I couldn't believe it.
It felt like he was still here.
I didn't know how I would manage.
I couldn't feel anything.
I wondered where all my grief was.
I lost weight and only ate for sustenance.
I couldn't read books.
I couldn't watch movies.
I couldn't listen to music.
I needed my friends desperately.
I depended on the kindness of women.
I couldn't imagine being single and on my own. (even though I was).
I hated looking at children with their fathers.
I hated looking at wives with their husbands.
I wished I had more help with everything.
I felt terribly alone.
I felt terribly unlucky.
My bed was cold.
My hair became completely gray. (Ok, it was pretty gray before he died.)
I developed an obsession with on-line dating thinking that if I could only find a new husband and father for my children all would be well. (My daughter did not share this fantasy.)
I had the whole house painted.
My friend Amy took my living room down to the studs and exposed some brick.
I bought a new dog.
I worried obsessively about my children.
I worried about what would happen if I got sick. Who would be there for me?
I had to learn to make all the decisions.
I hired a professional organizer.
I gave away some of my dead husband's clothing to his friends and relatives.
I got fit.
I bought a new computer.
I worried obsessively about whether or not I should get a job.
I spent more time than I wanted to with financial planners, accountants and lawyers.
I thought about Ken's death in the abstract more than I allowed myself to think about him.
I was awed by the goodness, kindness and generosity of everyone who helped me, and developed a realization that we are not alone, and that all we need surrounds us if we are open to receive it.
Almost four years after losing my husband:
I feel resigned to the bad luck that found me.
I still feel envious of married women and intact families.
I miss Ken, the life we had, and the life I imagine we would have had.
I don't get as much pleasure out of traveling as I used to because I'm not a brave explorer without a companion.
I now have a GPS.
I am going through a phase of reading some of the many blogs written by others who have lost big. It comforts me.
I am forever changed and still changing.
I know that without the many women who have been there for me, and who continue to be there for me, I would be lost.
The sense of loss never leaves, ever; it only changes shape.
I can let go of smaller hurts, disappointments, fears, regrets, and anger much easier now.
I can appreciate the simple pleasure of being alive more.
I appreciate good health.
I appreciate the power of breathing.
I am proud of my strength.
I am renovating my basement.
I am on the school board of a small private school.
I am writing a book.
I am occasionally concerned that my children lost the better parent. (Although I will take some credit for being the longer lasting one.)
I hope I can find love again, but I'm not so sure I will. (In lieu of love I will take: a lifetime supply of good books, new friends, old friends, a reasonable supply of money, creative pursuits that engage me, a job that fulfills me, children who grow up to be happy and successful, a body that continues to support my desire to live well, a means to contribute to the greater good, friends that stick by me, friends who I stick by, a keypad, a pen, paper, a screen, a published book, a resurgence of journalism, a reason to laugh, running shoes, a yoga class, emotions under control, openness, and the willingness to let this untimely loss give me an opportunity we seldom get in this life after we become adults: to change, to become someone different, to realize that there are infinite ways to be, to think, to respond. A major loss rearranges you; might as well be open to a different shape.)