The origins of the word “widow” are fitting. In Old English it means “to be empty” and in Sanskrit it means “to be destitute”.
Even when I am around other people, having fun and laughing there is still an emptiness inside me. It has changed somewhat over time but it is always there. I can always feel the piece of my heart that is missing. It is strange to be enjoying your life, as much as possible, and still have a broken heart.
My husband has been dead for almost 14 months. I am often struck by how much it still hurts. If I think about it for longer than a passing thought, it steals my breath and I start to cry. I wasn’t ready to live without him. I am still not ready to live without him. I needed him before and, honestly, I need him even more now.
He really was my anchor. On my hard days, he loved me louder. When I was hurting and difficult to be around, he was even more gentle. He never made me feel like I was less than because of my issues and struggles. He was constantly making sure I knew how much he loved me, how important I was to him and how amazing he thought I was. He was always encouraging me to stop doubting myself because he truly believed I could do anything.
Bob loved me deeply. I loved him deeply, too. I spent my whole life looking for a love like I had with him. It wasn’t perfect but it was beautiful. We worked hard to build our little life and our love and I felt safe for the first time in my life. I had finally found someone who not only saw me for who I really am but loved me completely. His love and his example taught me to be a better person.
I have been completely lost since he lost his battle with depression. Not only did I lose my partner and my best friend but he killed himself. The person I loved the most in the world destroyed himself. The sadness and anger are inextricably intertwined. I can’t believe that he would do this to himself…and to me. He was lovely and gentle and kind. It’s nearly impossible to reconcile that with the violence he inflicted upon himself, on the man I loved so much.
I feel like I lost the only person who really understood me. Of course, I have other people in my life who love me. I don’t have other people who have taken the time to really understand me. I don’t feel like most people truly see me. No one loves me as deeply as he did. No one is as gentle with my heart or patient with my struggles as he was. I need that. I need the kind of care and unconditional love he showed me. I miss him and our love more than words can ever say. I need him to love me through the worst moments of my life but, instead, he caused them by taking his own life.
Life feels so harsh and loud and sharp now. He was my refuge. I could tell him anything and share every part of myself with him. Now I just feel so alone. He left. He chose to end his life and with it our life. He shattered my life and my heart. To a lot of people it seems like I am getting “better”. I look happier and I seem to be finding the “new normal” everyone talks about. In some ways, that’s true. In others, nothing could be further from the truth.
On the inside, things are different. It feels like the damage to my heart and my trust are irreparable. I am angry and sad and lonely all of the time. I am doing my best every day. I am getting counseling and developing new relationships and trying to make healthy decisions in every area of my life. I am trying to build a new life that I can be happy in. Honestly though, most of the times I am just “faking it until I make it”.
I can feel love for other people. I feel it so much it makes me cry. I can feel the love and support of my friends on the really hard days. It is in the everyday moments where I feel alone. The journey of being a widow is one you have to take alone. I don’t blame anyone for how I feel. It’s just how it is right now. I feel like there is no one I can truly lean on. I feel like there is no safe place for me anymore.
I really hope that this isn’t the way I feel forever. I am trying to do all the right things. I am giving everything I have to having a healthy happy life and to building healthy relationships. But I am tired. I am tired of feeling alone. I am tired of hurting. I am tired of carrying the burden of grief. I hope I am able to set some of it down soon.