are some of my most prized possessions. I still miss my husband something fierce, but the bitterness of the early days of widowhood is gone and now I remember the good times far more often than the bad. The change in my outlook has been subtle, much like the difference in the angle of the sun’s light as summer bakes its way into fall. Now I look around and no longer expect to see Will in the big chair in the living room; I don’t hear his snoring anymore or anticipate that first cup of coffee that he always brought me in the morning. Of course, his absence is still felt and I’m always disappointed when I wake up after dreaming of him; but the world just keeps spinning and my life goes on as it has for the past 27 months.
And I’m OK with that.
It’s been a long road, but I’ve come to accept that life will never be the same and that I will never be someone’s Number One again. I miss that—being the major priority in Will’s life meant a great deal to me, but I never knew just how much until he died. I look around at my family, and all of them have spouses and/or kids that take the top spot in their lives. That is as it should be. It wouldn’t be right if they chose taking care of me over taking care of their families. I’m glad to be a part of their lives, but I know my place and do my best to stay there. There are so many lonely people out there who don’t belong anywhere, who dine alone in restaurants on holidays or hang around senior centers for companionship. I thank God I’m not one of them.
I’ve been told that it takes, on average, two to three years after a spouse dies for life to return to some semblance of normality. I think I’ve reached that milestone now. I wish with all my heart that Will were still here, but I’ve accepted the fact that he’s not coming back and I won’t be able to touch him until we meet again in Heaven. (I hope. I worry about my eligibility sometimes.) There’s a part of the Mass in which we Catholics say “I look forward to the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come”. Boy, do I ever. I’m in no hurry to get there, of course; I treasure every breath because I’ve seen how quickly—and how ugly—life can end. But while I’ve questioned my faith from time to time since Will passed, I have to believe there’s something better than this life, as precious as it is to me.
Yes, there have been a lot of changes since my hospitalization four years ago, and even more since my husband left this earth. It hasn’t been pleasant, but acceptance has made it easier and my restless soul is at peace…at last.